I recently realised that I have a handful of parenting tools that I turn to significantly more than others. Now, if Google search results are anything to go by, most people think of techniques when they see this term. And that’s fair enough.
While we all have go-to parenting strategies that we wouldn’t be without, I’m being annoyingly literal here. Yes, I’m talking about the physical tools that help me in my everyday life as a dad.
If I actually had a tool belt, these items would be well and truly stowed in it.
LEGO Brick Separator
Before I became a parent, I never imagined I would be in awe of a jauntily-coloured piece of plastic. But I really am. Is there a better parenting tool in the world? I think not.
The LEGO Brick Separator is the Swiss Army Knife of construction toys. You can use it to effortlessly remove stubbornly stuck pieces. I wish these existed when I was a kid – it would have saved so many fingernails!
Leaving the debates around screen time to one side, smartphones are essential for any parent. They’re cameras, torches and distraction techniques rolled into one. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve prevented a tantrum while out and about by playing favourite cartoons on YouTube.
They’re indispensable when it comes to answering the most mind-boggling kids’ questions too. Oh, and they can also be used for speaking to people if you’re into that kind of thing.
I’m referring to the fully biodegradable ones, obviously. Even though my kids are far from being babies anymore, we still have a pack of baby wipes on the go.
As well as being handy for a last-minute face wash when remnants of breakfast are evident, they clean just about anything. Which is handy as kids are mucky pups.
The things you get in Christmas crackers are usually a bit crap. Yes, Fortune Teller Fish, I include you. Sorry, not sorry.
But these apparently comedy-sized screwdrivers have come to my aid with kids’ toys on so many occasions. They’re small enough for the most ridiculous of hatches. And also for convenient misplacing when really irritating toys need new batteries.
The modern equivalent of football’s gone-but-not-forgotten magic sponge, the humble cold pack soothes all kinds of minor ailments.
This is almost certainly down to the placebo effect when kids really just want others to know they’ve suffered a bump, but it’s still invaluable. It also serves to stop jam jars rattling against each other in the fridge door.
What are your go-to parenting tools?