There are so many moments where parenting is frustrating and downright exhausting.
Parenting is also funny and ridiculous too.
Often parents come up with the best parenting hacks out of necessity (or desperation) and are super creative ideas.
The following are some great examples of ways to entertain bored kids on bad weather days (or yet another day off from school), to get picky toddlers to eat or to keep your kiddos safe when running errands.
When my kiddos were little, I had three under the age of 5. If I wanted to go anywhere with all of them, I had to make sure the older two knew how to stay nearby during an outing to somewhere like Target.
My trick was to push the baby in her stroller or the cart and when the kids starting wandering a bit too far, I would say “all hands on deck” and they knew to walk quickly to the cart or stroller. They also knew there was a consequence if they didn’t do it immediately. I made it a game and a contest to see who the first child was to touch the stroller or cart. For my own entertainment I once yelled it out at Target when they were teenagers and they laughed at themselves when they ran for my shopping cart.
To make parenting more fun and less stressful, work with your natural interest and personality type. If it’s fun for you, it will be more fun for your kids. For example, some parents like to dance around with their children while cleaning the house so that the kids are more engaged. My own mother always blasted her favorite records when we cleaned the house (can you tell my age?).
Hilary Frank is an author and podcaster who asked parents their favorite hacks and two really great ones stood out. The first parent had a child refusing to eat because the mom put veggies mixed into the foods. So the mom got out the fancy dishes and lit candles/lowered the lights. The child was so excited and the low lighting hid the details of the meal. Winner winner chicken dinner!
A second hack that really stood out was a child who only ate takeout (What’s the odds it was a toddler??) so the dad loaded up on take out containers and served his child their homemade meals in takeout containers.
Winter weather blues
Sometimes it only takes a few minutes of planning and set up to keep kids entertained for hours on end. A good one that I used with my kids and often see on sites like Pinterest is masking tape activities. Use masking tape to make roads, hopscotch or any number of other designs on the floors. We used the lines of tape for roads, balance beams and relay races.
Head over to Pinterest and search “masking tape activities” to see dozens of ideas.
- Separate toys into three large bins with a variety in each large bin. Put away 2 of the bins and rotate through them every second or third week so the toys always feel new and the children don’t get bored of their toys. Make sure to keep out their very favorites all of the time.
- Assign one color to each child. This will be their color for their dishware, silverware, cups (you know the plastic stuff) and the same goes for their blankets, bins for shoes, etc. This helps parents know who isn’t cleaning up their stuff and eliminates some of the fighting over whom it belongs too. Name sticker or labels work great for this too.
- If you need help getting all of those small toys and plastic pieces cleaned due to germs and flu season, consider setting up a cleaning station for the kids. Set them up on the porch or even in the tub. Use one small bin for soapy water, one small bin for clean rinsing water and a sponge or washcloth. Let the kids get into their bathing suits and clean away.
Positive thoughts for the tougher days
When all else fails and you are simply trying to get through the day, I suggest using a mantra to repeat to yourself. When one child is sick, your spouse is traveling, and the kids have a science fair project , they didn’t tell you about, due the next day sometimes even playfulness and a sense of humor fail us.
My mom taught me a mantra that never failed me when my kids were small and I find myself using it now that they are all teens and adults. “This too shall pass.”
Here are a few mantras to try out:
One day at a time or even one moment at a time.
I will do what I can.
I’m the best parent for my child.
I am worthy of my children’s love.
Done is good enough.
I’m still growing/learning.
Tomorrow is a new day.
What is your favorite parenting mantra or parenting hack? Share it in the comments section below.