Hello parents or caregivers to a toddler! Let me guess, you are losing your mind in more ways than one right?
It’s a safe to say that you are probably enamored with the thought of making your life easier at this point. Trying to be a positive ray of light to a running, screaming, climbing tiny person can be quite exhausting! The rollercoaster of parenthood is real - and so are the grey hairs your toddler gave you.
I feel your pain! I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do have few tips to I’ve learned along the way. I hope these hacks will make your day run a little more smoothly and make your toddler a little less scary :-)
1. Secure your kitchen
I don’t know how they do it, but toddlers definitely know where we keep the good stuff.
My son loves to open up the fridge and take out whatever he wants. He also does this with my pantry, kitchen drawers, and cabinets. I’m sure many of you are experiencing the same, and it can be dangerous if your toddler gets their hands on the wrong thing! Make sure you toddler-proof your cabinets and drawers with a reliable baby-proofing system. And if your toddler loves the fridge like mine, invest in a refrigerator lock so they can’t open it alone.
2. Create multiple changing areas
Many toddlers are still in diapers and potty training - unless your toddler is a super genius, then congrats to you! If you have a larger home or more than one floor, consider creating multiple changing areas to make bum changes more convenient. Many people keep the changing area in the baby’s room, but as your baby turns into a toddler you find that having more than one changing station is necessary! Personally, I keep extra diapers and wipes in almost every room, upstairs and downstairs. I also have two diaper genies, one upstairs in my son’s room, and one in the downstairs bathroom. Toddler accidents happen anywhere, anytime so think about what rooms your toddler spends the most time in and create a little changing station there.
3. Always have backup snacks
We parents always try to be ready for anything when it comes to taking the kids out on the road. There are times when you think you’re completely prepared, but are you prepared for a random toddler meltdown? No, you aren’t at all. We all know that a tasty snack can completely cure a tantrum, temporarily distract a little one, or simply just buy you some much needed “me” time. But what happens if you run out though?
The key is to NEVER FIND OUT! Overpack that diaper bag. Keep extra snacks everywhere - the car, your purse, your pocket, basically anywhere you can. Don’t be caught without access to a snack, juice box or whatever treat calms them down. You may think this is rookie information, but just remember, mom brain is real and just because you think you packed something, doesn’t mean it’s true!
5. Involve the kids in daily tasks.
A great thing about toddler is they actually LOVE to help you do things. Remember when you were a kid and you thought helping your mom with the dishes was fun? Take advantage before reality sets in and your kid realizes it is a chore.
Whether it’s emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dog, sweeping the floor, or cleaning the window, they love it. Now I know that a toddler’s “help” is not always helpful (sometimes they actually makes things worse), but it keeps them occupied and helps them learn. For me, letting my son do small tasks has made him excited to help and has given him confidence in doing other things. So, while letting your toddler in on some of these tasks may seem daunting and might end in GIANT mess, it is totally worth it. Plus with time, they will get better at their chores and actually help you out.
6. Toy rotation!
This hack is the real winner. It’s easy to feel like you are drowning in toys, but maybe you aren’t ready to get rid some of them yet. To keep your toddler interested and make your life easier, consider doing a toy rotation. Take some of the toys away and store them in a place your kids won’t find them. Your toddler will eventually forget about them and play with what is there. Then every week or so, you just switch them out - and the toy is brand new to them again! You can also do this with books too. Saves your sanity and your money!
7. A little screen time won’t hurt
Screentime is a hot topic in parenting, and not every parent agrees with letting their child use a tablet or smartphone, or watch TV for hours. I know not everyone agrees with this, but I have found that 1-2 hours of screen time can be very helpful. For me, I will let my son watch cartoons or play a game on his tablet while I make dinner or take a shower. And I can’t even lie, those moments when he is having a major tantrum and I know his favorite cartoon or game will calm him down, I take advantage of it. However, I don’t allow more than one hour of screen time in one sitting and it must be educational, not recreational.
While there are tons of great parenting hacks out there, these are the hacks that have been the most useful for me. If there are any extra tips that you would love to share here on the Picky Eater blog, I encourage you to leave them in the comments for all to read!
Good luck toddler parents!