8 Ways to Become a More Clever Parent

Mighty Mommy shares 8 pearls of wisdom for how to make your family life easier. (Hint: Color coded towels will do wonders for your sanity!).

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #275

Last week I invited a new neighbor over for coffee while our kids were at school.  As I find with most of my friends who are parents, we never lack for topics to discuss because of our common ground of children and parenting  Though I have 6 more kids than she does, we shared many of the same concerns, challenges, and fun-loving stories in regards to raising a family. 

Best of all, we shared ideas that have made a positive difference in our kids' lives. So today Mighty Mommy is going to list 8 of her best tips that can help you become a more clever parent!.

Clever Tip # 1:  Do Annual Job Reviews for Your Child

Years ago my oldest kids would play “office” in addition to “school” and would set up the family room like a business office, and I would join in and pretend I was the boss.  During one of these playtimes, I gave my daughter a job review.  Little did I realize how much she would love it, and insisted we do this for weeks later.  That gave me the idea to do a real written job review with each of my kids every year.

Around Mother’s Day, I would write up some of the things that stood out to me that year about each of my kids and then seal the letter up in an envelope with a few dollars enclosed as their “raise.”  I gave my two kids who graduated high school their collection of job reviews and they got a real kick out of them, as well as enjoying getting a few extra bucks to do something fun with after graduation.  I’ll do the same for  the rest of my children when they graduate over the upcoming years.

Clever Tip # 2:  Create a House Care To-Do List

Tired of picking up your kid’s legos, Barbie accessories, crayons, and more?  My kids get one warning to pick their stuff up and put it where it belongs.  By this I mean I make eye contact with them and calmly yet firmly tell them that they need to put their things away.  I also make sure I get a verbal response from them as a confirmation that they heard me the first time.   If the items are not taken care of within a reasonable amount of time (usually 15 minutes) I take them away.  They must earn their things back by helping me with whatever jobs need to be done on my house care to-do list.  

See also: How to Get Kids to Help Out With Chores


No one wants to get stuck caring for one of our bathrooms (with 5 boys in the house, you can’t blame them!) or have to spend precious time dusting the hardwood s where extra Pomeranian fur lurks in every corner, so it’s not often my gang leaves their things lying around the house much these days.

Clever Tip #3:  Issue Boarding Passes for Road Trips

How many times have you had to face sibling squabbles and skirmishes at the beginning of a car trip?  “I get the front seat!” or “You promised me I could have the window next time!”   These types of sentiments don’t exactly set the stage for a calm and peaceful ride.  Whether you have 8 kids or 8 like I do, accomodating everyone's seating preferences can be exhausting, which in turn can make reaching your destination an absolute nightmare.  

Having had enough of these stressful situations, I decided to implement a system similar to that of the airlines - I started assigning boarding passes.  I typed out a description of each seating position in our car, with the driver side being Side A and the passenger side being Side B.  For example, in our SUV we have three rows of seating, therefore one of the boarding passes reads: Driver’s Side A, Middle Row, Window Seat, or Passenger Side B, Back Row, Middle Seat.  

I glued all the different seating positions to pieces of heavy cardstock comparable to those the airlines use.  If I know we are going to have a seating war I issue each child his own boarding pass prior to our departure, and they know that this is where they are to sit, no questions asked.  I make sure to rotate the seats on a regular basis so that everyone gets a turn in the “favorite” seats.  Driving is much more pleasant now (until they start in about what radio station we should listen to!)


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.