When you’re contemplating having children, you might conjure up a certain image: Well-behaved children playing nicely and taking turns on the swing in the backyard, or family movie nights where everyone agrees on the movie, or family dinners where everyone eats what you serve without complaint. Once you actually have children, though, you realise that raising (wrangling) children looks much different — especially once they reach the age in which they realise they have both a will and some strategies with which to exert it.
I started thinking about this topic when chatting with a professional friend the other day, and she confessed that getting her kids ready for school in the morning was such a disaster that she’d started putting them to bed in their school clothes to facilitate the process. This was initially admitted with a hint of shame, as if it was the sort of thing that would turn up in a Mummy Dearest-style memoir someday, but even as a non-parent myself, I thought it was brilliant. Just getting kids out the door day after day in non-nude fashion is a triumph in itself — who cares if their clothes look a bit more rumpled than usual?
This got me thinking that there are probably a lot of these slightly-sketchy-but-totally-effective-so-who-cares parenting tips. I want to know your secret, shameful tactics for keeping track of your ragamuffins, getting them to eat healthy meals (or just meals), convincing them to pick up their toys, or getting them to stop stalling at bedtime — the sort of tricks you only confess to other weary parents.
For parents out there who need some new strategies (or just some encouragement and support for using the ones they already know and love), share your sketchiest tips and trick in the comments and we’ll round them up in a future post.