Best advice for parents….

I try not to give advice on parenting because everyone has their own style, thoughts and ways of doing things and every child is different.  I have no idea what the inner workings of another family are, so unless asked I do my best to keep things to myself.  That’s not to say that I never say things that might sound like advice, or tell others what it was like for me.  Sometimes these things just pop out of my mouth before I can stop them and later I worry that I sounded like a know-it-all.  I’ve been particularly aware of this since becoming an aunt, I really need to check myself sometimes.

Having said that I have two pieces of advice that I think all parents should hear and that I don’t think can cause offence.  Instead I hope they will just save other parents lots of time and energy and reduce frustrations.  I’ve learnt both these things from experience….. over and over again!

1) Never let weetbix dry on the highchair tray.  That stuff sets like concrete and you’ll be scrubbing and scraping for ages trying to get it off.  Miss Two hasn’t used her high chair since we moved and I can still see weetbix on the side of the tray that I must have missed.  I am dreading cleaning that one up when I eventually get to it.  I’m sure if there is ever a world shortage of concrete weekbix could be a viable alternative.

2.  If you’re child has a particular security object that they absolutely need to get to sleep, make a rule that it stays in the cot or bed.  Both my girls are attached to a teddy bear (the same type, but they have one each), but we didn’t do this and ‘teddy’ get dragged all over the house all day long.  Now EVERY night Mr Good and I have to search the house for two bears that have suddenly disappeared and no one can remember where they were last seen.  Those two bears have been found in some pretty strange places and Mr Good and I often find ourselves cursing and stomping around in quite rage looking for those damn bears so the children will finally GO TO SLEEP.  Okay, that might sound over the top, but I assure you it is most frustrating.  Keep those toys in the beds, I beg you, save yourself!

And just so you know that despite this nightly drama, they are pretty great kids and are pretty darn cute, here’s a couple of recent photos.





So what are you best bits of advice or tips for new parents, or old parents who need some help (like me)?


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17 Responses to Best advice for parents….

  1. renlikesred says:

    Great post Barb! I believe there is sill weet bix on our high chair from the previous owner plus my kids!

  2. renlikesred says:

    A night routine has always been a winner in this house – dinner, bath, books, bed. The kids respond really well usually as they know what’s coming next.
    New parents, I’d also say try and relax. (I didn’t!) remember, no one’s grading you on how perfectly you do everything so just do your best and remember, tomorrow is always a new day 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      Yes, very good advice. We have a pretty set night time routine, though I did recently go to a bath only every second night (unless they’re really grubby) so there’s more time to eat and play with Mr Good before books and bed. They only see him for about an hour each day, unless of course they end up in bed with us.

      I like your line about not being graded, that’s very wise advice.

  3. Lol re weetbix. We have no cereal here but I assure you, rice pudding, porridge and mashed potato all set solid too.
    My kids don’t have special bedtime toys, although kitty cat, bunny, specific dinosaurs and other toys take the special place at random intervals, but dummies! We have 4 and I swear, we (well, the owner of the dummies) can lose all 4 in the space of an hour or 2. Then, days or weeks later when we’ve located 1 manky one or borrowed the emergency one in the car, 4 will turn up in the space of a day.
    My advice to parents is also some I never took. Always sleep when your baby sleeps. Bugger the dishes or washing. If your eyes are hanging out of your head because your little one is adjusting their (and your) sleep patterns then sleep when you can. 🙂 Oh, and NEVER turn down an offer of help, even if it’s just to hold the baby whilst you have a shower! 😉

    • Barbara Good says:

      I should thank my lucky start neither of my kids were into dummies then byt the sounds of it.

      I absolutely agree with the never turning down help – I should have listened to that first time around. As for sleeping when bub sleeps, wise words, but I’m a crap sleeper at the best of time and even sleep deprivation won’t make me sleep during the day. I did however rest a lot either in bed or on the couch when my first came along – a little harder with two, but also my second was a much better sleeper in the early days.

      • Much harder with 2 I agree, and impossible with 3, particularly when the eldest stops taking naps a fortnight before the arrival of the youngest.
        I too am a crap sleeper and it takes me ages to wind down then drift off, by which time someone would wake again and want a feed or a nappy change. It passes though and it’s amazing how little sleep you can get used to having. 😉

  4. Liz says:

    There is no such thing as a well behaved 3 year old boy. Actually that should probably read ‘3 year old’ but fortunately I’ve expunged the memory of my daughter at 3 from my brain – probably some sort of self preservation thing…. so I live under the illusion that she was remarkably well behaved….a trait not shared by Mr now 4 or any of his similarly aged friends. Luckily they are all very cute…

  5. Christine Kent says:

    To the poster re: dummies. Invest in a Carabiner – this is a shiny metal hook normally used for rock climbing. But it also makes a spectacularly safe home for 5+ dummies. Trust me. By the time my son had given them up (and I had actually cut the ‘dummy teat’ part off the broken ones and still they remained special), he was carrying that carabiner around everywhere loaded up with dummies. I actually think he’s got it hidden somewhere in his room 2 years later. And yes, if those dummies are needed for bed time, at least institute a rule that the Carabiner stays either in the bedroom or hooked onto your handbag.

    And yes, if someone offers help, of course accept it. But if no one offers help, ask for it. I never did. And without Grandparents, aunts, uncles nearby, I would have had sex with the first person who offered me an hour or two off (just kidding, who had the energy for sex?!!). So many of us entered ‘baby-dom’ having come from independent, professional, self-sufficient lives. That makes it particularly hard to admit that you might need some help from someone else and it’s even harder to use your voice to ask for it.

    • Barbara Good says:

      What a clever idea Chris, and I do Remember R having that now that I think about it.

      I was the same about asking for help, I had some family in Melbourne when Miss Four arrived on the scene, but mostly they were working or in-laws which I’ve always found a tricky relationship. But I should have said I needed a bit of help. She was such a terrible sleeper and could cry for 5 or 6 hours straight (I think 8 hours was her best effort and my parents were there that night. They were in absolute shock).

  6. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, ANYONE who calls themselves a Mum deserves a HUGE pat on the back just for being a Mum – the hardest, most wonderful job in the world. A tip from my own Mother was to do the washing at night time – then if there was any problem the following morning, this at least had been done ready to hang out or put on an airer to dry. I used to do this after the kids had their bath of a night time – and in fact I still wash at night time. Another tip was to at least prepare all or some of the evening meal when I had a little spare time (where possible) because any self respecting baby/child would consider dinnertime the perfect time to grizzle/cry/throw a tantrum and tea becomes baked beans on toast!!! And I NEVER judge that poor mother in the Supermarket with THAT child who is screaming the house down – walk a mile in her shoes and give her a smile of encouragement – we, as Mothers, have to stick together, and we all know what that scene is like. I would say your score card is pretty good judging by your beautiful girls, and that other little person I’m sure will test his parents in future times, and we will all have to bite our tongues until we are asked!!!

    • Barbara Good says:

      You’re very right about giving all mum’s a pat on the back. I have one friend that says often that she thinks I’m doing a great job and it’s so nice to hear (and she doesn’t have kids herself). I now make sure I say that to others, including someone close to both of us. You get so much feedback about how you’re going at work, it’s kind of weird to suddenly get none as a mum.

      Love your mum’s tip, I too am a night washer (both dishwasher and washing machine) so I can say I at least got the washing hung out and the dishwasher unpacked. Though Miss Two is not a morning person at all so get anything done before she’s out of her funk is hard some days. And absolutely about getting dinner ready early – I love Mama baking for that reason.

  7. Jo says:

    Yes, very good advice there 🙂

  8. A says:

    If you change what you’re doing because of some random person’s, or remarking acquaintance’s, utterances who’s going to sleep better that night? Them? Nope. You neither.
    Whatever works for you is fine – formula at three weeks, breastfeed till they’re three, CIO, responsive settling – it really doesn’t affect anyone else, no matter their opinion. Whatever works mama.

  9. A says:

    Actually I do have some specific advice for new parents. I feel like everyone in know has been given a scares about their baby’s weight gain in their first few months and it runs them ragged with distress, especially breastfeeding mums. Here are the gems I heard, they go together:
    – If there’s anything to actually be concerned about, a lack of weight gain by itself is very rarely the only sign. There will be someone else as well to raise a flag. And;
    – Weight plateauing is normal. Changing percentiles is normal. Holding steady at the 5th percentile is normal (someone has to be in the 5th percentile!). If nappies are regular and baby is happy, things are likely fine.

    And the golden rule about food that’s kept me relaxed about Bub’s diet and goes along with the ol’ “they won’t starve themselves!”:
    – You’re job is to decide what and when baby eats, they decide if and how much.

    • Barbara Good says:

      I agree about the weight thing and having had kids that just didn’t put on that much I know the pressure you can get about the weigh in. My kids were both on the 3rd percentile pretty quickly but hey someone has to be, that’s how they get the curve! My opinion is that babies are just weighed far too often and for no good reason. It just causes stress and concern for new parents.

      And yes, everyone I know has been told at some point that they’re babies are not getting enough, not putting on enough weight and to supplement feed.

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