When I had kids I looked forward to the sage child rearing advice that I would get from past generations. Most of that advice ended up being, “Geez, I can’t quite remember what we used to do. You’ll figure it out.” While this was a bit disappointing, it ended up being fine, because as you quickly learn, nothing is more annoying than other people telling you how to parent. You truly will figure it out. That being said, here are some of the things that I learned throughout the first decade plus of my parenting experience.
- Swaddling is the ticket. You want your newborn to sleep like, I don’t know, a baby? Swaddle them. It’s like a straight jacket for babies. They can’t move, so eventually they get tired of trying and they decide they might as well sleep. I did this with both of my boys. When my oldest was little he would always manage to get one arm out of the wrap. I would sneak up to the crib hoping he would still be asleep, peak over the railing, and there he’d be, looking up smugly with one arm stretched upward like Judd Nelson at the end of The Breakfast Club, in complete defiance of swaddling protocol.
- It is never too early to introduce your kids to classical music. Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Van Halen (Hagar not Roth), anything fun. C’mon, you don’t want your kid listening to depressing music. Next thing you know they’re dressing in black, reading Sylvia Plath, watching foreign films, and be telling you that the whole family needs to go to therapy together. All because they’ve never heard Livin’ On A Prayer.
- Introduce your child to Christianity. Yes, Christianity. Human beings are designed to believe. If you don’t give them something truly positive to believe in, it is guaranteed that they will latch on to something else, and that will become their religion. Money, a political ideology, Pokemon Go, NASCAR, UFO’s, conspiracy theories about fluoride in the drinking water. Oh, they’ll find a religion. Might as well make it the one that built the entire western world.
- Let the kid get dirty. You know which kids never get sick? The ones who have pets and play outside. If your 2 year old is riding around the back yard on a black lab, he will A- not be as susceptible to allergies, and B- not have to go to the doctor’s office much. All bets are off on the doctor’s office thing if that black lab sees a squirrel though.
- Keep in mind that if you leave your kid alone with grandpa their’s no telling what they’ll be watching on TV when you return. You come back to get junior, and he’s sitting there with grandpa, watching World War 2 footage. While this is really educational, it is also heavy subject matter for a four year old. Thanks dad. : )
There you have it. Superfluous words of wisdom for future and current parents. If this was of no help to you, I’m sorry. But trust me, YOU’LL FIGURE IT OUT.
- A list of 50 movies for kids to see before they are 12, from Common Sense Media.
- Want to watch movies with your kids but worry about the content? Try VidAngel.
- My kids would bankrupt me if I paid full price for all the books they read. Luckily I have a thrift store near me with a great book department. If you don’t have one of those, try this site.
- A cool list of outdoor adventures every kid should have.