Parenting is undoubtedly one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Considering there’s no definitive right or wrong way to raise your children, parenting can certainly push even the toughest individuals to their limits – both mentally and physically. With this in mind, here are ten cool, useful, hacks provided by Busy Bees, nursery in Huntingdon to make parenting easier for both you and your kids.
1) Prepare for Travelling
Going on a family holiday requires precise planning and accurate timekeeping alongside months of preparation. Sometimes, the stress and unnatural routine caused by travelling can result in tantrums; these can be extremely uncomfortable for you and other passengers when travelling by train, coach or plane, for example. To combat this, try to tire your children out prior to setting off, for example – if you have an afternoon flight, keep your children active in the morning with plenty of sunlit, outdoor physical activity, or if your flight is early morning, ensure your children sleep early the day before to avoid a cranky, under-rested journey. Scheduling flights around nap times is a strategic way to keep their routine normal and promote sleep throughout the majority of your journey.
2) Keep School Lunches Interesting
Sandwiches might be a lunchbox staple, but it can be hard to keep them interesting. Try transforming boring bread slices and simple fillings into quirky shapes with biscuit cutters – this is a novel way to update your child’s favourite sandwich. These can also be used on fruits (e.g. watermelon slices) to keep healthy snacks fun.
It’s a common misconception that colours aren’t essential to your child’s development especially when it comes to their food. Incorporating different colours into meals can make food appear both more desirable and fresher. Fruit and vegetables are ideal, when mixed with pasta or into fresh salads; they can encourage your child’s desire to eat healthily. Another way you can experiment with colour is by setting themes, for example, if your child’s favourite colour is red, then some pasta in a tomato sauce mixed with pepper slices and red onion followed by a red berry fruit salad and strawberry yoghurt could work?
3) Install a Safety Spot on Your Car
A day out involving car travel can be extremely dangerous if busy car parks are involved. Remember – it only takes a few seconds for a tragedy to occur, so stopping your children from running around in these areas is crucial for their safety and your own peace of mind. Whilst you’re loading the car up or getting your youngest baby unbuckled, have your other children place their hands on a safety spot on your car, this way you’ll know exactly where your children are at all times. Parking Pal Magnet sell these alongside an illustrated book designed to promote safety.
4) Cover Sharp Edges and Corners with ‘Pool Noodles’
Let’s face it, all parents worry about how child-friendly their home is, and once you have children, furniture that seemed harmless before suddenly looks extremely hazardous. However, there’s no need to throw away tables with sharp edges because something as simple as a ‘pool noodle’ can make all the difference in a cost-effective manner. Depending on the child and height of the furniture this should only be required for approximately a year. It might not be pretty, but it definitely gets the job done. Pool noodles are also ideal for stopping children from slamming doors on their fingers.
5) Teach Money Management Skills Early On
Avoiding debt or financial uncertainty is something we’d all prefer to avoid, and it’s certainly something we never want our children to face. Effective money management is one of the most important life skills, and it’s up to parents to teach their kids how to handle their finances responsibly. To increase their understanding of money, introduce them to the concept of saving and money management early. Naturally, the level of detail will depend on the age of your child, and at ages 3-5, you can teach your child to identify coins. Setting up a pretend shop is also a fun way to demonstrate how money is used to purchase items. You could also separate money into a save, spend and share system, so if your child wants to purchase something, they can see if they’ve saved enough and if not, add it to a wish list.
6) Label Shoes with Stickers
Knowing which feet to put their shoes on is one of the first skills a toddler should master. To help encourage this, place sticker pieces in your child’s shoes to help them remember which way round to put them on. Using animals or face stickers will make it easier to figure out.
7) Make Dining Out Easier
Some parents worry that dining out can make their children restless and spur an unpleasant experience for your family and others around you. However, these situations are preventable with thorough planning and careful consideration.
To avoid frustration and potential tantrums, try to plan to have meals as early as possible; this way you can avoid peak restaurant hours, receive more attention from staff and decrease the risk of annoying large groups of people. Another tactic is to feed children before going out – most parents know that young children have a habit of not liking the majority of restaurant food.
8) Use an Egg Timer for Tidying
One of the main daily battles parents face is getting their children to clean up after themselves. To make tidying seem more interesting, turn it into a game by using an egg timer. Challenge your children to complete their tidying before the timer goes off – you could also offer a small reward or treat if they succeed.
9) Use Hot Glue for Non-Slippery Slippers
Hardwood flooring, tiles and even some carpets can be extremely dangerous for a hyperactive toddler on the move. To minimise the risk of injury, apply hot glue to the bottom of their indoor shoes or slippers for extra safety.