Raising children is really hard work, though it is immensely rewarding. This opportunity essentially gives you a chance to make a better version of yourself. While every parent hopes their son or daughter turns into a little angel, there are plenty of mistakes moms and dads are prone to that can have deep psychological effects on their kids.

There’s no one right way to care for a child, though experts agree that these behaviors are keys to success. Follow these basic rules, and your family is bound to be happier, healthier, and having a lot more fun.

1. Yell Less: Discipline has its place, true. But flying off the handle every time a kid does something wrong doesn’t fix anything. Instead, be reasonable and show them how they went off the rails. A mistake is just another learning moment.

2. Pay Attention: Children, just like everybody else, crave respect. So if you allow yourself to get distracted while they’re talking to you, their self-esteem and communication skills will deteriorate. Put that cellphone away!

3. Limit Screen Time: And you’re not the only one who might be spending too many hours glued to a device. Though it’s great that kids get computer literate at such a young age, make sure they spend some time in the real world too.

4. Ask About Their School Day: Parents should follow up with their sons and daughters about what they covered in the classroom that day. These conversations stress the importance of learning and help them retain the curriculum.

5. Visit Museums: Learning isn’t limited to the school day. Plus, when it happens in a museum, the experience tends to be way more fun. The open format gives kids a chance to explore and tackle big ideas in person.

Washington, D.C.

6. Eat As A Family: Hard as it can be to get every member of the family around the table, it sure pays off. Experts agree that this simple ritual does a fantastic job of keeping families tight-knit and open.

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7. Make Time For Your Marriage: Though it seems counterintuitive, moms and dads need to prioritize alone time to keep their kids happy. When children sense that their parents are content, they’re likely to feel the same way.

Modern Family Wiki

8. Let Kids Make Their Own Choices: Nobody wants a helicopter parent. Instead of micromanaging every little decision, give children viable options to pick from. There’s nothing wrong with taking the road less traveled.

Dr. Tim Riordan

9. Promote Independence: Sure, you could speed up every part of a kid’s routine by stepping in. But you’re better off knowing when to hang back and let them figure things out themselves. A little self-reliance goes a long way.

Today’s Parent

10. Get A Pet: You don’t need to be a master of persuasion to get a kid to agree to a new cat or dog. They’ll benefit from being a pet owner too. In addition to learning responsibility, your kid will have a loyal companion and confidante.

11. Encourage A Summer Job: Once your son or daughter is old enough, the summer months mark a chance for them to get a little career experience. A paper route or babysitting can help them mature, not to mention put some cash in their pockets.

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12. Prioritize Outside Time: A regular dose of fresh air and vitamin D does children a whole lot of good. They can do anything: run around the yard, build a fort, start a garden. The world is their oyster!

13. Travel With Your Kids: As a soon-to-be-vacationing parent, you may be tempted to leave your children with the sitter. But why not do them a favor and bring them along? The experience will open up their eyes to the world and all its wonders.

Big Brave Nomad

14. Make Them Eat Vegetables: Yes, the old saying is true. Because kids are constantly growing, they need the proper nutrients to stay happy and healthy. That means keeping the cookie jar out of reach — or filling it with carrot sticks.

Everyday Health

15. Set Realistic Expectations: Families tend to want children to be the best at everything, but that viewpoint will do more harm than good. Everyone is better off by discussing reachable goals and giving permission to fail.

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16. Let Them Make Friends: As important as family time may be, kids of all ages need to connect with people their own age. New friendships will broaden their support system and sharpen social skills.

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17. Assign Chores: It’s important that everybody in the household has some skin in the game. You can pull a Tom Sawyer and make them think it’s a fun activity too. Best of all, this trick will take a little work off mom and dad’s plate.

18. Don’t Sweat Over Homework: Studies prove that a majority of the work teachers assign students don’t help them learn. It’s just busy work. Feel free to lend a helping hand if they ask for it, but otherwise don’t make them spend all night hitting the books.

Psychology Today

19. Read!: At the same time, you can’t expect kids to turn off their brains as soon as they get home from school. Provide them with a large selection of books at home, even if your children can’t yet read themselves.

It’s no secret that parenting can feel overwhelming at times. There’s so much to keep track of! Fortunately, a few genius moms and dads out there have devised genius hacks to make raising a family way easier.

Complex

1. Toddlers are hard to watch, even when there aren’t dangers lying around every corner. This dad came up with a genius way to barbecue so that his curious toddler can still roam.

LadBaby / Instagram

2. If your bathroom has a stand-up shower, it’s nearly impossible to bath your child without you ending up in the shower as well. This genius parent thought to place a blowup pool inside their shower to make bath time possible.

fjordliebe / Instagram

3. Children love playing in sandboxes, and you love when your child is occupied. The downside, though, is boxes are very hard to keep covered and clean. If you purchase a small tent and fill it with sand, you can zip the door shut at night and keep unwanted debris, animals, and bugs out of the sand.

The Goonberry Tales / YouTube

4. These smart parents thought to place this emergency information label on their child’s car seat in the event of an accident and they are unconscious. This information would be extremely helpful to the first responders.

Mommy Hacks Official

5. Sometimes your baby strollers become off-road vehicles and the wheels get dirty. No one wants to bring that into their house. If you simply place shower caps over the wheels, the dirt stays contained and your house stays clean.

6.  Baby walkers are a great way to let your baby explore while also keeping her safe. The downside is that these walkers do a number on your walls and furniture. Attaching pool noodles with zip ties can help prevent damage to your house.

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7. Every parent has felt the pain of stepping on a Lego because they are the hardest toys to keep organized. Just purchase an inexpensive shoe organizer so your child can store and organize theirs as they see fit.

Family Maven

8. As a parent, you want to give your kids their space, but you know they still need some supervision. This little mirror will give you some peace of mind and give them their independence.

Redhead can decorate

9. Creativity and hands-on projects are key to a child’s development. Still, they can be such a mess. If you slip a piece of paper and a few drops of paint into a Ziploc bag, they can finger paint without the mess!

sportymum_b / Instagram

10. Little hacks can help make car rides so much smoother. For example, if you create a short sippy cup leash, they can retrieve their fallen cup when you’re busy behind the wheel.

We have Aars

11. Once your children are up and running, they are constantly trying to open all of the doors and cabinets in the house. These little doorknob hats are decorative and will make it difficult for their little hands to open any door.

This lovely life

12. If they won’t wear their smock during craft time, you can use press and seal cling wrap and apply it to the front of their shirt. That way, you can just peel away the mess when they are finished.

Raddest Mom

13. It can be difficult to keep children occupied during long plane rides. These inexpensive window cling stickers can be a quick-and-easy distraction to pull out of your carry on bag. They’re light to travel with and easy to clean up.

teachermama1138 / Instagram

14. Long car rides can be equally difficult. Children often wait until the last minute to tell you they need to use the bathroom and there is no rest stop in sight. Just keep a training potty and some extra diapers in the car. When they are done, just dispose of the diaper.

A haven of chaos

15. You can always buy those expensive car track rugs that your child will probably play with a handful of times — or you can create one yourself for next to nothing!

tmccrum_mua / Instagram

16. Getting your kid to eat fruits and vegetables is hard. Use this little trick when they’re being fussy. If you cut an apple into thin strips, they’ll resemble French fries. Just tell them they’re eating apple French fries, and they’ll gobble them up.

eastcoastveganvibes / Instagram

17. A great and mess-free way to play with your child is to use your imagination. If they’re really into fire trucks and police cars, you can play pretend firehouse and have them help paint the fire station. Just get a bucket of water and a broom and let them “paint” the patio.

lydialaceby / Instagram

18. Now, this might seem over the top, but sometimes you really need to get in and out of stores without any distractions. If you carry around an “out of order” sign you can use it in desperate situations to dissuade your child.

Peter Neill / Twitter

19. Toys tend to get really dirty. This is especially true if they catch a cold or stomach bug. You can easily wash plastic or rubber toys in the dishwasher so they’re clean and sanitary for your kids to enjoy.

Raddest Mom

20. Certain subjects don’t always come as easily to kids — math is one of them. Many children are visual learners, and they learn from what they see. These multiplication stairs allow them to physically move around and solve math problems themselves.

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