16 Parenting Hacks from the Kid Experts Themselves, aka Pediatricians

young boy plays in the yard with a castle made from cardboard box

After four years of med school, three years of residency and numerous interactions with infants, toddlers, tweens and teens, there’s no doubt pediatricians are the experts in all things kid. And while typical conversations with the doctors revolve around things like sleep patterns, growth spurts and rashes, we wanted to tap into their expertise to see which tricks of the trade are their favorites. Here’s what they had to say:

For the newborn who likes things extra cozy

Use swaddle sacks! — Alexandra James, MD

For the newborn needing an “easy” routine

I recommend the “E.A.S.Y.” method to many new parents as one of many possible ways to set up their baby’s daily routine: “E” means eat first, “A” is for activity, “S” is for ­sleep and “Y” is to do something for yourself as baby sleeps. — Stephanie Tosh, MD

… or at least an easy diaper change

Place diaper cream on the diaper and spread it around so you do not have to use your fingers. — Brett Moore, MD

For the toddler who’s still trying to master the potty

When potty training your toddler, keep a portable potty seat in the back of the car. Whenever they need to go, line the inside of the potty seat with a leftover diaper. Reduces accidents and makes cleanup easier! — Bonni Heithold, MD

For the injury-prone kid

You can freeze jumbo marshmallows in a baggie to make a softer, more comfy (and less icy-cold) ice pack for minor bumps and scrapes. — Elizabeth Sheppard, MD

For the kid who refuses to eat their veggies

“Hide” vegetables in baked goods. — Julie Benard, MD

… Or is a picky eater in general

Just because your child refuses a food once or many times, don't give up. Try telling your child, “Taste this to see if you are old enough to like this yet." Taste buds evolve and change over time, so it can take 10 or more times of tasting a food before a child's taste buds accept it. — Anu Rajagopalan, MD

For the kid who needs to be told what to do

Tell kids what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do! That’s when I’m on my parenting A-game. On days I feel overwhelmed, ice cream generally works well to bribe, placate, pacify, reward or distract. — Nathan Beucke, MD

For the kid learning the power of choice

Whenever possible, offer your child choices! — Meg Wang, MD

… And consequences

Always try to give kids choices and let them live with the consequences. Kids learn better that way. — Tom Selva, MD

For the kid who likes to play

Look for daily opportunities to join your kids in reading, food fun (cooking or gardening) and play. — Megan Clary, MD

For the kid looking to get crafty

Never throw out cardboard; it can be used to build castles, armor and tunnels, repurposed as a recyclable graffiti wall and even used as a divider between car seats to prevent fighting. — Bernie Eskridge, MD

For the kid on the path to success

The goal of a parent isn’t to try to have children who are successful in preschool or kindergarten. It is to raise them in such a way that we are happy to know them when they are 18 years old. — Dean Lasseter, MD

For the kid who’s looking for a role model

Be the person you want your child to be. They are always watching us, even when we don’t realize it. — Nabila Khaleel, MD

… Or at least a positive influence

Try to stay calm and be positive. Kids learn from you. — Harsha Patel, MD

For the teen (or anyone) who needs a reminder of their first love

Every time I have an appointment with a teenager, I lecture them on the importance of telling their mother they love them every day! — Chris Wilhelm, MD

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