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Terrible and great but awful crowdsourced hacks to make you feel better about your adequate parenting

Need a parenting hack? Spinoff Parents has got your back – sort of. Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes shares the best (*mostly* best) reader brainwaves.

I bribe my child to behave in public so often that we’ve worked out how to do it through hand squeezes. Three hand squeezes means shut up you’ll get a Mcflurry on the way home. It’s perfect cos people think I’m squeezing her hand to be reassuring and because I’m a loving devoted mother. Somebody once picked up on it and I said it stood for I love you. She genuinely thinks my love for my child calmed her down.”

“For the 40 hour famine we sponsor our kid not to talk for 40 hours.”

“Pretend to time your kids to get them to bring you stuff. See if they can beat their fake previous record.”

“Laundry washing power mixed with hot water gets the smell of spew out of carpet and fabric couches and is way cheaper than fancy, useless cleaning products.”

“If they have a favourite soft toy, get an identical one so you have a spare. But make sure you swap them from time to time so the spare isn’t suspiciously clean.”

“Show them photos of rotten teeth on Google to get them to brush theirs. ‘This was a girl at your school.’”

“At the playground when I don’t want to play with my kids I pretend to time them doing circuits of the playground. They leave my side for minutes at a time.”

“Buy a double buggy that can get through the liquor store door.”

“Before you get the Lego out, spread a sheet or blanket on the floor and tell the kids they MUST keep it all on there. Then at pickup time you just roll up the sheet and pour it into the lego container and it’s so much quicker.”

“I put goldfish crackers in those balls you’re meant to fill with cat biscuits, the ones the lazy cats are meant to bat around to make a biscuit come out. Then I give it to my baby.”

“Don’t put your vacuum cleaner away and leave it on at all times. Eventually all the crap on the floor will get shovelled near it and the sound will help drown out your whining child(ren). You’re welcome.”

“I dress my boys in girls legging from K Mart and layer them. When one pair gets wet or dirty I just peel them off and there’s a new, clean, and dry pair underneath.”

“When they are little and won’t eat something, give the illusion of choice: when my son refuses food, instead of offering him one piece I’ll present him with three of the same pieces of food and he picks one and eats it.”

“When your kid eats red paint, encourage them to eat blue or green paint as well. It’s less concerning when they shit purple than red.”

“Buy all of the same colour socks – or all of the same pattern – so you don’t have to match socks any more.”

“Lay down garbage bags underneath a fitted sheet because mattress protectors are expensive and kids piss the bed all the time.”

“When my threenager is feral at night and won’t go to bed even though he’s tired I put the clock forward and trick him into thinking it’s midnight and he thinks at midnight he turns into a pumpkin.”

“I tell my kids that monsters live in rooms that are messy but they hate clean rooms.”

“Put one of those plastic 3M hooks on the back of a high chair to hang bibs on.”

“Soak bottles in hot water and baking soda to get the smell of rotten milk out of them (in case you find old milk bottles under the cot or bed). It works a treat.”

“Put snacks (raisins, popcorn etc) in plastic bottles. Should buy enough time for a good, private poo.”

“I have a bottle baby who sleeps with us in bed in a wahakura. We make hot/warm water bottles and put them in the bed with us to stay warm. Then we put formula beside the bed ready to be put in when he’s hungry.”

“I used to dress as an evil step mother and force the children to clean the house as a Cinderella game.”

“I put pens and pencils into a DVD case for trips. And I take the Peppa DVD and smash it into a trillion pieces and then set it on fire for my mental health.”

“Give your baby banana so when they shit in the shower it’s easier to pick it up in one go.”

“I taught my kids a game called “Little Fishes” – they have to be really, really quiet little fishes for as long as possible or a great white shark (me) will eat them. It gives me 20 minutes at a time to contemplate why I had so many children.”

“Use a newborn nappy instead of a maternity pad after you give birth. Holds way more blood and chunks than a pad does.”

“My son hates brushing his teeth and wants me to do it for him.  I told him the tooth fairy doesn’t come when you have rotten teeth.  He panicked and picked up his tooth brush that he threw on the floor and started brushing furiously.”

“Use a syringe for Pamol, antibiotics, etc. That way when they’re screaming, you just squirt it at the back of their mouth and they get such a shock and are so outraged that they stop screaming and swallow the medicine.”

“Thank everyone who gives your kid a present, ‘He’s going to love playing with it!’ but keep the terrible noise-making toys in a cupboard as gifts for other kids’ birthdays.”

“Layer up clothes, partially for warmth but also cos you only really need to change the top layer of clothing, and only then if it got dirty at kindy or it’s bed time. The under layers are fine for a couple of days so long as a nappy doesn’t leak.”

“Making my older kid laugh when she’s starting to dig her heels in about something and I can tell things are going to turn nasty. It’s amazing what putting on a silly voice or starting a tickle party can do to de-escalate a tanty.”

“Refer to chippies as ‘crackers’ so when your kids ask for them in front of other people your kids sound like they don’t eat junk food.”

“I told my twins that Peppa Pig is dead.”

“Socks work just as well as mittens.”

“Turn the pram into the sun; it makes baby shut their eyes.”

I’m sorry if your hack wasn’t included – I had so many to pick from. Some fell more into the zone of advice than hack and were a bit too heavy for what is meant to be a piece that will take your mind away from the fact that the kids are destroying your house and you’ve got two more weeks of this. God help us all. – Emily Writes

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