Every parent worries about their kid’s safety and well-being. And every parent wants to raise a child who grows up to be a healthy, productive adult. How exactly to do that, however, is anybody’s guess. Parenting remains a mystery to most and what works for some kids doesn’t work for others. Still, every parent’s convinced that they’ve solved the one riddle that’s baffled moms and dads for generations, and they love to share it with the world ⏤ or at least anybody who will listen on the internet.
And that’s where Reddit comes in ⏤ it’s loaded with unsolicited parenting advice. But even when taken with a grain of salt, as it should be, the aggregation site gets points for making it easier for parents to pass on lessons, trade war stories, and offer advice, whether useful or not. With subreddits like r/Parenting, r/Mommit, and r/Daddit, the sheer volume of parenting content on Reddit can be dizzying. Which is why we sifted through a whole bunch of it to put together this list of 23 best parenting tips.
1. Remember, Your Kids Are Going to Become Adults
In response to a post looking for first-time parenting advice on the AskReddit subreddit, one commenter shared something that a mother of six once told them about raising kids: “Don’t ever forget your child is going to be an adult. Raise them to survive.”
2. Read Oh Crap! Potty Training
One book that’s been talked about a lot on Reddit’s potty training circles is Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. Glowacki’s book offers parents a six-step method to train kids as young as 20-months old to stop using diapers in just a few days.
3. Let Them Get Bored
No one hates being bored more than kids, and who can blame them? But if people learn at an early age to rely on external sources ⏤ phones, video games, TVs ⏤ to keep them entertained, it dulls their imaginations.
4. Introduce Kids to the Potty Early
After reading that some kids are afraid of the potty, one reddit user came up with a plan to expose her son to the potty even before it was time for potty training ⏤ she let him pretend to use it if he wanted to. When the time finally came, training only took a few days.
5. Expose Kids to Allergens Early
Don’t freak out, science backs this up. If you hold off on exposing your kids to foods you think might cause allergies, doctors have found that you may actually be increasing the risk of an allergy developing. Instead, you should let your child try foods like nuts, eggs, and peanut butter in small amounts, assuming of course that an inherited allergy doesn’t run in the family.
6. Let Your Kid Win Arguments, Sometimes
Teach your kid how to reason. Squashing their arguments by trumping them with a “who’s-the-adult” card teaches them that well-thought-out points of view won’t get them anywhere. Worse, it could get them to stop thinking critically.
7. Bring a Book to the Barber
This is good advice with or without kids. Waiting at the barber can take a while. Entertain yourself with some reading material.
8. Let Your Kids Fail, Sometimes
Like helicopter parents who prevent children from facing challenging situations on their own, parents who fail-proof their kids are ultimately undermining their ability to work through disappoint. Everybody fails at some point. Not having the emotional resources to deal when failure hits will only make things worse.
9. Don’t Automatically Replace a Thing They Broke
Instantly replacing a toy a kid breaks might prevent tears, but it could also give the impression that there won’t be any consequences to their actions. If something breaks, one way to get the message across that they should be more careful is to let it stay broken for a bit first before replacing.
10. Don’t Freak Out About Falls and Scrapes
We’re not fans of bottling-up emotions: If kids are in pain, it’s healthy for them to say so. But when your kid falls down and scrapes something, responding with a clear head and helping them get a band-aid and disinfectant teaches is the best course of action.
11. Invent a New, Vegetable-loving Reality
Some reddit users shared one secret to getting kids to eat more vegetables and less candy: treat vegetables like treasure. Creating an attitude where vegetables are exciting and candy is boring, the redditors claim, rubs off on kids and will stop their unhealthy relationship with sugar.
12. Get Creative With the Music They Listen To
Life does not have to be an endless cycle of Veggie Tales or Mary Had a Little Lamb. If your kids enjoys that music, great. But that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce some of your own taste into the mix too.
13. Some Noise During Nap Time is Fine
Being too cautious during nap time could turn your kid into a light sleeper. Using the time to get chores done could be too loud but don’t hesitate to make a little noise so they learn to sleep through it.
14. Don’t Compare Your Kids
Every kid is different, and they each have their own strengths. Telling one of your kids they don’t measure up to the other not only threaten siblings relationship but also teaches them to view life as an endless competition in which they are either winning or losing. It’s a terrible way to live, maybe don’t encourage it.
15. Listen to What Kids Have to Say
Sometimes the things kids want to talk about won’t be all that interesting. Still, they need to feel validated. By trusting that they can come talk to you about the small stuff, they should feel safe enough to talk about the big stuff too.
16. Invest in a Puke Bucket
Sick kids are gross. And while some parents keep them near a toilet, it’s easier to puke-proof their bedroom with a handy bucket.
17. Waterproof Mattress Covers
Nighttime accidents happen. Pee is going to end up in bed. Save your mattresses by investing in waterproof covers. Redditors also suggest doubling up on sheets to make switching sheets out in the middle of the night a thousand times easier.
18. Be Flexible
There’s no one-size-fits-all, magic-lamp solution to every parenting problem. It’s important to be open to trying different approaches.
19. Make Your Love Clear, Even When You’re Mad
Kids need to know that you have their back and that they can depend on you to be there. When parents lose their cool it can make kids feel like their security is in jeopardy. There’s no way to avoid those tough moments, but it is possible to make sure your kid knows that even in those tough times, your love is still rock solid.
20. Don’t Let a Tantrum Hold You Captive
Tantrums can get rough, especially in public. While you may be tempted to get emotional too, resist the urge. Tantrums are a chance for both you and your kid to grow. Stay even-keeled and teach your kid that losing control is not the way to properly communicate. The best way to do that is by not losing control yourself.
21. Resist the Urge to Over Help on School Projects
The goal of parenting is to raise functional adults. Because part of being a functional adult doing your own work, you will undermine your kids by doing school work for them. A little help is fine, but when you cross the line from finishing up their assignment to straight up doing it for them, that’s a problem.
22. Your Fears Are Your Own, Not Your Kids’
When kids are young and still open to the world, they might want to do and try things that scare the hell out of you. While there is a line, a lot of the time these things will push their boundaries and make them stronger people. Go with it.
23. Read to Your Kids Before Bed
With one simple act, you can both connect with your kids and instill in them a love of reading.