My top 5 hacks, tips and products to make your life as a parent of wee ones a little bit easier…
No. 1: Peanut butter
Okay, not so good if you hate PB or have PB allergies in the house, but if not, then peanut butter (preferably without added sugars or unsustainable palm oil) can be a temper saver for rushed-off-your-feet parents. Grab a spoonful straight from the jar in the morning when you don’t have time for YOUR breakfast, and the low GI, cheap alternative to cereal bars and the like will keep you going for hours without crashing blood sugar.
No. 2: Cheeky Wipes/Reusable cloth wipes
Forget disposable wipes, these are the best thing going for cleaning mucky bums! In our house, we have had 2 sets, one for bums on the changing table and one for sticky hands and faces in the kitchen and at the dinner table.
They work better, cost less in the long run (count up how much you spend each year on wipes then think you could be using them for 2-3 years PER CHILD even without considering that even 6 year olds get sticky hands) and are way better for the environment – when you’re finally finished with them, either gift them on to another parent or send them (washed and dry) to your local charity shop marked as rags for recycling.
I’m a fan of Cheeky Wipes as they make using reusable wipes oh so easy with their kits and tubs, but you could save more money by going DIY – cut up 10cm squares of fleece or towelling can work and a large Tupperware-type tub will work to keep them in. Our dirty ones usually go in a nappy bucket anyway.
No.3: Toy tub
The idea is that this is a tub that is NOT the ‘proper’ home for any (or many) toys. You want space in it! Have one in the bedroom, one in the lounge (or wherever your kids play most) and if you have company coming round or you just want to be able to ignore the mess in the evening, whizz round and throw all loose toys into the tub.
The key with this is being strict with yourself. If the toys stay there for days, you’ll have no where to put the next lot! You have to put them away properly at some point. Any tub or basket will do, as long as it’s not too big and not too small. Handles do help though, both when filling it up and emptying later. I use small tubtrugs, which can be carried in one hand (if not too full).
No. 4: Dummy ‘clips’
If you’re using a dummy (pacifier to the Americans!) with your baby, then you’ll know the frustration of the frequently dropped dummy/pacifier. Especially if you’re out and about and babywearing. And the specially made clips can get expensive when you need one everywhere you go.
You can of course make your own dummy clips if you’re at all crafty, but why bother if you have a scarf? Any old grown up scarf with tassels or thin enough to knot a corner does the trick. Tie some tassels to the dummy, wrap the scarf around YOUR neck and go. Plus point is staying warm too!
Any stretchy headband also works on carseat straps – see photo – or baby carrier hood straps.
As tassels are not generally safe for babies to eat/tie round their fingers, only do this with supervision!
No. 5: Wear again tub
Once you get past the baby stage of going through multiple outfits a day, you’ll eventually get to the point where your kids can wear clothes again on another day. Especially true if you end up with a child who thinks wardrobe changes are required for every activity! To avoid washing not-really-dirty clothes, putting back not-quite-clean clothes or having them all round the room, give your kids a ‘wear again tub’ in their bedroom.
Any robust tub or basket will do. We use a small tubtrug again. It’s such a simple thing, but it can make such a difference!
So that’s my top 5! Do you have parenting hacks to share?
Thanks to all the mamas who shared their own tricks and helped me with these and this article!