15 Things Parents Thought They’d Never Do Before the Pandemic Struck

We’re all facing a new normal these days, and what was once off the table is suddenly now free game.
ByAshlee Neuman
Deputy Editor
August 6, 2020
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We all had our house rules and personal pet peeves before the COVID-19 crisis hit. Maybe you were a TV-free household, or were strict about snacks, or put the kibosh on super-messy indoor activities. But a lot has changed since then. With stresses and responsibilities mounting like never before, parents are desperate for ways to entertain their kids and give themselves a much-needed break—and a little leniency has been proving to go a long way. We asked The Bump readers to share some things they previously never dreamed they’d allow but are now letting slide. Here’s what they said.

1. Sanction crayons in the bathtub. Suddenly bathtime isn’t just a nightly ritual to get clean—it’s (anytime) playtime that can eat up a solid 20 minutes! We’ve been loving these crayons that easily wash off tub walls.

2. Allow the kids to eat cookies before dinner. Because we could all use a little pick-me-up treat right now. If you’re suffering from banana bread burnout and not up for making home-baked cookies, try the (vegan, allergy-friendly) goods from Partake.

3. Keep baby in PJs all day. The morning rush to get kiddos dressed and ready for their day is exhausting—but let’s face it, for a lot of us, there aren’t many places we need to be right now. If you find yourself needing to reup on the pandemic version of Outfit of the Day, here are some of our favorite kids’ pajama brands.

4. Give the kids multiple popsicles in one day. Toddlers love popsicles—even when they’re made with healthy ingredients like yogurt and fresh fruit. (Score one for you!) These molds from Nuby are awesome for easy DIY popsicles.

5. Bring the blow-up pool into the kitchen. Here’s a sweet pandemic parenting hack: Baby pools make for excellent indoor toys, if you have the space. Fill it with balls, pillows, sensory materials, stuffed animals–you name it, it’s all fun, immersive play. We’re fans of this mini blow-up pool.

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6. Buy a bouncy house. Despite times sometimes call for expensive measures—and it’s worth every penny. See our bouncy house pick (and other backyard toys) here.

7. Make DIY slime. Things that previously had been a total no-go are now getting the parental green light, like slime, glitter art and PlayDoh. Throw the admittedly fun sensory materials into a bin to better contain the mess.

8. Cuddle baby to sleep. Yes, there’s benefit to putting baby down sleepy but awake as you strive to teach your little one good sleep hygiene, but even babies may be feeling the stress of the pandemic and need some extra TLC. Give yourself some grace.

9. Offer juice for breakfast. The AAP recommends limiting the amount of juice you give your toddler—but if a sippy cup of orange juice is going to buy you a morning without tantrums while you check items off your WFH to-do list, take it. (In fact, a new study suggests there may be an upside to giving preschoolers 100 percent fruit juice.)

10. Let your little one play in mud. With everything else going on, a little backyard dirt won’t hurt—and little ones find playing with soil endlessly fascinating. Take your child’s play to the next level with this cute bucket and rake set.

11. Let the kiddos watch more TV and have more snacks. Hey, you’re just keeping the peace. Let the guilt go. Shows like Sesame Street have been offering incredible content throughout the pandemic. And if you need some ideas for quick, healthy toddler snacks, we’ve got you covered.

12. Build giant forts and then never take them down. They might take up precious space, but that’s 15 minutes of set-up saved when your kiddo needs entertainment, and stat. In need of some fort design inspiration? IKEA has a few ideas for you.

13. Let your kid get as messy as they want while eating. Let’s face it, mealtime with little ones is a kitchen disaster waiting to happen—but worrying about keeping baby’s outfit clean is just one thing you can’t expend energy on right now. That’s where these baby-friendly laundry detergents come in handy.

14. Set a non-negotiable bedtime. “I always judged people who had strict bedtime rules—now I understand why,” one parent shared. That’s sacred me-time! Here’s what to know about getting baby on a schedule.

15. Buy your toddler an iPad. It’s called survival. And guess what? There are loads of great development-boosting content out there for young kids. Here are some of our top picks for educational toddler apps.
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