Living with a toddler is a lot of fun, except when it isn’t. It’s OK. You can agree for just a minute and not feel guilty. We’re all parents and caregivers here. The day-to-day is beautiful but chaotic, fun but insane, worth all the spills just for the cuddles and laughs. Getting used to the pace of a toddler is definitely an adjustment. You don’t have to go it alone. What’s really great about being a parent in this day and age is that all the other parents are sharing just how crazy ridiculous is it and how they’ve managed to survive toddlerhood. This brings us to hacks. You want them. You need them. Here’s a roundup of what you can do to make living with toddlers a little easier:
Straws in Foil-Topped Applesauce
The biggest news in baby and toddler food is the advent of the squeezable pouch. This makes taking applesauce and mushy fruit and veggie purees on the road a cinch. What happens if you forget to stock up on these gems at the store? Pull out the old-school containers of applesauce with foil on the top and punch a straw through. Ta da! Applesauce in a container that can keep sticky hands at bay.
Toothpaste for Removing Crayon
So you’ve got an artist in your house, which is totally awesome. What happens when that totally awesome artist makes his or her art in totally not awesome places? If your little tot has hit your walls with their expert crayon or marker drawings, there is a solution out there for you – and the great news is that you should already have it on hand. Toothpaste, while amazing for your teeth, is also great at removing crayon and marker from your drywall.
Let’s face it: Sometimes getting that kid to calm down is like trying to keep your skirt from flaring up in torrential wind. You just might lose that battle. Instead of losing your cool right alongside your toddler, try a calming bottle. There are a couple models out there, one with glitter and one with rice, though the sky’s the limit in dreaming up something that will calm and distract your little person. Take an old water bottle, clean it out and then fill it with rice, beads and small trinkets. When your tot throws a tantrum, ask them to help you find all the green beads in the bottle.
Hot Glue on Slippers
Slippers and socks usually have little grips on the bottom to help your little one stay on his or her feet. Occasionally, though, there are times when that isn’t the case. Instead of putting those cute little slippers to the side, modify them. A hot glue gun can help you make your own little grips at home. Pipe your tot’s name or a fun design onto the bottom of slippery house shoes, let it dry and see the difference.
Mealtime can be exasperating. There’s food flying, half of it’s in your toddler’s lap, half of it’s on you and her clothes are starting to stain in front of your eyes. The solution? Use a baggy T-shirt for mealtime. There’s no sense in swapping out the whole outfit, and as great as those bibs can be, the bigger your kid gets, the less they seem to make the cut. By grabbing an old T-shirt, you can live through the mess, remove it after the meal and throw it in the wash for the next go-round.
Shoe Organizer for Car
The dollar store is a great place to pick up a few items to make traveling with a tot a bit easier. One of the best buys is a shoe organizer, which you can place on the back of the seat in front of your little guy or gal. A shoe organizer is a great place to store toys, snacks and drinks for the road, and it’s within easy reach, so you don’t have to worry about reaching around at every stoplight.
Reusable Shopping Bags for Car Excess
It can be difficult to keep your car spotless with that cute little munchkin in the backseat. If you’ve got more than one kiddie in the car? Forget about it. However, this hack may just make life a little easier. Keep some reusable shopping bags in your car. At the end of a road trip, no matter how long or short, have your kiddos help you sort out what should be in the car and what shouldn’t. Anything that shouldn’t be there goes in the shopping bags for a quick sort once in the house.
Pool Noodle Doorstop
Tots seem to have a love for doors, which is great and yet, not so great. Smashed fingers are no fun for anyone, so avoid that with this clever hack: pool noodles in the house. Yep, pool noodles aren’t for the pool anymore. Cut a piece of one about 6 inches in length, slice lengthwise like a hotdog and place it on the top of the interior doors in your house. It acts like a doorstop, but instead of keeping the door from smashing your wall – also important – it keeps your kid’s little fingers safe and unharmed.
Lint Roller for Crumbs, Glitter and Sprinkles
With a toddler, crumbs, glitter, sprinkles, Cheerios and every other tiny speck from Hades can invade even the most private of places. This is when a lint roller comes in handy. Keep a small one on your person at all times to deal with your own sparkly messes, and then store one in your car for a quick brush-up after a ride. Use it on the car seat and areas surrounding to stick those crumby particles in their place.
Reuse Creamer Bottles for Snacks
For those of us who don’t wake up before that first cup of java, this hack is for you. The bottles that house your delicious creamer are worth keeping. They’re perfect for taking toddler cereal and snacks on the go. Fill that bottle with Cheerios, flip the lid up for dispensing and back down to make sure they aren’t anywhere but in a tiny mouth. Even better is that the coffee creamer bottle fits in cup holders. Living with a toddler doesn’t have to mean you’re always living in hurricane-infested waters. Use these hacks to ease the day-to-day into a fun-filled excursion full of joy – for everyone.