Parents of young kids tend to get inundated with advice—much of it unsolicited . But one mom is going viral for the practical bit of wisdom her own mother passed along, and you might just want to try it out the next time you're dealing with a little one who won't settle down.
Jennifer Batchelor originally shared her story on Instagram, but it blew up on Facebook this month after being reposted by The Motherhood Project. "Put them in water or take them outside," Batchelor's post began. "It was the first useful parenting advice I ever got," she explained.
"I don't remember how old my son was when I called my mom in tears… but his age was probably measured in weeks. Maybe days. 'Nothing is working; I don't know what else to try,' I sobbed. 'He's not hungry or sleepy or wet.' 'Try giving him a bath,' she suggested. 'Or bundle him up and take him outside for some fresh air. I always say to take them outside or put them in water, and usually, the grumpiness goes away.' It worked that day, and it's worked many times since." It seems so simple, but sometimes the tried and true methods passed on from mom to mom can be more effective at calming an agitated newborn than all the swaddles, swings, and sleep machines in the world.
Even if you're past the baby stage, Batchelor explained that the advice works for bigger kids, too. "We've done baths at 10 a.m. I've paced our driveway with a baby in my arms at 2 a.m. And today, at 5:15 p.m. when my children were fighting for the 17th time since they got home from school and I was about to lose it, instead I put one in the bath and I sent the other outside and now maybe all three of us will survive until Dad gets home."
She says the advice has been serving her well for about a decade now, and while it obviously isn't the solution to every problem a parent will ever face, it's done wonders for her family. "I can't give you advice about sleep schedules or feedings or Montessori-approved toys. I don't know what we're gonna do about Tik Tok and Snapchat in a few years. But when they're falling apart at the seams for no apparent reason, take them outside or put them in water," she says. And maybe the best part of all? "It works on grown-ups, too."
Why is her post resonating with so many mothers?
Maybe it's because it's so simple. Maybe it's because it actually works.
Or maybe it's because it's useful advice to any parent who's ever felt overwhelmed caring for a child. When you've been at it for hours trying everything to calm a fussy baby, it helps to remember that you're not doing anything wrong , mama. Sometimes, your little one just needs a change of pace.
Tuck this one into your back pocket for a rainy day. The next time your little (or not-so-little) one starts acting out, try it. Put her in a calming bath. Send him outside. Give them a change of pace and hopefully, their mood will improve.
You got this, mama.
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