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Challenge: Best Parent Hacks

The Best Parenting Hack: Sibling Teachers!

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If you're like me, the duty of being a mom is beyond a full time job. From cooking breakfast and making sure the kids have showered and are ready for school to completing homework and tucking my sons and daughter in at a decent time at night, I am constantly at work ensuring my kids have as quality and comfortable of a life as possible. And all of this is on top of being a wife and woman with her own goals, hobbies and interests. Yet, sometimes I want a little bit of time and space to myself. No, scratch that – I need a little bit of time and space to myself!

Now I’m sure you’re saying, “Uh, girl, so do I! But how do I make that happen?” Well, here’s a little parenting hack I came up with a year ago that works wonders: sibling teachers. The concept behind sibling teachers is having your children help each other with their tasks. This can be as simple as having an older sibling show the younger sibling how to properly clean up for dinner, or it can cover more advanced topics such teaching musical instruments. In fact, I’ve even had so much success in having my oldest son help his younger brother with homework that it has become routine in my household. No joke! Right after dinner, my two boys eagerly run off into the living room to get started on Caleb’s homework.

How in the world did I ever accomplish such a miracle? Well, the secret to creating sibling teachers is to have the kids believe that they are the ones making the choice, not that you’re making them do something to free up time for yourself. For example, after our community daycare center’s Facebook page shared a study that 75% of parents are using iPad apps to help prepare their children for kindergarten, I reserved the family iPad for Caleb each night after dinner so he can do apps and activities. Of course, my oldest son didn’t like that he couldn’t use the iPad, so I said, “Well, if you really want to use it, I guess you could run over and see if you can help at all. But only this once.” And guess what, not only did my oldest help Caleb, but the next night after dinner he excitedly asked if he could help again.

Ladies, keep in mind that an essential for making this hack work is providing incentives. Not every task is going to have built-in benefits like using an iPad, so be sure to offer rewards that motivate your kids to help each other. Not only does this little hack give us women the time and space needed to decompress, but it also helps encourage long-term sibling friendships and builds trust and comfort. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourselves and thank me later!

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