Beginner Parenting, better known as common sense, involves knowing the normal things from which to protect children. You know, like fires, climbing on the roof, or running in the street. The catch to being a Beginner Parent is that children don’t have much common sense. On top of that, they like to test your theories on heat conduction and gravity just to make sure you know what you’re talking about.
There is a second level of parenting, which requires a parent to understand the unfathomable inner-workings of a child’s mind. Most parents get better with practice, but an FBI profiler couldn’t begin to predict their behavior with 100% accuracy. Advanced Parenting Hack is not for cowards.
Here are my top ten parenting hacks for moving from Beginner Parent to Advanced Parenting Hack .
Beginner Parent: Keep children from playing near campfires.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Remove cold ashes from campfires before children decide to make their own sandbox.
Beginner Parent: Keep small objects put away so toddlers won’t put them in their mouth and choke.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Supervise craft time so toddlers won’t eat the colors, playdough, glitter, paper or other supplies. Note: Crayons are not toxic.
Beginner Parent: Cut food in small bite-sized pieces, again to avoid choking.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Chain the refrigerator door to prevent children from raiding the food supply, taking only one bite from everything in reach. Note: The top shelf is still within reach.
Beginner Parent: Place breakable and inappropriate objects out of reach.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Place breakable and inappropriate objects in a locked cabinet with the key tied to your person at all times. A retina scanner might be a better option. I’ve known a few kids that could pick a lock at a very young age.
Beginner Parent: Never leave a child under the age of 10 unattended in a bathtub.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Never give a child a bath toy that will double as a bucket or other scooping device. A few gallons of water can be scooped out of the bathtub in five seconds, cover the bathroom floor ½ inch deep, and require an entire shelf of towels to mop up. Purchasing a wet-vac is a wise investment. And this isn’t for just toddlers. An older child who you would think should have better sense can still splash water for 10 feet and neglect to use a towel to dry off before walking through the house leaving a wet trail all over the place.
Beginner Parent: Carefully select age-appropriate movies and television shows for young children; ones depicting kindness and sharing.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Password-protect all electronic devices, particularly ones which allow purchases and downloads without a secondary authentication method. Note: I do not like Selena Gomez songs. Additionally, children are particularly adept at dialing 911 and texting strangers.
Beginner Parent Secure all furniture that may double as climbing equipment to keep youngsters from scaling the refrigerator.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Remove knobs and handles from cabinets that may provide footholds and crevices, similar to those used by mountain-climbers. A single line of electrical fencing along the counter could be effective, but you should remember to turn it off before touching the cabinet yourself.
Beginner Parent: Remove chords from blinds, curtains, etc. to prevent children from accidentally getting one wrapped around his neck.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Never leave a jump-rope or even a bathrobe sash lying around. It can be thrown over a ceiling fan blade and used to play Tarzan swinging from the tree. Note: Most ceiling fans will not bear more than 30 pounds before ripping out of the ceiling.
Beginner Parent: Monitor playtime to keep rough-housing from getting too rough.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Install sponge-turf in play areas to reduce broken bones and carpet burns. It does not prevent 100% of injuries, but it’s preferable to stained concrete for a landing surface. Additionally, check pillow cases for large legos and other hard objects that will leave lumps and bruises after making contact with a face or torso.
Beginner Parent: Filter your language around children to avoid bad words.
Advanced Parenting Hack: Redact names and other obvious identifying details when discussing family members or friends. Children have an innate ability to decipher who you’re talking about and will repeat the most embarrassing bits of information at the worst possible time. It’s true that “kids say the darnedest things.”
My list is, of course, only a beginner’s version for moving beyond Parenting 101. I wish I could give you a good age range when children outgrow such frustrating behavior, but I’m still in the throes of child-rearing and haven’t had one completely graduate from the need for a good smack in the head. The hope that gets me through most days is that I will live to see their own children repeat their follies. Oh, how that will be sweet vindication.
Share your P201 child rearing story in the comments.