zen habits : breathe

Top 20 Parent Hacks: Tips for Organization, Kid Optimization, and Happiness

“Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.” – Red Buttons

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks, one of my favorite blogs.

Parenting is equal parts skill and art. The skills — diaper changing, nightmare soothing, gentle encouragement, the “Look” (what I call that piercing glance that stops misbehaving children in their tracks) — can be learned well enough. But the art…now there’s the tricky part. We all have to find our own way with our children, and there are times when only another parent’s “I’ve been there” advice can point us in the right direction.

At Parent Hacks, we swap parenting tips we’ve stumbled on through experience (and sometimes dumb luck), often with a twist of the unconventional or the surprising solution. Parent Hacks is collecting all those hard-earned nuggets of wisdom in the hopes of building the ultimate “back fence” where parents can get real-world advice on the stuff that rarely makes it into the books and mags.

Leo’s asked me to round up twenty of the best tips at Parent Hacks, and, while it’s impossible to define “best” (so much wisdom and smart discussion!), I dug through the archives and came up with some favorites in a few Zen Habits-friendly categories:

Getting organized
The key to finding more time is to spend less time on the stuff that doesn’t matter. Getting rid of, or at least reducing, mental and physical clutter creates room for our goals and dreams, or, some days, simply an extra 15-minute tickle session with the kids.

Basic “kid optimization”
Teaching kids independence does more than create a mini household labor pool (although that’s certainly handy). Competence and problem-solving skills are the building-blocks of self-esteem and set the stage for a proactive, “can-do” adulthood.

No amount of life hacking will add minutes to your day, but thinking about those minutes differently may be the key to success.

For more from Asha Dornfest, see her incredible blog, Parent Hacks or subscribe to the feed.
Also see: my guest post on Parent Hacks — Ten ways to find time for your family no matter how busy you are.

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