I’ve enjoyed online parenting communities since my kids were very little. I’m a member of several “mom groups” online and they have been, and continue to be, huge sources of knowledge and support for me. I love these groups and the communities they build.
That said, anyone who has participated in an online parenting group knows that the advice can range from insightfully clever to face-palmingly bad. I’m sure I’ve provided plenty of the latter variety myself, like that time when my oldest kid was a toddler and I decided to jump in on a thread where a mom was asking for advice about pre-teen troubles. Sorry, pre-teen mom.
Based on my experiences in these groups, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten responses parents get when they post about their struggles, whether they are related to bedtime, behavioral questions, age-appropriate expectations, or merely surviving parenthood.
1. Do you have a good bedtime routine?
All you need to do is give your kids a warm bath, put on their pajamas, give them a high-protein bedtime snack, brush their teeth, brush their hair, do a soothing massage with lavender lotion, eliminate all non-natural light after 5:30pm, read together for thirty minutes, turn on a rainforest noises sound machine, and hope the moon is in the right phase. If you’re not doing that, no wonder your kid isn’t sleeping through the night.
2. Can you move bedtime earlier?
Or maybe later? No, not that late. A little earlier. That’s too early. Look, there’s a 30 second window and you missed it.
3. Do you sleep when the baby sleeps?
Also, make sure you only cook when the baby cooks, clean when the baby cleans, go to work when the baby goes to work, and exercise when the baby exercises.
4. How’s your kid’s diet?
Needless to say, no child should be eating more sugar than a half teaspoon of raw honey in their green smoothies as a special treat on holidays. You might also see some improvements if you cut out dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, and pineapple.
5. Are your kids contributing to the household?
Age-appropriate chores are so important. My 5 year old has been doing laundry independently for four years and my 8 year old owns and operates her own laundromat.
6. Have you tried babywearing?
Yes, I know your 12 year old might be getting a little heavy to wear, but you just need the right carrier. Or better yet, a wrap.
7. Have you tried cutting out screen time?
Studies show that watching more than one episode of Little House on the Prairie every three weeks is guaranteed to turn your child into an unemployable adult. But do what works for you.
8. Do you have a schedule?
If you don’t have a laminated, color-coded schedule, it’s no wonder you’re lost. Without one, your two year old won’t know it’s time to spend one hour on language arts instruction followed by one hour of music class, then sitting peacefully at the table alone while you prepare a nutritious lunch that she definitely will not throw on the floor.
9. Are you enjoying every moment?
You don’t want to forget to enjoy this moment of breaking up sibling squabbles while you’re cooking dinner and trying to finish that report that’s due tomorrow. Don’t forget, your preschooler napped in the car so he’ll be awake at least until midnight. So precious.
10. Have you tried essential oils?
Essential oils are a great way to purify the air, create a calming environment at bedtime, and reattach limbs. Let me know if you’re interested.
What’s your favorite (or least favorite) online parenting advice? Share it in the comments.