Best of the Web: How to stop being a nagging parent, and more

Ideas for getting kids to cooperate, an uplifting story of an enterprising young author, and a dad struggling through the pandemic.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

How do I motivate my kids without becoming a nag? The key is to make peace with slow progress

(Conal Hanna, The Guardian)

Is nagging in your parent toolbox? Is there a constant refrain around the household of ‘Don’t forget to…’ and ‘Hurry up…?

The author knows this world all too well, explaining how getting his four-year-old to brush their teeth turns a two minute exercise into a 20 minute affair of frustration. Very few of those minutes involve the toothbrush coming into contact with teeth.

‘Of all the least fun parenting roles to play, that of the nagger is surely right up there,’ he laments. ‘Even I hate the sound of my own voice.’

Searching for a solution, his friend suggests preschool teachers, who are like ‘child whisperers’.

The article includes some great expert advice from a child whisperer. While aimed at little ones, some of the tips apply to all ages, such as pausing before responding.

Read the full article

The 8-year-old self-published author who snuck his book into the library


Dillon Helbig, 8, loves to read, write and draw. He’s been creating books since the age of 6, which is in itself impressive.

But as this article reports, he felt his audience of mum and dad needed to be expanded. So he took matters into his own hands, taking his latest work, The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis, to the local library in Hazel Lake, Boise, Idaho, in the US.

There, he slipped the book onto the shelves. When the library staff discovered the book, they were so impressed they decided to add it to the library catalogue, with the permission of Dillon’s parents.

At last count, there were 125 people on the waitlist to read Dillon’s work.

This article from npr also includes the audio report, where Dillon gives his tips to aspiring authors.

Read the article and listen to the interviews

COVID has taken all the joy out of parenting (again)

(Christian Harimanow, ABC Everyday)

This is a candid article from a parent who has struggled through the pandemic. Parenting is ‘hard’, he notes, but hard is ‘something parents wear like a badge of honour’.

‘But being unhappy about being a parent comes with shame. After all, a child is meant to bring you joy. And I love my son with all my heart, but some days I really struggle.’

The father of a toddler details what it’s been like living through the pandemic ‘with no end in sight’, and the sense of feeling overwhelmed.

In part, it’s because the release valves have gone. Outings are invariably outdoors, there are few catch ups with friends, and social sports are also gone.

He concludes on a positive note – a decision to seek more balance in his life, and to adjust to the new normal – one that includes enjoying the journey of parenting.

Read the full article