1. Don’t plan every single minute of you child’s day.
2. Avoid, at all costs, the term, “Play Date.” Rather, send your kids outside to find their own playmates.
3. Get comfortable saying “No.”
4. Stop thinking of the television as an alternate babysitter.
5. When asked, ‘what do I do now,” don’t immediately organize a new activity. Rather, tell your kids to figure it out.
6. Don’t have a selection of snacks always packed and available in your SUV or mini-van. You know your kid will be fine for a minute or two without “snack time.”
7. Occasionally leave your children home alone (that’s right, home ALONE – it’s movie, and it’s pretty darn funny).
8. Stop saying the world is so much more dangerous today than it was when you were a kid. You’re wise enough to recognize that our 24-hour, around-the-world-in-ten-seconds news cycle just makes it seem that way.
9. Hire a babysitter and feel a-okay about leaving little Johnny home while you enjoy a night out (and, make everyone else at the restaurant feel a-okay about not having to spend their date night with your screaming child).
10. Finally, if you do take your child with you to a restaurant, play by the rules. Set ground rules up front: The kid behaves. He (or, she) wears clean clothes and brushes his hair. He sits in a chair, not on the floor, under the table. He never throws food, sugar packets, or silverware, on the floor, at you, or at other diners. He engages in conversation (as in, don’t set his mini-DVD player on the table or allow him to stick his face in his DSi). And, when it’s time to leave, he will know to thank not only the server, but also you. ‘Cause you’re picking up the tab.