When I write about something I'm doing with the kids, I'm especially likely to write about it when it's new, because that's when it's most interesting to me. But some things that seem like they are a good idea at first regress to the mean, while others don't. Here are most of my parenting posts, with my current thoughts:

  • Parenting and Happiness (2012-10): Looking back at this with ten years of perspective, eight of them as a parent, I am very glad we decided to have kids.

  • Baby Sleep (2014-08): We also did cry-it-out with Anna, and it went similarly. With Nora we didn't need to do very much of this, I think because the gradual transition from the Snoo worked well at teaching her how to get herself back to sleep?

  • Microwaving Milk Is Fine (2014-10): Yup. Still completely endorsed. I set up an old microwave Nora's bedroom for even more convenience.

  • Baby Sack as Coat (2015-01): This worked well when we had one very small child, but as she got heavier, and then we had our second, it stopped making sense. This isn't something I did with Anna or Nora.

  • Cosleeper (2015-07): For our second we moved to a mattress on the floor with a crib mattress next to it, and then with our third we used a Snoo, which I'd recommend.

  • Velcro Blackout Curtains (2016-05): We still have blackout curtains in all of the bedrooms, and are big fans. On the other hand, now that the older two are on a regular "go to school every morning" schedule, this is less important and their schedule is closer to the sun.

  • On Sharing (2016-09): We still don't make the kids share: if someone is playing with a toy they can keep doing that as long as they want.

  • Kids and Global Warming (2017-09): I still think climate change is not a good reason to avoid having children, and recently had a third. If you're looking to link people to something, however, Scott's more recent post is better.

  • Small Child Handrails (2017-09): I think I put these a little too low: by the time Anna was ready to use them she could've used ones, say, 6" higher. Still, they've gotten a lot of use, and they are not yet too low for Lily (8y). I expect Nora will find them helpful in about a year.

  • A calming strategy (2017-12): The general approach of asking what they want and getting them involved in solving their problem continues to be valuable. I think when I wrote that post I focused too much on the effect on timing (giving feelings time to dissipate) and not enough on the buy-in/agency aspects.

  • Reading to Kids (2018-05): In that post I talked about reading as fast as I could, like a podcast on 1.7x. I stopped doing this at some point, but I don't remember whether it's because it was more work for me because the kids didn't like it.

  • Predictable Parenting, How to Parent More Predictably (2018-07): This is still core to my approach to parenting, and it has worked very well for us. While I don't know how much is this and how much is other factors, our kids are generally very well behaved and pleasant.

  • Snowpants (2018-12): We are probably the most snowpants-wearing family I know, and I'm not sure why they haven't caught on more. Being able to play outside in the cold as long as you want is pretty great!

  • Present Timing for Kids (2018-12): We used the approach proposed in the post for the next few Christmases/Birthdays, and it was a big improvement. Now that the kids have gotten older, however, the normal approach is fine.

  • Equal Parenting Advice for Dads (2019-12): Over time we've ended up doing a lot more splitting where I have the older two and Julia has the baby, from a combination of preferences (I generally like going out and doing active things more than Julia does) and convenience (I can't nurse the baby).

  • Kid Door (2019-06): Having a way that the kids can get in and out on their own continues to be useful, especially now that they can take a walkie-talkie and go to the park on their own. I gave Lily a key to the door last week, but I need to spend more time teaching her how to use it since she finds it pretty frustrating.

  • Candy for Nets (2019-09): After doing this a few more times, she lost interest. She brought it up a few times during the pandemic, but selling things on the bike path seemed unlikely to work. A couple weeks ago she was trying to figure out what she could do to help people in Ukraine, and sold lemonade. She's very often conflicted, where she feels like things are badly wrong in the world and she doesn't know how to help. I haven't been that happy with my answers for her.

  • Thermal Mass Thermos (2019-09): After doing this for a while Lily told me she wasn't interested in her food because she was afraid she would accidentally eat the rock. This wasn't something I anticipated, partly because the rock was large enough that she couldn't choke on it if she tried. About two years later we had a second round of doing this, when she started wanting hot home-food at school, but it didn't last very long. Mostly now the kids get school lunch, which is well worth it from the perspective of making mornings easier.

  • Eight O'Clock is Relative (2019-10): Not that long after posting this, possibly prompted by posting this, we switched to a clock that lights up at a specific time. We've tried a few different versions of these clocks, however, and don't really like any of them. For example, with Anna's current clock she needs to manually trigger it every night before she goes to sleep.

  • Playing Dances With a Kid (2019-11): I brought Anna to one dance weekend before the pandemic, on Catalina island, which she loved and still talks about. She also remembers, and doesn't just remember talking about it: she still often brings up details we hadn't talked about. Aside from that, however, I haven't had any dance trips to bring them on. I'm planning to bring them both with me in July, though, when we go to Florida.

  • Kids Ear Protection (2020-04): Still a very handy option.

  • Helping the Kids Post (2020-04): They still want to write posts occasionally, and I do really like having these snapshots of what they've been thinking about. I think I was hoping that by now Lily might want to write things independently, but it's still her dictating to me.

  • Helping Lily Make Dinner (2020-04): Lily has continued to make dinner occasionally, primarily when there is something she really wants to eat but that no one else has cooked for dinner recently. I do really like having the option of saying "that isn't something I feel like making, but if you want to make it I'll help you?"

  • Simplifying Board Games (2020-05): Lily would consistently push me hard to make the games so complicated (add back all the rules!) that in some cases (Race for the Galaxy) she didn't understand them very well or especially enjoy them. On the other hand, we are now able to play the full version of several games (Thurn und Taxis, Guillotine, 5x5 Go if you want to count that). I'm also still doing something along these lines when I introduce new games: we initially played Set with just red solids, and now play with just red cards (which is a simplification the rules recommend).

  • Growing Independence (2020-07): This continues to be core to my approach to parenting, and I feel like it's gone well. Both older kids are able to do a lot of things on their own and have good common sense.

  • Bets, Bonds, and Kindergarteners (2021-01): This has continued to work well every time we've tried it, but that hasn't been often. Most of the time when I offer a bet they aren't interested, and there aren't that many times when I feel like I need a bond.

  • Watching Themselves (2021-02): This worked fine, except that when I interviewed Lily and Anna a few months later they said it was their least favorite childcare option by a bunch because it was boring. We will now do it for partial days (after school) but aren't planning to do it for whole days anytime soon.

  • Car Seats Three Across (2021-05): This has worked fine for us, even in our very narrow car. We keep the baby in the middle.

  • Kids NCurses Messenger (2021-05): Lily uses this some, and it's nice for reading and typing practice. Looking over the history, though, I only see ~40 messages ever. I'm definitely glad I didn't invest in writing software to allow her to send messages to arbitrary people unassisted, since then I would feel silly about a little she uses it. Success story for "do it manually until it's worth automating".

  • Alarms Are Better Than Chivvying (2021-06): Sort of working. When I wrote that post, it was working so well that I could completely ignore Lily and she would just do everything on her own. Pretty quickly we settled into a pattern where they understand that getting ready for school on time is their job, but I will remind them if it feels like they're getting stuck at one or another phase of getting ready. ("If you don't come down and eat your breakfast soon it's going to be cold and you might not have time to finish it before you need to leave for school.")

  • Walking to School (2021-06): Lily is still walking to school on her own, and now can cross the streets by herself. If for some reason I can't take them, they can walk together, though Anna still prefers if I come. They can also walk home together if need be, though they prefer it if someone picks them up.

  • To the Robobassinet and Progress (2021-06): The Snoo continued to work well, and we used it until Nora outgrew it. I think the instructions that come with it are too fast in the weaning stage: we took several weeks, slowly turning off elements, before moving Nora to a crib, and I think if we'd done it faster the transition would have been harder.

  • Thinking About College Funding (2021-09): I'm still on the fence about opening a 529, since now that there is so much more money available in the EA movement I'm back to thinking about doing something other than earning to give.

  • Walkie-Talkies (2021-09): We're still using these a lot. Today we didn't have childcare in the afternoon, and the kids walked home from school, went to a friends house, and then played to at the playground. I don't think I would've been comfortable with them doing this without being able to check in with me over walkie-talkie.

  • Fractional Sweets (2019-12), How Much is a Sweet? (2021-10): This is still working well. We've extended the system a little so that a serving of vegetables counts for -1/2 sweet and of fruit counts for -1/4, up to a max of -1/day. The main thing I like about this extension is that now if they are not prudent with spending their budget they have something that they can do. On the other hand, I would much rather the kids just eat fruits and vegetables without some sort of external incentive, but we don't make them eat things they don't want to eat and it was pretty clear that Lily especially wasn't going to be eating veggies without something like this.

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I am not a parent yet, but I’ve greatly appreciated all these posts and plan to think a lot about them if I ever do raise children. This seems like a good place to say thank you!

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