11 Quirky Parenting Tips That Actually Work

11 Quirky Parenting Tips That Actually Work

Sometimes it’s the offbeat, unexpected advice that a mom should follow.


By Marisa Torrieri Bloom

By now, you’ve probably heard an earful of wise, scientifically sound parenting advice from physicians, experts, and studies. But sometimes it’s the weird and unexpected stuff that actually works for achieving a desired result, like getting your kids to stop misbehaving or getting your toddler to stop throwing his toys around.

Here, 11 moms tell us the most offbeat and quirky parenting tricks that actually worked!

1. “My husband hardly gets time to work out so one thing he tried was to incorporate ‘rides’ with our year-old son: He puts little Jesse on his back or knees, etc., and does push-ups or sit-ups or what have you. Jesse is entertained and my husband gets a workout.” -- Julie S., mom of two, New Orleans, Louisiana

2. “Our son Ian was a biter. A sweet old lady at his day care called him 'jaws.' I dreaded seeing the day care's name on my caller ID, which always meant a message like, 'Ian bit a friend – again.' So I used puppets to show how biting hurts. It worked.” -- Deirdre, mom of one, Washington, D.C.

3. “If your toddler is having a meltdown, whisper in his or her ear and see how quickly it stops. This always worked for me.” -- Blythe L., mom of two, Phoenix, Arizona

4. “When my children were very young, I used a quirky trick to keep them quiet in the car during long trips – called it ‘travel quarters.’ Give each child four quarters. For younger children, explain to them that four quarters makes a dollar, and with a dollar, you can buy quite a number of things at a candy store. As you travel, if an argument breaks out in the backseat, those siblings involved in the argument must hand over one of their quarters to a parent. It's amazing how quickly children catch on.” -- Chelly W., mom of two, Twin Falls, Idaho

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5.My tip helps parents of toddlers who are afraid of scary things in their dark bedrooms. Tell your child you have ‘monster-go-away spray.’ Then pretend to spray it under the bed, in their closet, and wherever they're worried about lurking dangers. Works like a charm.” -- Georgia R., mom of two, New York City

6. “I have an 8-year-old who is super hyper and inattentive, which means it’s hard for me to get him to follow directions, especially in the morning. But sometimes in order to get his attention I sing directions to him to the tune of a popular song, for example, ‘because it's all about those shoes, ’bout those shoes, ’bout those shoes!’” -- Stephanie A., mom of one, Los Angeles, California

7. “I designated a few places for my toddler son to play as he pleased, designated places that he controlled and could be as messy or crazy as he liked – and this limited the mess of our house and kept us a bit more organized. I kept every imaginable size of plastic containers in one corner kitchen cabinet, and he would go through that while I prepared dinner, pulling them out, stacking them, and then stuffing them back inside. I arranged his bed and dresser in an L shape with a contained space hidden away from the doorway, where he could arrange his toys, organized or not, and know they would remain that way for days or weeks on end.” -- Susan F., mom of one, East Lansing, Michigan

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8. “I have a 10-year-old daughter who is way smarter than I am. But don't tell her I said that. When we have a disagreement, I encourage her to tell me why she thinks I'm wrong, but it has to be in a respectful, calm way. She gets her say, I get to hear her perspective, and — once or twice — she has actually changed my mind. What I hope is that, from this, she learns to speak up for herself in a rational, mature way, that she learns to disagree without being disagreeable, and that she learns that her voice matters and that she will always be heard by the people who truly love her. Does this method take more time? Yes. But it also means I don't make those decisions lightly. And so I think it encourages me to do a better job, overall, by holding me immediately accountable for my parenting choices.” -- Stacey H., mom of one, Augusta, Georgia

9. “A few drops of breast milk in baby's eyes to clear up an eye infection. It worked within hours – I couldn't believe it.” -- Mel C., mom of one, Wales, United Kingdom

10. “My son had a horrible cough that was keeping him up all night. A mom here told me to put Vick's VapoRub on his feet and then put on a pair of thick socks on his feet before I put him to bed. As a last resort I tried it, thinking no way would it work, but it did.” -- Annie G., mom of two, Missouri

11. “A friend suggested that the next time my toddler had a tantrum that I should sit down and have one, too. It worked – he was so startled that he instantly stopped!” -- Sue Z., mom of two, New Jersey

What’s the quirkiest parenting trick you’ve tried and found success with?


Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a freelance writer and guitar teacher who lives with her husband and two young sons in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Image ©iStock.com/bukharova


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