Do you feel like since you became a mom, your to-do list continues to grow longer, but the number of hours in the day becomes fewer every day? A quick search on Google or Pinterest will turn up hundreds of life hacks to help make your days a little simpler, but with littles running around, we need our own specialized selection of toddler mom hacks.
These are a few of my tried and true, very favorite toddler mom hacks.
Store bibs on the back of your high chair.
When it comes right down to the wire, and you’re trying to get a hangry baby or toddler ready for a meal, it seems like there is never a bib within reach. We stuck a simple Command hook on the back of our daughter’s high chair, and after the bibs come out of the laundry, they go right on the hook so they’re always handy.
Change up your bureau organization.
This is such a simple mom hack, but it completely changed how quickly we can choose outfits for our daughter in the morning. Instead of filling up drawers with stacks of clothes, I fold everything slightly smaller and stand it up so everything is visible. It helps so we can see all of the options at a quick glance, and we aren’t digging through every pile to find a favorite shirt or match a particular color.
Use frozen marshmallows for boo-boos.
Traditional ice packs are too harsh on bare skin, but it’s hard to convince a small child that they need to keep them wrapped up. Solution: a bag of frozen marshmallows. They stay soft and flexible, and they don’t get painfully cold so the bag can go straight on the boo-boo!
Baby powder for the beach.
While we have seen the last of the year’s beach days here in the Green Mountain state, this is worth keeping in mind for next summer, or any winter getaways to warmer climates! Your beach bag should always have a bottle of baby powder. Sprinkle a dusting of baby powder over wet, sandy hands, feet and legs (and baby buns) and the sand will just brush right off. I even use this one on myself to clean off my feet at the beach before I put sandals back on.
Minimize popsicle mess.
We might be switching out popsicles for hot cocoa as the temperatures drop, but this is another warm weather toddler mom hack that you should tuck in your memory bank. To prevent sticky fingers and falling chunks of popsicles, slip a muffin paper over the stick of the popsicle to catch the majority of the drips.
Cut up food in a flash.
As moms, we tend to spend a good deal of dinner time seeing to other people’s needs. If you want to save time in the kitchen so you can eat your own dinner while it’s hot, stop using a knife to cut your children’s food, and instead, reach for the kitchen scissors. I have a pair that’s just for food that we pop right in the dishwasher with our other utensils. A few quick snips with the scissors and everything will be in bite-size pieces. I even reach for the pizza cutter to quickly cut flat foods like pancakes or french toast into strips.
Keep an essentials basket in your car.
I hate to admit, but when my daughter was an infant, I was caught more than once out and about without enough diapers or wipes. (I even once left the house without a diaper bag entirely. Total rookie mistake.) Now I keep a basket in the back seat of my car with spare diapers, wipes, a change of clothing, and some snacks.
Keep tiny socks from disappearing.
If the washing machine eats full-sized, adult socks, imagine what it’ll do with teeny baby and toddler socks. I always keep a mesh delicates bag hooked on the side of my daughter’s laundry basket, and that’s where her socks go at the end of the day. Then I throw the whole bag (zipped up of course) into the wash, and they all make it safely through the laundry cycle. (Bonus tip: have your toddler match up the pairs of socks as a helping hand and a learning opportunity.)
Have a snack drawer.
Now that our daughter is old enough to get snacks for herself, we filled a bottom drawer in our kitchen with already portioned-out snacks that she can grab. It is filled with non-messy and easy to eat snacks like goldfish, raisins, and Pirate Booty. I have decided she has a hollow leg since she can get down from the breakfast table (after eating a full meal) and ask for a snack ten minutes later. If I am in the middle of something, it’s a great help to be able to tell her, “Go choose something from the snack drawer.” She likes having some control over her choices too.
Layer up on the bed sheets.
This is easily my all-time favorite toddler mom hack on this list, and if you aren’t already using this hack, please start tonight. I would be satisfied if this is the only hack you take away from the entire list. Since our daughter, Reagan, spent her first night sleeping in her crib, we have layered multiple sheets and mattress pads on her bed. Start with a waterproof mattress pad, then a fitted sheet, a second mattress pad, and a final fitted sheet on top. When the inevitable blow out, leaky diaper, or midnight stomach bug hits, you don’t have to rummage around half asleep for fresh sheets to put on the bed. Just strip off the top set and you have fresh, clean sheets ready to go. (Just make sure once you’re awake the next morning, you replace the spare layer!)
Here are a few other hacks from some awesome moms on the Burlington Mom Blog team:
Kathleen – Use a fitted sheet at the beach for a clean place to lie down. Put heavy items like your beach bag or cooler in the four corners to prop them up, and keep sand out of your lunch.
Meredith – Put a glass of water in the fridge. It makes moms drink more water, and little ones aren’t tempted by our cool water bottle! Baking trays (or even better, a big restaurant jelly roll pan) are great to contain sensory and water play, or anything small.
Halie – I assume you don’t just mean how I hide my chocolate and ice cream?! I use acrylic containers in the fridge with snacks the kids can grab quickly. I also freeze yogurt tubes to use as ice packs in lunches. It helps keep the lunch cool and has defrosted enough to eat by lunchtime.
Sarah – I make PB & J sandwiches in advance and freeze them to use in school lunches.
Obviously, none of us have it all together all the time. (And if you say you do, I don’t think I believe you…) But using a few of these toddler mom hacks can at least help me feel like I do occasionally! Do you already use any of these mom hacks? Are there any great gems that I should add to my toddler mom hack repertoire?