1. Keep a full change of clothes for each kid in the car at all times.
Have you ever gone to the beach and not intended to get wet? Or you’re at the park and your child falls into a puddle. Instead of listening to them scream all the way home, make sure you leave (and restock) a set of clothes in the car for each child.
Even after kids are out of diapers they still get messy. I change out the clothes every 6 months, if they haven’t been used. I put warm clothes in the cold months and short and a t-shirt in the hot months. We live right by a lake and close to the ocean so we spend a lot of summer at the beach, sometimes, completely unplanned. So I like to keep a swim suit for my son plus the full change of clothes.
With only having one kid I just put his clothes into the pocket on the back of the front passenger seat. When we have another child they will have a set in the other pocket. You could also just leave a small bag with the clothes in it as well.
2. When making wraps for little hands, use cream cheese on the edge to act as a glue.
Ever had wraps for dinner and your child’s wrap comes apart, spilling the contents and starting a giant meltdown?
Cream cheese is the answer. Put a little cream cheese onto the edge of the wrap before you finish wrapping it up. It works as a glue to hold it shut. Doesn’t matter how many times they put it down, it doesn’t open and spill everywhere, thus preventing a dinnertime meltdown.
3. Even when children are no longer in diapers always keep a pack of wet wipes in the car.
Wipes are a life saver, even as an adult. I’m sure everyone has gone through a scenario where they are in their car or out somewhere and there is nowhere to wash your hands.
Or you’re going out for dinner and then you realize you forgot to wash your kids face? No problem, you’ve got a pack of wipes in the car.
4. Want your child to clean up their toys?
15 min before bedtime ask your child “It is now bed time. Would you like to go to bed now or clean up your toys first?” And if they say go to bed then you get an extra 15 min to yourself.
My 3 year old always chooses cleaning up and some nights when it’s time to brush his teeth, and we haven’t asked him to clean up, he asks if he can go clean up first.
5. Reuse clothes that aren’t dirty.
There is no reason why you cannot reuse clothes that they have worn but have not dirtied. Some kids go through multiple outfits a day and the loads of laundry can load up quick.
So if it is not dirty and covered in food put it with the clean clothes, or on the dresser and they can wear it the next day.
6. Use scissors to cut up children’s food. It works amazing for pizza.
Cutting kids food up into small pieces can take up precious seconds when you’ve got a screaming hungry baby or toddler waiting to eat. Skip the fork and knife and just use some kitchen scissors. They can get washed off or tossed in the dishwasher after use.
7. Keep a couple toys that can stay in the car.
Getting kids into the car can be a real challenge sometimes. Get a toy that is small enough to not take up room but keep them occupied.
We have small monster trucks. They fit into the cup holder of my son’s car seat. He has taken it inside a couple times and then not brought it back out and for that we had some tears. But he is now happy to leave those toys in there so he always has something to play with. It also works well for keeping little hands busy while you’re trying to do up the seatbelts.
8. Expect random toddler eating habits. They will change constantly.
It is a well-known fact that toddlers go through different stages of eating habits. One week they could be eating everything you put in front of them and the next, they are screaming their head off for a peanut butter sandwich and refusing to eat anything else.
Just accept it and work with what you’ve got. Mealtimes will be very stressful for you and your child if you cannot accept that you need to work with your child rather than against them. It will not be like that forever.
Include at least one healthy food your child likes with your meals. If they choose to only eat that portion let it be and move on. Don’t make a big deal over them taking just one bite or finishing everything on their plate.
9. Put a hook on the back of high chair to hang bibs.
Constantly losing bibs? Use a peel and stick hook (dollar store) and stick it to the back of the high chair. When bibs are clean hang them there. They will always be right where you need them, and you can hang them there to dry.
10. Figuring out how to put shoes on the right feet.
Have an independent toddler that continuously puts shoes on the wrong feet? Find a big sticker (about size of a toonie) and cut it in half. Place the left side in the left shoe and the other side in the right shoe. When you look down it should make the picture.
11. Put tape over the speaker of noisy toys that don’t have a volume control.
Do you have some toys that make noise and either don’t have a volume switch or even the quiet isn’t quite enough? Put some tape over the speaker. It will still allow some sound out but it’s definitely quieter.
12. No sippy cup? Press and seal wrap with straw.
When you’re at someone’s house and your realize you forgot your child’s sippy cup. Ask If they have a cup, some press and seal plastic wrap, and a straw so you can make your own.
13. Potty on the Go.
Potty training can take a while. You can’t stay home forever. Just pack up the potty and put it in the trunk. When child needs to go you whip out the potty. Or sit them on it in the trunk.
If they need to poo sit a diaper or plastic bag in the bottom to catch everything and then toss it in a garbage can. If it’s pee, just dump it out and use a wet wipe (or a splash of water) to clean out the potty.
14. Pineapple juice and honey for cough
It can be so hard when our kids are sick. Not everyone wants to constantly fill their kids full of medicine, so how can you help them?
Turn to nature’s medicine. Pineapple juice has bromelain (a mixture of enzymes), which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is also thought to help break up and expel mucus.
Honey has various antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to the viscosity of honey it helps soothe the throat. Some studies have shown that honey before bed was successful in reducing nighttime coughing. Some say that it is just as efficient as over the counter cough medicine.
**Do not give honey to any child less than one year old due to the risk of infant botulism.
15. Use a crazy straw upside down so they cant pull it out.
Tired of kids constantly pulling the straws out of the cup and making a mess? If you’re using a crazy straw, turn it upside down and push it through from under the lid. The curly part stays inside the cup preventing the straw from coming all the way out.
16. The fold over shoulders on onesies are so you can pull it down the child when soiled
You know those folded shoulders on baby onsies? It’s not just because babies have big heads. It’s also to make it slightly cleaner when baby has a blow out and you have to remove the onsie without going up over baby’s head, covering them in poop in the process. Just pull the neck down over the shoulders and off down the legs.
17. Pull out the tabs on juice boxes for easier holding
Hate giving juice boxes to your kids because they squeeze it and make a huge mess? Lift up the sides of the box and let them use the flaps as handles. No squeeze, no mess.
18. Use a button up shirt for kids who undo their buckles while parents drive
Some children unbuckle their car seat buckles while the parents are driving. This can be incredibly dangerous in the event of an accident.
Get a larger sized button up shirt. Put shirt over child’s clothes but do not do up the buttons. Place child in car seat and do up the buckles.
Now do up the buttons over top of the buckles. Most young children do not know how to undo buttons, or at least if they do, hopefully it will take them long enough that you can get to where you’re going.
*Showing a video of what happens when a child is not properly restrained in their car seat may also help. A little fear is necessary sometimes in situations where there chances of serious injury.
19. Give your child choices
All children want some kind of control over their lives, starting in young toddlers. There will a lot less meltdowns and resistance if they felt they had some control. You can let them feel like they have control (while you still get what you want) when you give them choices.
Make sure you are 100% happy with them choosing either choice. You get what you want, they feel that they won, and there was no tantrum.
Do you want to put you boots on first or your coat? Do you want to go pee before or after you brush your teeth?
The more choices they get, the more in control they feel, the less resistance towards you in areas that they can’t control.
Earlychildhood News has a good explanation to the importance of choices
20. Use Receiving Blankets as Nose Wipe
During the cold season when little ones have a constantly runny nose it can get a bit red and raw from all the nose wipes. Use a receiving blanket, they are soft and can be thrown into the wash after.
When my son is sick, I grab one in the morning and throw it in the laundry that night. It works great for adults too. With the variety of patterns and colours, most moms tend to have, you can assign a certain one to each child.
Or cut the blankets into smaller pieces and put them in a basket. Kids can grab as they need and throw the dirty one into another basket.
21. Take time for yourself.
This is a bonus tip that most mom know but don’t follow through with know they should.
Take a time away from children, house work, outside of house work, and do something for yourself. Your children and family will thank you for it.
Go for a walk by yourself, read a book, take a bath (and lock the bathroom door), exercise, or meditate. What ever it is that helps you to feel relaxed and happy, and ready to tackle the chaos of living with children.
Need some ideas on how to help yourself destress? check out my post 11 ways a stressed out mom can relax and destress