8 Ways to Become a More Clever Parent

Mighty Mommy shares 8 pearls of wisdom for how to make your family life easier. (Hint: Color coded towels will do wonders for your sanity!).

Cheryl Butler,
April 13, 2014
Episode #275

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Clever Tip #4:  Rewind Bad Behavior

In today’s electronic world, our kids are growing up with high-tech gadgets practically from birth.  By the time they reach preschool most are very familiar with how to operate a tablet, computer, iPod, and even home theater equipment.  Because my kids are so savvy with remote controls for our DVD and other electronic entertainment devices, I decided to use the idea of a TV remote control to help them get a grip on their bad behavior. 

See also: 5 Ways to Change Bratty Behavior


When one of my cherubs is whining or displaying some other annoying behavior, I grab an actual TV remote, point it at them, and say “Let’s pause and rewind until we’re behaving nicely again.”  They instantly connect with this notion and the majority of the time they self-correct.  I even use the rewind idea on myself from time to time to when I get into a funk over something silly.

Clever Tip #5:  Prevent Little Fingers from Getting Slammed in Doors

Pool flotation noodles are not only lots of fun in the pool, they can also save those precious little fingers that belong to your kids from getting smashed in doors.  Simply cut a 6–8-inch piece of the foam noodle and slide onto the outside edge of the door.  Now when someone goes to slam the door, the noodle piece will buffer the blow saving everyone in the house potential and unnecessary pain.

Clever Tip #6:  Prep Weekly Meals in Advance

One of the keys to my sanity and success at being a full-time working mom is planning my meals in advance.  Even when I was a stay-at-home mom I relied on being organized in the kitchen to make my life as easy-breezy as possible.  Each year I purchase a desk calendar with which I chart my menus at least two weeks in advance.  This helps keep my grocery shopping on task because I know what ingredients I’ll need for the week ahead. 

See also: The Case for Meal Planning


I hit the store on Thursdays so that I can spend a couple of hours on Saturday morning prepping and cooking several of my family’s meals ahead.  I choose a menu with items such as chicken pot pie, lasagna, mini meat loaves, and homemade mac & cheese.  I prepare the main course of these menu items on Saturday mornings and freeze them or have them ready in the fridge so that on a work night, I just have to make the side dish and can pop the prepared main course in the oven.  I also leave the desk calendar posted in the kitchen so my kids already know what will be on the menu and won’t have to continuously ask me “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?”

Clever Tip #7:  Do Not Disturb

One of my favorite things about staying at a hotel are those lovely door signs that you can hang outside your room that say “Do Not Disturb” or “Please Clean Room.”  Several years ago I decided that these important messages could just as easily be incorporated into our family life as well. 

I made a set of our very own with not only the two just mentioned but others such as one for our home’s front door that states whether or not my kids are available to play with their friends (particularly great for hang during homework time), one to hang on the garage door that says “Please Take Out the Trash” and even one for the family room door that says “Molly needs a walk today” (that would be our loveable black Lab).  The messages are endless, really, and very effective for helping to give gentle reminders to your family.

Clever Tip #8:  Color Code Bath Towels

Because we have a large family, we seem to always run out of bath towels.  No matter how many times I would wash, dry, and fold towels, within a day or two, the hamper would once again be full.  I don’t mind laundering towels that need it, but many times my kids will pull out a clean towel and only dry their face or hands with it once and then throw it in the dirty laundry.  To solve this dilemma I decided to color code each of my 8 kids with their own towels. 

I bought each kid 5 towels and assigned them each a color.  They now have to care for these towels properly (as in not throwing them into the laundry just because they might be slightly damp) and if they don’t, I know whose towel it is because of the color.  I know what you’re thinking - what if someone borrows a towel?  I thought of that too. In the beginning when the kids were getting used to this system, everyone kept their own towels in a storage area in their bedrooms to avoid any “borrowing” from the family linen closet.  Now, several years later, it’s an automatic habit for each kid to use his own color.

How have you become a clever parent?  Share your ideas in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.  Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT where I continually update my selections.


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