This article originally appeared on YourTango.
By Gia Scaringi, Expert
Make 2017 the year of balance.
As the year ends and we prepare to start fresh, parents are looking back on what they can do differently. Traditional parenting tips have many positives attributes but sometimes, it’s the unconventional things you would never have thought to do that make all the difference.
Implementing these ten unconventional parenting techniques is the perfect way to start the new year.
By bypassing the traditional route, you can shake up your old routine, enjoy your kids more, and feel calm throughout the year. Finding this kind of balance is sure to make 2017 your best year yet.
End the bedtime struggle .... for good.
Bedtime is the only chance some parents get to relax before a new day begins. However, just as children are snuggled into bed, they realize that they need a glass of water. Then, of course, they will need to do a million other things that don’t include sleeping.
End this vicious cycle by giving them one "get-out-of-bed-free" card. By giving them the option to get out of bed, but only once, they will be forced to think about whether they really want to use up their one chance to get out of bed for the night.
Make sleeping in a reality.
Once you can get your kids to sleep, the next issue is getting them to stay in bed past 6am. On the weekends, it would be a dream to be able to sleep in.
Make this dream a reality by getting your kids their own alarm clock. There are many to choose from and you can set them so that your little one knows when it’s okay to wake everyone else up.
A cheaper option is to write their acceptable wake-up time next to a regular alarm clock then once the numbers match they know it’s time to get up.
Let your kids roam free.
The "Free Range Kids" movement is a relatively new way of looking at parenting. Basically, by giving your kids as much space as you’re comfortable with to roam free, you make your life easier and help them to build their confidence.
As always, make sure there are minimal risks involved and only allow them to wander away if you are comfortable.
Stop limiting screen time.
In the world of mom-shaming for technology overuse, this seems like the most unconventional advice yet. The idea behind unlimited screen time is that your children will eventually tire of using their tablets and television and limit themselves out of boredom.
Even if this plan doesn’t work out, it’s easy to put limits back on after giving it a good try. Better yet, new technology, like the line of guilt-free tech toys from Pai Technology, can actually encourage your children to learn and be creative.
Cut down on toys.
Getting rid of some of your child’s toys may seem like a punishment, but it is a great parenting tip to de-clutter and spark their imagination.
Donate toys that don’t get a lot of use and cut back to about ten toys per child. This will drastically cut down your cleaning time and you’ll be surprised by how little your kids will miss them. Just make sure to take the lesser-used toys away without the kids knowing!
Cycle out toys.
This concept comes from Montessori Principles. The idea is to keep most of your kid's toys in a bin they do not have free access to and leave out three to five toys on a shelf at their level.
When the toys are seeing less use, you can switch them out with the other toys in their bin. You will cut down on cleanup time and your kids will get to enjoy their toys more.
Gain a set of helping hands.
Traditionally, parents set up a gate to block off the kitchen as they prepare meals. While this may seem like the easiest way to get dinner on the table, having your little one help can be much less stressful for them and rewarding in the long run.
Set them up their own space to mix ingredients, chop soft food with a butter knife, and transfer items from mixing bowls and pans. It will keep them occupied and give them confidence in the kitchen later in life.
Turn yucky food into yummy food.
Most kids aren’t big on eating the healthy food they need to grow strong. Make vegetables more appealing by sprinkling edible glitter on them. It will be like fairy dust for their taste buds!
Does your little one hate drinking their milk? Drop a candy-coated chocolate in the glass. It will change the color of the milk and at the end, they get to eat the chocolate!
Let your baby lead the way.
There is a not-so-new idea going around called baby led weaning. Basically, it means skipping the traditional purees and letting your child eat what you eat, starting with finger-foods. After reading up on this method, it’s worth a try!
Encourage your child to do less homework.
Yes, you read that right. And this tip may warrant a chat with your child’s teacher but new research from Ozicare indicates that less homework might be the better option when it comes to academic success.
Statistics from around the world surprisingly show that the countries with the least amount of homework per week, tend to perform better academically.
These ten unconventional parenting tips are sure to help you to break out of the same-old-same cycle that many parents get into. By deciding to use the new year to break out of your parenting rut you will create a better year for yourself and your children.
No matter how strange parenting tips may sound, sometimes breaking convention is just what you need to give yourself a different perspective on daily life.
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