Below are 8 simple tricks, tips and shortcuts (also sometimes known as “life hacks”) that can help make your life as a parent more productive, efficient and easier, and can help save time, money or stress.
#1 Handwriting Help: Have your child spend time on the monkey bars to build strength and dexterity in his or her hands. Your child may not realize that this fun play relates to homework, but you may see your child’s handwriting begin to improve.
#2 On-the-go Activities: Carry a versatile game or toy in your purse or diaper bag as a distraction for children of all ages. For example, pipe cleaners are inexpensive and easily transportable, and can be molded into colorful jewelry, people or animals to keep your child quietly entertained while waiting in a doctor’s office, sitting in a carpool line, riding in a grocery cart or during road trips.
#3 Meal Prep: Try using a pizza cutter to quickly cut a meal into bite-size pieces. It’s much faster than using a fork and knife, and saves even more time when preparing plates for several little ones.
#4 Bedroom Door Alarm: Concerned about a child who tiptoes out of the bedroom after you’ve put him or her to bed at night? Make an alarm out of toys you already own. For example, hang a tambourine on the outside door knob after you say goodnight. If your child tries to open the door, you’ll hear the tambourine and be able to respond quickly each time, reinforcing to your child the need to stay in bed and get a good night’s rest.
#5 Bib Stash: To keep bibs easily accessible during meal time, store clean bibs on the back of the highchair. Attach a hook to the back of the highchair, to use for hanging the bibs so that they stay out of sight.
#6 Tame the Toys: To avoid stepping on forgotten blocks or figurines during the night, spread a flat bedsheet on the floor before your child begins playing with small toys. After playtime, lift the sheet and pour the toys back into their storage container.
#7 Cold and Flu Sanitary Kit: During cold and flu season, keep tissues from piling up when your child gets sick. Try using a rubber band to attach an empty tissue box to a full one, to easily dispose of used tissues in a sanitary manner. Then, place a small bottle of hand sanitizer under the rubber band so that it can be quickly reached to disinfect hands.
#8 “Artwork” Removal: If your budding artist tends to color outside of the lines (and maybe onto your walls and furniture), try these tips for cleaning some typical artistic endeavors:
- Stickers: Use a hairdryer to remove stickers from furniture, walls and windows. The heat from the dryer will soften the glue and make the stickers easier to peel off.
- Permanent Marker: A dab of white toothpaste can remove permanent marker “art” from walls and wood furniture. Just spread it onto the marks, wait a few minutes, and then rub off with a damp cloth. Be sure to use basic, inexpensive, white toothpaste and not colored or gel toothpaste. To remove permanent marker “art” from clothes, try using hand sanitizer
- Crayons: WD-40 can remove crayon marks from almost any surface. Spray it onto the crayon marks and then rub off with a damp cloth.