We love tips and hacks to help parents manage that not always fun job of parenting. And now there’s a mom-and-dad run company so committed to it, they’re creating products that bring to life those age-old parental tricks with modern design.
The Doin’ Time Family Clock is the one of the three products from N+B that seems most useful to me. It provides magnetic tabs to help kids not only learn time the old-fashioned analog way, but to show them just when they should be doing what to get out of the house or to bed on time.
I know I’ve tried many variations on this theme and still find myself yelling (ahem…I mean, gently reminding) about unused toothbrushes and forgotten lunch bags, so I can see where this might be one way to get certain kids to feel empowered enough to get the job done.
Not that you couldn’t just put sticky tabs around your existing clock, or list out a morning/night routine on a chalkboard, but I imagine the novelty of this product and the game-like design would appeal to kids for whom all else has failed.
Plus the clock itself is attractive, so I could see using it long after the kids have lost all the tabs because they’ve decided they would somehow bring new life to their dollhouse or LEGO creations. Sigh.
I do find the other N+B Toys products fascinating, but I’ll admit I am not sure I’d spend the money on them. Posi-Tokens are like the for-sale version of Kristen’s own brilliant Marble Jar reward system hack that so many of you have written in to thank us for. But perhaps targeted to those parents who feel a jar of actual marbles wouldn’t go as well with the Noguchi coffee table.
Then there’s the The Meal Wheel, which I actually love in concept. Spin the wheel to encourage conversation and politeness at the dinner table when the arrow lands on prompts like, share your day, give a compliment, or take a bite.
I guess I could see it as a novelty for dinner at the grandparents’ house; or maybe it’s perfect for preschoolers. But then I have questions, like why is take a bite on there at all, if the goal is to encourage conversation? If you have kids who need to spin a wheel to be reminded to take a bite, then maybe telling jokes and sharing stories is just another distraction? And in that sense, maybe some families would benefit from two different wheels — one for table talk and one for picky eaters.
The truth is, in our family we do just fine with the old-fashioned version of the Meal Wheel: we go around the table and take turns sharing stories from our day. In between bites. Or hey, there’s always Table Topics which really does generate conversation in dozens of fun ways. So maybe the Meal Wheel just requires a little more thought to be truly useful, because the premise is terrific.
In any case, I love the design of the products overall, and I think the parents of three behind the company clearly understand real needs of other parents. (Especially with that smart Doin’ Time Clock.) I’m rooting for their success; I’m just hoping their future products get even more inventive, solving problems we don’t already address fairly well with a little ingenuity, and maybe a few marbles.