Keeping up with kids is a gargantuan task. With sports practices, playdates and school events to track it can feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to keep you organized. You may not realize it, but you already have the best resource available to give you some help.
Your child is capable of handling a lot of their own responsibilities. Children thrive when they're given the tools to carve out some safe independence. These 10 life hacks will help your kids take care of themselves and develop new skills. It may seem like a stretch but try some of these tricks and your toddler could be making their own PB&J before you know it.
10 Smart Bracelet
Learning a phone number is a big deal. Most adults don't know more than one or two by heart. Being separated from a child is every guardian's worst nightmare. Having a parent's phone number on hand, literally, could mean the difference between a quick reunion or hours of stress. To make your child a fun safety accessory string together some charms that represent things your child loves along with beads that read your phone number. They'll love sporting their handmade gift and you'll have peace of mind.
9 Weekday Organizer
If your family spends mornings in chaos, this hack can rein it all in. A few minutes spent preparing for the week ahead can spell the difference between a peaceful morning or a mad dash. Help your little ones get themselves ready with confidence by laying out a week's worth of outfits on Sunday night.
Use a hanging organizer, plastic drawers or even hooks. Label each outfit so your child knows what to wear and when. Starting the morning off by getting themselves dressed will set your kiddo up with confidence the rest of the day and take a load off of your mind. Bonus points if they put their dirty clothes in the laundry!
8 Perfect Ply
Choosing the right amount of toilet paper is a huge skill. Parents have been fighting clogged toilets since the invention of indoor plumbing. If you're newly potty training or helping a big kid curb the habit of taking too much this hack could save you a lot of headaches. Place a marker on your wall to help kids unroll the right amount every time. You could keep it as simple as a post-it or get creative to fit your decor. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
7 Pack-Your-Own Lunch
If you struggle with half-eaten lunches and wasted food this hack may be perfect for your family. Help your kiddos pack the perfect lunch while giving them more choice and control at the same time. Organize pre-portioned or individually packaged items into baskets or bins by type. Instruct your child as to how many fruits, snacks, or other items they can choose. Giving them the freedom to choose from options you lay out lets them feel like they're in control. The kids will feel more excited to eat their lunch and you'll have less to organize before school.
6 A Safer Bed
Rolling out of bed is a common concern for many children. If you're worried about your precious little one falling out of their bed in the night, there's a quick fix that may keep them off the floor.
Simply place a pool noodle under their fitted sheet on the outer edge of their bed. This simple hack can keep your baby safe and help you sleep a little better too. You may need to trim the noodle depending on the length of your child's bed.
Littles are often excited to learn new self-care skills. They love to show us how grown up they are and how much they can do for themselves. Putting on shoes is a complicated skill. Forget tying them, first you have to get them on the correct feet. To help your little one remember which shoe goes on which foot simply cut a sticker in half. Place one half of the sticker in each shoe so they form a complete image when placed side by side. Your little one will be so proud to show you what a great job they did when they get it right on the first try.
4 Color-Coded Clock
Routines can be hard to master. Kids can become distracted or forget what's expected of them. Often a simple visual reminder can keep kids on track. Use an easy to read clock with a removable face. Simple stoplight colors will immediately tell your child if it's time to be awake or asleep.
You can make the clock more complex and let your kids know when to get dressed, when to prepare for meals and even when to do chores. When children know what's expected of them they'll be happy to make you proud and feel responsible for themselves.
3 Safety Spot
Parking lots can be stressful for families with small children. While everyone is distracted loading up groceries and getting in the car it's easy for a little one to run off before you're ready. Help your kids stay focused on where they're supposed to be by adding a safe spot to your car. Instruct everyone on why it's important to stick together in busy parking lots. Ask your kids to keep their hands on the spot until you tell them it's okay to move. You can add a spot for each child if you're worried they might fight over it. Choose a fun, colorful sticker or magnet that get's your kids' interest.
2 Kid Height Storage
Keeping kids neat and organized starts with giving them the tools to do it themselves. Everyday items like shoes, backpacks, and coats can add up to a lot of clutter if they aren't corralled. Remove any barriers to success or easy excuses and set your kids up with easy to reach storage for the most frequently used items.
Some coat hooks at kid height near the door make it easy to find jackets as your little ones run outside. A shoe-rack or basket on the floor makes rounding up all those missing sneakers a breeze. Have an established place where backpacks and school supplies can sit at the ready.
1 Safe Knife Skills
Food prep is an important skill set that will follow your kids for the rest of their lives. children as young as two or three can begin to prepare their own snacks. One of the most important skills to learn in the kitchen is how to safely use a knife. A small, blunt spreader with no sharp edges is the perfect starter knife for little hands. Let your kids experiment with cutting up soft cheeses and fruit or spreading things like peanut butter or hummus. They'll feel great making their own snacks and you'll feel safe letting them do it.