Sometimes I see someone doing something and I think, why didn’t I think of that?!? It’s usually something really simple, a tiny change to the daily routine to make life a little easier. So, today, I’m going to share 9 of my favorite Mom Hacks!
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1) Toy rotation
Did you ever notice that kids play better when they have less items in front of them?
We have a lot of great toys. Toys that inspire imagination, toys that teach, puzzles, educational games, and craft supplies.
However, if my kids had access to it all, they would be completely overwhelmed… and they wouldn’t be able to find what they wanted.
To remedy the issue, I remove some of the toys from “rotation.”
I place the “extra toys” in fabric bins in the upper parts of my children’s closets as well as in an organization cube shelf in our basement. Plastic totes can work for this purpose as well.
At first, I didn’t like the thought of taking some of my kid’s toys away and putting them in inaccessible places, but then I realized…my kids play better and focus more when they have less in front of them.
When they get bored or when someone starts to get whiny, I can grab a tote or just a few items from a tote and suddenly, it’s Christmas!
2) Set up an “Invitation to Play.”
If I have a lot of work to do, it is hard to accomplish anything when a toddler is under foot!
To avoid working around a “helper” I set out several toys that will grab attention and keep them busy.
Sometimes all it takes is lining up a few favorite toys, setting out some favorite books next to a cozy chair, “staging” the pretend kitchen, setting out a box of items of interest.
My son loves it when I set up a farm scene or a race track. Moms and Dads, you know your children best and what is irresistible to them!
3) Take 10
To stay at an optimal “non-chaotic” level, we take 10 minutes throughout the day to straighten up.
Usually our first 10 minute clean up is mid-morning or before lunch. Then we do another one before or after supper. Sometimes we add a third one if it is needed.
I give the kids a warning that we will be cleaning up in 2 minutes, and then we race to see if we can clean up before 10 minutes is over.
Also, during the bedtime routine, I lay out the kids’ clothing for the next day, set out a bowl/spoon/cup for breakfast, and pack the lunch boxes with items that don’t need refrigeration. Taking just 10 minutes can really help the household run a lot smoother!
4) Don’t just ask….give a challenge!
I regularly challenge my daughter to beat a timer while getting dressed in the morning, showering at night, or cleaning up a mess. We say, “let’s see if you can do _______in under 5 minutes.
Other times, we have laid down a challenge with a reward.
This past summer, we set the goal for our 9 year old to read 1,000 pages during her summer vacation. When she met her goal, she was rewarded with a celebratory supper at the restaurant of her choice.
5) Involve your kids in chores!
I throw all my 9 year old’s clean clothing into a basket and she can sort it out and put it away.
My 3 and 4 year olds can put away their own clothing (with a little supervision). All of my kids (ages 2-9) love to help peel an onion, snap green beans, shuck corn, peel garlic, open bullion cubes, stir, sweep the floor, or set the table.
I admit sometimes the job would get done faster if I did it myself, but there is value in teaching them: it keeps them out of trouble and they are on their way to learning valuable life skills!
6) Help your children learn to save
We started paying my daughter to do little jobs around the house when she was 5. I told her “I will give you a coin if you pick up that game your brother got out.” Or, “We will give you 2 coins if you sweep the kitchen floor.”
We don’t pay for every job. We’ve taught them that sometimes we just need to help the family, but other times, I will pay her.
I remind her that kids who complain do not get paid and neither do kids that don’t do a good job. It only takes one shoddy sweeping job that does not earn full payment for them to remember and do a spectacular job the next time!
When she was young, I had a box with prizes in it and I called it “My Store.” It had little items that I picked up on clearance or at the dollar store. She was able to choose something small right away, or save up for something bigger.
Once she got the hang of that and learned to count money, she was ready to save up for something really big. Saving is a great lesson to learn as a kid!
7) Duplo Lego hack
My kids LOVE to play with Lego Duplo Blocks. They will play for long periods of time, but the clean-up has always been horrendous.
One day, I finally had had enough. The task was taking way too long and I knew there had to be a better way to do it.
I literally googled “How to clean up Duplos easily.” I found the perfect solution.
Lay down a huge blanket and have the kids play on top of the blanket with the blocks. When it is clean-up time, simply gather the ends of the blanket to bring all the blocks together, and dump them back in the bin.
This easy “Duplo clean-up hack” has saved my household LOTS of time!
8) Change Table Hack
Most babies go through a stage where it is difficult to keep them still for a diaper change. My solution has been to keep a variety of interesting toys set aside especially for diaper changes.
I like to place several items in a basket (with the diapers) on top of our changing table including toy phones, anything with buttons/lights/sound, rattles, toys with moving parts, etc.
The key is that it should be fairly easy for them to manipulate without flinging it into the diaper region. Also, it should be washable…just in case! If you keep that toy set aside especially for diaper changes, it will work it’s magic time and time again. Thus making diaper changes much easier!
9) Setting distinct boundaries
Every house can benefit from some house rules. One of our rules is that our kids have to stay out of the kitchen while we are cooking. All we have to say is “out of the kitchen” and they all know not to cross a line on the floor (where the tile hits the carpet) or they will have a time-out.
Teaching our youngest was the hardest. Each time she would cross the line, we would take her to the other end of the house. We would repeat, “out of the kitchen.” She was 1 when we first taught her. It took a while, but eventually she learned the boundary.
Cooking is so much easier (and safer) without kids under foot.
In addition, we also have rules about certain toys staying in certain areas. For example, we require night time stuffed animals to stay in the child’s room. That way they can easily be found at bedtime.
Placing a few boundaries and house rules in place helps keep our home running more smoothly.
I hope a few of these mom hacks will help make your day a little easier! If you have any mom hacks you’d like to share, feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear from you!
Check out other parenting articles:
Dealing with Tantrums
50 Screen Free Activities for Kids (Amazing FUN Ideas!)