It’s the start of the summer holidays for those of us with school age kids and the team at Sitster has been frantically picking up tips on how to keep us all amused. All the brilliant ideas we’ve been given have brought us to thinking about all the other pieces of indispensable parenting advice that have kept us sane over the years. We would have been absolutely lost without the wisdom of our wonderful community so, in the spirit of holiday goodwill, we thought we’d share ten of our favourite tips we’ve been given with you.

ON BABIES

1. You’re knackered. You don’t know what you’re doing. It’s all overwhelming. DON’T WORRY – you’re keeping them safe and warm and fed. You don’t need to be superwoman – good enough is enough.

2. The tiny little stranger in your home looks a bit funny and you’re worried. But you won’t want to waste anyone’s time as you could just be overreacting. Go to the doctor! They won’t care – there’s no such thing as being neurotic when it comes to a baby’s well-being. Well, what are you waiting for? Get going now.

3. There IS, however, such a thing as being neurotic when it comes to everything else. If the baby’s asleep, don’t even look at the Dyson – rest while you can and embrace the mess. It couldn’t matter less if Cynthia down the road thinks your house is a tip – you’ve got enough on your plate. (NB. This also applied pre-babies, and may well apply forever, as far as we’re concerned).

ON TODDLERS

4. EVERYTHING is a phase. Being affectionate and adorable; sleeping like a log; sleeping like a, well, toddler; tantrums on the bus – it will all pass.  And you’ll probably miss all of it too, good and bad, when a predictably grumpy 16 year old emerges.

5. If they’re fussy eaters, take the easy option. For goodness sake, don’t slave over the stove like Henry VIII’s sous chef, creating dainty morsels to tempt their tiny taste buds. Let them have pasta and ketchup if that’s what they want. At least you’ll avoid picking it all off the floor in a murderous rage.

6. And on that note, our personal favourites (which we’re going to bundle together in the hope that you won’t notice them and judge us too harshly) – TV’s fine (so much thought has gone in to making the good bits good for their brains) and ice cream is a superfood (it contains fat, protein and carbs – everything a toddler needs to grow, right?). Now, just look at their happy, cherubic faces. Hurrah! (NB. Hasty caveat – both in moderation, obvs).

ON 5 PLUS

7. You don’t need to occupy them all the time. Let them entertain themselves or, better still, just be bored sometimes. They’ll work it out, and stimulate those creative juices while they’re at it.

8. When they’re telling tales on little Jimmy for calling them a smelly bottom, ask them what happened immediately before Jimmy let rip. Very rudimentary detective work is often all that’s needed to establish who was the real villain of the piece.

9. Let them be a baby from time to time. It may feel like your 5/10 year old is just about big enough to embark on their gap year, but they’re TINY. Indulge them when they need to feel it – it’ll be lovely for both of you.

ON YOU

10. However you’re doing it, you’re brilliant. You may think everyone else is managing better, achieving more and that your friends are generally smarter, shinier people than you. But don’t fret – they think the same about you and no-one would ask any more of you than you already give. So stop asking for more of yourself. It can feel such a slog and our children can seem oblivious to all we do for them, but to them you are perfect.

And, that’s that, except to thank the lovely Sitsterhood for sharing these with us, and for perking us up no end when we’ve been feeling less than bullet-proof.

Oh, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Sitster is a mobile app to help friends organise a babysitting circle. Sitster makes it quick and easy to arrange babysitting amongst a group of your trusted friends, using a points system so it’s completely free and fair.