+
upworthy
Family

The surprisingly simple parenting advice that almost always works, even when all else fails

It's meant for babies and toddlers but works like a charm on kids of all ages.

Baby splashing in bucket outside
Photo by Lubomirkin on Unsplash

Baby playing with water in a bucket.

Becoming a parent is many things—exciting, scary, joyful, messy, wonder-filled, smelly—but mostly it's a bit overwhelming. Even if you are thrilled with having a baby, there's a lot you have to learn and figure out as you go. To help you through that learning process, there are about a thousand parenting books filled with "expert" advice, at least half of which simply won't work for you or your kid.

Genuinely universally helpful parenting advice is a unicorn; it simply doesn't exist. But occasionally, a golden piece of age-old child-rearing wisdom manages to break through the noise—something that works most of the time for most kids and parents. Something your grandma or auntie passed along that sounds too simple to be effective, yet works like a charm. Something that few if any people could possibly find controversial or problematic.



Something like: "Put them in water or take them outside."

This advice was highlighted by The Motherhood Project in 2021 and has been shared on Facebook more than 123,000 times.

The "water or outside" advice is generally used for babies or toddlers who are inconsolable, as wee ones are known for screaming like banshees for no apparent reason and throwing conniption fits with no apparent prompting.

"Apparent" is the key here, of course—logically, there must be some reason for wailing as if being tortured—but most babies and most toddlers aren't able to verbally articulate their issue, and sometimes that issue might be as simple as "I don't want to be where I am or doing what I'm doing."

Once you've determined the kiddo is not injured in some way, "Put them in water or take the outside" is solid advice that often works when all else fails. And thankfully, it's effective for tiny people as well as older kids (and honestly, sometimes even teenagers). A bath, pool or shower is often just the distraction or soothing sensory experience needed to snap them out of whatever mood they're in. And fresh air and sunlight are simple human needs that many of us neglect too often—a reality that becomes all too clear when you take kids outside and the drama all melts away within minutes.

Of course, there are caveats here. Some babies absolutely hate the bath. Some kids have sensory issues that are triggered by certain outdoor environments. So it's not universally foolproof, but it's definitely worth trying.

Countless commenters testified to the efficacy of the "put them in water or take them outside" advice.

"I didn't hear this until after I had my 2nd baby," wrote one mom. "I used it with my 3rd often, and it truly does work. So mad I heard a lot of terrible advice before learning this one!"

"Yes!! And I even give my daughter a bath during dinner time and feed her in the bath sometimes cause she gets so hangry she can’t calm down enough to eat. But in the bath, she naturally calms down enough to eat while she’s playing. She’s almost 5 and we’ve been doing this most of her life. Even did it tonight again," shared another mother.

One mom shared that it works with her older autistic son: "When my 12 year old autistic son gets overly fractious he either goes in the bath or goes outside....... always works ❤."

Another expanded the idea to "just add water," including things like watercolor, playing in the sink, etc.: "I have heard the phrase 'just add water' as well. When things are crazy just think of ways to add water to it. Waterpaints, playing with the hose outside, taking a bath, filling the sink up and adding toys, fill small Tupperware bowls with water and let their imagination go wild, taking a drink, giving them a wet paper towel for ouchies, etc. It's one of my favorite pieces of advice I've gotten."

Some parents shared that holding their colicky newborn in the shower was the only thing that helped calm them down. Others said that baths were a sanity saver for their kids' entire early childhoods. Some said that simply stepping outside with a cranky baby was enough to get them to stop fussing most of the time.

It's good advice for us adults, too, when we're feeling frazzled. Soaking in a tub or going for a walk seem like such simple things, but they really can make a huge difference in how we feel and how we view things.

Add water or go outside: A solid tip for new parents and a great life hack for all ages.

Health

Psychologist explains why everyone feels exhausted right now and it makes so much sense

Psychologist Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling and it makes perfect sense.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

It seems like most people are feeling wiped out these days. There's a reason for that.

We're about to wrap up year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's been a weird ride, to say the least. These years have been hard, frustrating, confusing and tragic, and yet we keep on keeping on.

Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

But why?

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

People share the quirkiest things their pets do and it's both hilarious and heartwarming

We asked our people to share their pet's weirdest antics and our audience delivered.

Silly doggo.

Pets are good for many reasons, from companionship and comfort to security and snuggles. But they can also be highly entertaining members of the family.

One saving grace during the pandemic was getting to spend lots of time with our pets and witnessing all of their silly, quirky antics all day long. How many times have you wished you could hear what was going through your cat or dog's brain as they do things that defy logic. The cat who likes to chew on people's hair while they sleep—why? The dog who spins around in a circle ten times before relieving themselves—why?

The reason animals do what they do may be a mystery, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable to hear about their silly habits. We asked our Upworthy audience to share the quirkiest things their pets do, and people delivered big time.

Keep ReadingShow less

Our home, from space.

Sixty-one years ago, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to make it into space and probably the first to experience what scientists now call the "overview effect." This change occurs when people see the world from far above and notice that it’s a place where “borders are invisible, where racial, religious and economic strife are nowhere to be seen.”

The overview effect makes man’s squabbles with one another seem incredibly petty and presents the planet as it truly is, one interconnected organism.

Keep ReadingShow less
Internet

The interesting reason British and Australian people sing in North American accents

It happens to other English speaking people from other countries too.

The reason British and Australian people sing in American accents

Music is something that crosses all barriers, including the language barrier. It's so much easier to learn songs in a foreign language than it is to actually learn the language itself. But there's something interesting that happens for people who normally speak with an accent when singing. Suddenly their accents are gone.

Some of the biggest singers in America didn't grow up in the United States and yet when they sing, they do so with an American accent. Lewis Capaldi, Ed Sheeran, Adele and Harry Styles to name a few, are all from England with the exception of Capaldi, who hails from Scotland. They're some of the most popular singers in the world but their speaking accents are drastically different than their singing accents. But why is that?

Dave Huxtable, a language coach explores why singers who aren't from North America, sing as if they are in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Woman fed up with wasteful holiday 'giving' proposes a new way to celebrate the season

"Gifting in America has become insane. So I’m changing my ways."

A woman buying gifts for her nephews.

After becoming fed up with the material nature of the holiday season, a Redditor who goes by Somanycatsinhere, shared how she is putting her money towards things that matter rather than mindlessly buying gifts. Even though everyone's situation differs, the post is an excellent reminder that we don’t have to give someone a store-bought gift reflexively. Instead, we can focus on getting something they actually need.

“I’m over buying gifts to be thrown away or donated,” she started her post. “I decided I’m done.”

The Redditor explained she usually visits her family a few weeks before the holidays for a joint Thanksgiving and “Early Christmas” celebration, and this year, she took a different approach to gift-giving.

“I made a visit to my sister with my 3 amazing nieces. … The kids have everything they can need or want: toys and clothing-wise—and it’s all so overwhelming. The kids don’t even play with most of it. It’s just piled up everywhere,” she wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

The night before his murder, JFK became the first president to meet with Latino leaders

The historic meeting was overshadowed by the horrors of November 22, 1963.

via Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy greet attendees of a dinner held by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. Master of Ceremonies, John J. Herrera, stands at far right; Mariachi musicians play at left.

November 22, 2023, will mark the 60th anniversary of one of the most horrific moments in American history, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The anniversary has been greeted by a host of new documentaries and renewed interest in the conspiracies surrounding the assassination.

One historic moment from Kennedy’s short but consequential presidency occurred on the last night of his life, Thursday, November 21, 1963. That night, Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and his wife, Lady Bird, visited a formal dinner in Houston, Texas, held by LULAC — the League of United Latin American Citizens. The event featured a welcoming party of Mexican-American World War II veterans, including Medal of Honor recipient Macario García.

Keep ReadingShow less