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  • Writer's pictureRebecca McCann

My Favorite Parenting Hacks: The Magic Trio

Droplet of water

I am not a parenting expert. I’m mostly still learning as I go with our 3 boys. But years ago I heard a great piece of advice that has stuck with me: on tough days, “just add water or fresh air.” It’s so simple and it works with all ages. Got a fussy newborn? Try a warm bath, or a walk outside. Got a cranky toddler? Take them to the playground. Bath time also still works like a charm (take a cue from @busytoddler and throw some Duplos, pom pom balls, or even glow sticks in the tub to add some extra fun). Got a bored school-aged kid? Let them run in the sprinkler or play with water toys outside (water and fresh air!). 

Over the years I’ve found one additional thing that works wonders for both my attitude, and the kids’ moods - music. Dreading that load of laundry or the stack of dishes in the sink? Turn up your favorite tunes. Tired baby? Sing a lullaby. Whiny kids in the car? Roll down the windows and turn up the radio. 

I used that trick one day last summer. Pretty sure my oldest was having a bad attitude about something, and my youngest was playing his favorite game when he’s tired. It’s called disagree-with-everything-that-anyone-says. I was losing my patience, so I rolled down all the windows and cranked up one of my toddler’s favorite songs, “Timebomb” by WALK THE MOON. My 7-year-old loved it, my toddler started laughing his head off, and my 10-year-old acted like he was embarrassed (while secretly hiding a grin). His embarrassment skyrocketed when the next song came on, which happened to be the theme to Thomas & Friends. I kept all the windows down and blasted that theme song through our neighborhood. Needless to say, we were all laughing our heads off by the time we got home. 

In one of our family’s favorite episodes of Bluey, the mom also uses the music trick with great results. Bluey is grouchy, mom can’t decide what to make for dinner, Bingo wants to play with dad, and dad wants to go for a run. Nobody is happy. Then mom decides they’re all going to play musical statues. Of course everyone ends up having a great time, and they eat cereal for dinner. 


Just add water or fresh air. This timeless bit of advice is so simple and so versatile. Although it’s one of my favorite parenting hacks, I sometimes forget this little gem. So this is my reminder to myself and to you…when in doubt, remember to just add water, fresh air…or music!

If you want to add a splash of fun to your bath time routine, check out Busy Toddler on Instagram - @busytoddler. She’s got fantastic and simple suggestions.


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