Parenting life hacks can be a lifesaver. I don't mean things like covering the stair in cardboard boxes to create a slide, that's a set of playtime life hacks for another list. These life hacks are all about cohesion. If you can create a cohesive environment with open communication you are setting everyone in your household up for success.
A family is a unit and needs to operate as such. If everyone in your home is working towards the same goal, there is nothing that you can't achieve together. While sometimes it can seem impossible to accomplish it can become a routine if you set it in your mind to establish it as such. Kids will always follow the strong horse.
Contain The Smell, Maintain Your Sanity
One of the things that can quickly melt morale in your home is having to live with a terrible stench. Living with kids, smells are somewhat of an inevitability, but you can fight the good fight and push back. Keep diapers and dirty clothes in a sealed container, keep trash moving outside regularly, invest in some incense or an oil diffuser. If shoes and feet are your problem we have just the remedy! Our new bubblegum foot deodorizer spray and grape foot deodorizer spray will win the fight!
Utilize A Family Calendar
Younger children will need help setting important dates on the calendar, but they generally don't have much to attend aside from a dentist appointment every 6 months. Once the kids get older this parenting life hack will prove invaluable. Setting dates and times for school meetings or extracurriculars is a snap if it's been a routine since childhood. This is a simple step to take in preserving your sanity.
Work Ahead of Schedule
Something simple like packing a lunch can be a leisurely activity to perform at night. If you insist on waiting until the morning rush, you're going to have a bad time. The old adage of 'never put off until tomorrow what you can do today' might be a bit worn out, but that doesn't make it any less true! Lay out clothes, prepare the diaper bag. Always keep an eye out for tasks before things reach the zero hour.
Organize, Organize, Organize
As I've stated in a number of blog here, the importance of organization cannot be overstated. This is probably the biggest parenting life hack of them all. If your children know where things belong, they often won't hesitate to return them to that spot. Sometimes you'll need to prompt them on it a bit, but it sure beats the heck out of trying to clean everything up all by yourself while a child is making messes elsewhere.
Thrift shops have grown in popularity within the last decade. You can't find the same deals that were once available. I used to walk into a second-hand shop and snag a bin full of clothes for the family at under a dollar a piece... Unfortunately people eventually caught onto just how good a deal it actually is and started reselling. Prices have crept up but you can still save a few bucks, and considering how often kids outgrow things? You'll feel the savings flowing through you.
Money Management Lessons
The amount of global debt is constantly growing, but you don't need to train your children to be part of the problem. Giving an allowance is a great first step, but the next step is the lesson. Question why they buy things, encourage them to save for things. When you're out shopping explain to them why you're buying one thing instead of another. I know you don't like Fruity Rings, but they're half the price of Fruit Loops. If we buy this now we can buy the other nice thing later. Money management for kids is a life skill. Teaching them now will prevent a lot of heartache and handouts later.
Distraction Is Your Ally
Children have amazing minds that absorb everything around them, but with that degree of absorption there comes some degree of gullibility. It's a beautiful thing. Does your child hate medicine? Cut the bottom out of his favorite drink, stick a straw into some medicine, and watch them take the dose without flinching. My son had a horrible habit of unleashing his inner artist on our picket fence. Instead of hiding the markers, we simply distracted him by letting him paint with water.
Ask for Help if You Need It!
Trading favors with a neighbor is a great way to get a little break to recuperate. Don't have a neighbor that's willing to help out? Throw money at it! I've stimulated the local economy an endless number of times by hiring housekeepers and babysitters on a one-off basis depending exactly what I don't feel like dealing with. In recent years I've been asking for babysitting favors as presents. A single night out with my spouse can make me feel so refreshed and ready to get back to business.
Safety Proof Everything
Kids will get hurt. It's a fact of life. Your job is to make that difficult. That means covering electricity plugs, locking up the cabinets and fridge, securing shelves and making sure nothing will fall off onto your little one. My favorite tool to use when safety proofing is... Wait for it... Pool noodles! Cut them up and tape or glue them onto the edges of absolutely anything. Tables, cabinets, doors. They're cheap, easy, and convenient. Even if the aesthetic leaves something to be desired, it's a small price to pay.
Instilling good manners nice and early will prevent a lot of embarrassing moments during family outings. Table manners are important, but words of gratitude are the manners that should really take precedence. Words like please and thank you will impress strangers, but calling elders sir and ma'am will blow their minds. It might seem formal, but a small degree of respect goes a very long way.