Parenting hacks... this is how we roll... sometimes
Shoes, clothes, toys and dirty plates. Some days the most mundane objects have the capacity to drive me crazy. And I know it’s not just me. Adulting is hard enough, even without adding three little people to keep alive into the mix. After six months now as parents of three, a baby, toddler, and pre-schooler there are a few little parenting hacks and sanity savers we’ve added to our arsenal.
Parenting hacks to try:
Let kids be kids.
It sounds like a no brainer. But some days it’s good to be reminded. Particularly when I haven’t slept and my to do list feels like it’s a million miles long. The sounds of the boys’ games getting louder and rowdier can have me rushing in and trying to modify to something calmer. But really, is it for their benefit or mine? Children learn social skills through trial and error. Their sensory systems such as balance need challenging input. Asking them to sit still and play nice is hardly enriching. And really by interfering, all I’m doing is passing my frustration on to them. So as long as its safe enough and in an appropriate setting, I’ve learnt to let it go and let kids be kids.
Let them know what’s coming
While I’m all for letting the kids have free unstructured play opportunities. Sometimes you do have to be somewhere at a certain time. I have found the easiest and least stressful way to get somewhere on time is to let the kids know what is coming. If they are in the middle of a fun game and we need to go, I make sure I give a 5 min then 2 min warning before I ask them to get in the car. Usually this allows them time to wind it up and there is less wrangling of children into car seats. I also know that currently PJ likes to buckle himself up. So, I really need to add a couple of minutes to this routine so that he can do that. Because at the end of the day I want to encourage not discourage his independence.
Speaking of independence, PJ (3) has this in spades. So I like to keep fruit in the bowl so that he is able to help himself when he is hungry. I’ve also taught him to climb up and fill his water bottle and put his shoes on himself. All handy acts of independence for a toddler when you have a baby in the house and can get stuck sitting down feeding for long periods of time.
Encourage the good and let go of the bad:
While we are on this train of thought, another big one which I’ve spoken about before is the benefits of acknowledging behaviours that we like. If you have spotted your little one doing something helpful like carrying their plate to the kitchen, be sure to acknowledge it. Kids love to get feedback from parents and it's much better to give attention and energy to behaviours we like rather than highlighting those we don’t. Check out our blog on descriptive praise for more tips on this.
Open ended creative experiences:
Open-ended activities and invitations to play can keep your little ones busy, foster independence, problem solving and social skills. So what do they look like? Sand pits, car play mats, dress up boxes and even plain cardboard boxes can all create an invitation to play. Put them out, have chats or read books about interesting topics and if needed give them little hints on how to get started… eg that cardboard box reminds me of a cave…. Watch their imaginations go wild.
And finally a super practical parenting hack …
You know those mornings you are dreading where you have to do an early drop off, make lunch, get kids dressed etc. When you know you have a day like that coming up make it a little easier on yourself the night before. Pack the bag before bed, prepare what you can of the lunchbox, and my personal favourite for very early starts… dress your child in daycare clothes for bed. That way it’s a quick nappy change and they are already ready. This one is the real parenting hack 😊
So let us know what your parenting hacks are and we can all help make each other's lives easier.