Two kids is so much fun, but so much harder than just one! Over the years, I’ve come up with some good parenting hacks to make life easier and less stressful. Our kids are at different age groups which can also present new challenges—like, keeping your toddler out of trouble while you breastfeed your newborn.
And, beyond that, we all know that parenting goes far beyond keeping your kids safe and entertained. I’ve learned that stains should be expected and messes happen literally everywhere, so here are a few of my best parenting hacks to keep you sane, your kids happier and your house liveable!
12 Extremely Clever Parenting Hacks
I learned this amazing hack this summer! If your kids love pasta and tomato sauce like mine do, then you’ll want to remember this one. If they get sauce on their clothes, simply lay them out in the sun, stain side up for a day. The stain will disappear! If you do see any remaining marks, spray with stain remover and wash like normal!
Change the Subject to Avoid Meltdowns
All too often our mornings start with, “mommy, can I watch Stinky & Dirty?” When I say, “not today”, or “not right now” a meltdown ensues. But, if I answer and then change the subject to something fun, like “do you want to go for a scooter ride after breakfast?” or”do you want to help me make pancakes?” he’s quickly forgotten about his show and his meltdown.
I always want to explain things to him, but most times this is easier and FAR more effective, because explaining why we can’t watch 4 episodes of a show every morning just doesn’t make sense to a 3 year old.
Toddler Maze While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding while entertaining a toddler is hard and exhausting. Make it. a game! Before you sit down, pull some cushions or blankets out and make a obstacle course of sorts for your toddler to do—”jump from one pillow to the blanket, don’t touch the hot lava carpet!” Thats sorta thing! Just makes sure it’s safe enough that you won’t have to come rescue them when they topple off something high!
10 Minute Tidy Up
My favorite mom hack for keeping your house somewhat organized and pulled together. Whenever kids go to sleep or down for a nap, set a timer for 10 minutes and clean up as much as you can. It might not be everything, but it keeps things more manageable for sure.
You can also do it with your kids by making it a race! Which brings me to my next hack.
Make Cleaning Up a Game
Why do kids seem to hate cleaning up?! Whenever I turn on a song, or make it a game, Owen seems to forget he’s cleaning and does it easily. I also use cleaning up as a transition to the next thing. Like, “we can go outside and play AFTER you’ve cleaned up”, or “we can have a snack, but first we need to pick up your toys!” Works like a charm!
Cardboard Boxes as Toys
We get a lot of packages, but instead of just tossing the boxes into the recycling bin, I usually keep them around for at least a few days. They are great, free entertainment—especially big ones that can double as forts or cars. They’re also great for painting on, or parking toy cars in from our experience. Eventually they fall apart or rip, and that’s when I take them out.
Stay on a Schedule
Kids LOVE routine and knowing what to expect. It doesn’t have to be rigid, but if we do the same general routine for mornings and nights, everyone is happier!
A visual calendar works great for kids who struggle with transition, this helps them get used to it and they can understand it in a way that makes sense to them.
Meal Plan on Sundays
Dinner time is easily one of the most stressful parts of the day, but if I have a plan and have shopped in advance, the whole week is easier. I use a wipeable calendar to write our meals for the week, here’s a similar one, so I stay organized and everyone knows what’s on the menu! If you need some ideas, check this post for a week of healthy meals, and sign up for my newsletter for more.
Door Knob Cover to Keep Toddlers in Their Room
Our biggest fear with moving Owen to a big boy bed was that he would come out of his room and into ours in the middle of the night or nap time. Thankfully, he hasn’t, but my PT told me to put a door knob cover on the inside knob so that he couldn’t get out. Sounds harsh, but it teaches them to stay in their room!
Use a Toddler Tower to Include Kids in Meal Time
This helps me avoid that awful witching hour when Owen is tired, but wants me to play with him. I have him pull his tower into the kitchen and I have these fun kid-safe knives for him to help chop veggies. It’s also a great way to get them to try new veggies—he always wants to taste everything he chops!
Use Thieves Spray to Get Crayon Off Countertops
Not too long ago, Owen was coloring on our marble table and I looked over to see that most of the crayon was not on the paper. I scrubbed with a sponge and got no results, then sprayed a little Thieves spray and wiped with a paper towel and it came right off.
Pack Dog Poop Bags in Your Diaper Bag
This is genius for babies who all too often have blowouts or spit up and soak their outfit. You don’t want to toss the outfit if you’re out, but putting it back into your bag without a bag? Gross. This solves the problem and is cheap!
What genius parenting hacks do you have? Please share in the comments!