Life Hacks – Tips and Tricks for Parenting Toddlers

There are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha!” moments where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems, often using items immediately at your disposal. Each month this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life that will make your day-to-day as simple as possible. This month we’ll go over some hacks that will help all of our parents.

If you have an independent toddler, then you know sometimes they insist on using an adult cup even if they don’t have the whole concept mastered. You can turn any cup into a kid-friendly cup by covering the top with Press n’ Seal wrap and punching a straw through the top. Voila, a homemade sippy cup!

As the weather warms up, we are all eager to get outside and soak up those sun rays we’ve been missing all winter. Don’t forget to make sure to keep yourself safe from pesky bug bites and, even more importantly, your little one. If you’re still in the pre-walking stage, set up your playpen outside and stretch a fitted sheet across the top. This prevents insects from getting in and still allows your little one room to move and play while enjoying the fresh air.

Bedtime can be tricky once your little one’s imagination starts to grow. Scary dreams and bumps and creaks in the night start meaning much less sleep for the both of you. Try taking an empty Febreeze bottle or other spray bottle and rinse it thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Fill with clean water and a combination of calming essential oils like lavender and chamomile. Decorate the outside of the bottle with monster stickers or scrapbook accessories. Mark the bottle with nice large letters reading Monster-Be-Gone, or something similar, and spray away all those scary boogers.

Toddler furniture can get quite expensive, and it has such a short life. If you’re not ready to upgrade your child to a full-size bed, but they need to move to the next step, try repurposing. Flip a large coffee table, preferably with decorative wooden legs, upside down. Depending on your preference, you can keep the legs and have the poster bed look, perfect for little princesses, or saw them off and sand them down.

When it’s time to learn how to dress themselves, toddlers are eager to be independent. They can also be pretty stubborn, and you may find your little man or lady in mismatched clothes and shoes on the wrong feet. The clothes can be a little more complicated, but here’s a tip for the shoes. Take a large sticker with easily discernible sides. Cut it in half and put each side on the inside of your child’s shoes near the arches. When the shoes are on the correct feet, the sticker is made whole again. Go over the new process with your child and let them go to work.

As we’ve established, toddlers regularly become more stubborn the more mobile they become. The bathroom is yet another area where little ones who think they know it all can wreak havoc. To prevent toilet paper messes, try applying a mark on the bathroom wall using painter’s tape or construction paper and mark where you want them to stop pulling so they know where to tear.