How to get kids to take turns. How to get kids to stop complaining. And how about getting a kid to decide on a Halloween costume! I’m covering all of these today in my list of favorite mom hacks.
And just to make sure this post is not misleading you into thinking that I have this mom thing figured out, I’ll admit that this week has really been testing me. We’ve had to reinstate the kindness chart AND the change jar for words like hate and stupid. More on that later in the post. I still struggle sometimes, but these things have truly helped me:
How to save money at McDonalds.
You can buy just the Happy Meal toy and not the entire meal! It’s true. For $1.69 you can have that much desired piece of plastic that will be on the floor of your car in 20 minutes. This a dad hack from Marcello who was tired of hearing our oldest say how much he wanted some emoji key chain. He walked in and asked if he could just buy the toy and they said yes!
Maybe this doesn’t shock you like it shocked me, but I cannot afford three Happy Meals that do not get eaten. Then I find myself reprimanding my children for not eating all their greasy dinner. This way they get their toy and they can just eat my fries. Yes.
How to make the fastest lunch possible.
When I read that there are mamas who make a whole loaf of PBJs at once and freeze them I about fell off my seat. You can just pull one out at a time and it thaws in no time. Yes, this is amazing. I started telling everyone I know. Moms at the park were like I don’t care. But I was like you need to know!
How to keep a baby and toys contained in the bath.
A laundry basket keeps toys within reach for baby so she doesn’t topple over. It also acts as a divider for multiple kids. Because no one wants to give three baths in a row. I call that efficiency.
How to get the kids to hang up their towels.
In my experience kids are a million times more likely to hang their towel on a hook rather than a bar. Pretty sure that’s an accurate statistic. Instead of taking down our towel bar, I got tricky and used shower hooks and small rubber bands (from the dollar store that I normally use in Clara’s hair).
How to calm a teething baby.
The frozen pacifier was Adriano’s favorite teething remedy. I kept two in the freezer to alternate, using this pacifier.
How to create a frozen pacifier:
Squeeze all the air out of the nipple.
Submerse it in water and release nipple to fill it with water.
Freeze it and give it to baby.
How to keep kids interested in the toys they already have.
I keep about half of the kids’ toys out of reach or on the garage. Every month and a half or so I change them and they are so excited, like they’ve found an old lost friend.
How to not listen to kid music every car ride.
Kids, we’ll listen to my stuff on the radio on the way there, and yours on the way back. Simple, but least half my car rides are peaceful now.
How to keep kids from going to bed too late.
Lately I’ve started taking advantage of the kids’ natural melatonin and letting the house get dark as the sun goes down. I just leave the lights off and they start to wind down on their own. This and limiting screen time has made a dramatic difference in their willingness to go to bed.
And when we get into a cycle of bad bedtime habits, I get out this sleep sticker chart.
How to organize kids’ clothes.
When Ashby told me about putting clothes away as outfits, I didn’t try it right away. My boys basically have green or blue shorts and T-shirts and that’s it. They’re all pretty interchangeable. But now that I have a girl with much more variety in clothes, this is working like a dream. It’s even dad-proof! Although I actually love to see what Marcello comes up with. Tights as pants are my favorite. Should have listened to you sooner, friend!
How to get kids to stop complaining.
When our family as whole is struggling with something like complaining, saying unkind words or yelling we get out the jar. Everyone is awarded a certain amount of change. Every time a family member complains, for example, he has to put in a coin. At the end of the week the kids get to keep the money they didn’t have to put in the jar and can go buy a prize.
Focus on one thing at a time, though. All three of these examples at once would be too hard! And having parents participate really makes this learning game stick. The kids love to call the parents out and are much more willing to play along if we are. Hey, we’ve gotta practice what we preach!
How to get kids to take turns.
I use the timer all. the. time. I don’t want to hear “His turn was longer.” I set the timer and they are more relaxed because they know it will be fair. “You get five minutes and then he gets five minutes.”
I set the timer for timeouts too, typically one minute per age. This prevents them from asking “Can I get out now?” the minute they step in the door to their room, and also sets a consistent standard in their mind when I give them a warning.
How to pack for the family in a flash.
I have a binder full of all my printable checklists. I use the packing lists and what to do when you leave the house list over and over. When we decided to evacuate before the hurricane we left within 25 minutes of that decision, and the reason that was possible was because I already had the checklists handy.
How to keep kids occupied on the go.
Another thing that I was able to just grab and go when we left were these activity binders. They’re great because the binder keeps everything in one organized spot. I already had them stocked and ready to grab, and the kids were able to play with them in the van and at the condo.
How to get your kid to decide on a Halloween costume.
You got your child’s favorite character Halloween costume. It was even on sale. Check! Feeling good. Until the day before the 31st that is, because now junior has decided he wants to be Captain America and he will no long wear the Hulk costume you bought.
Here’s my simple trick: hide the halloween costumes until the big day so they won’t change their mind last minute. It works like a charm. This year, instead of letting them play with the costumes (and loose some of the pieces), I put the boys’ new costumes in my closet and told them they’d have to wait until Halloween. I worked! They couldn’t wait to put them on and walk around the neighborhood!
Your turn. Tell me your favorite mom hacks or bits of advice to make life easier in the comments. I need to know!