As a busy parent, there are many shortcuts you can take on a daily basis, such as plopping the kids down in front of the TV while you do other chores. But you know those shortcuts aren’t necessarily the best options for your child. Here are seven parenting hacks that won’t make you feel guilty!
- Create a mess-free “artist hour.” All small kids love to play with paper and paint, but the resulting mess can be awful. To help with clean up time, put your tot in a dry bathtub with only a diaper on. Let him or her play with paper and paints and when he or she is done, set the papers aside to dry. Remove your tot’s diaper and begin his or her bath!
- Freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Buy a loaf of bread and use the whole thing to create PBJs at once. Put each PBJ in a freezer bag and then put all of the PBJs back in the original bread wrapper. Put the whole lot into the freezer, where they are ready to pull out as needed for packing your child’s lunch. The sandwiches will thaw by lunch time.
- Skip the pajamas. Put small kids to bed with their next day clothes on—at the very least with their next day shirt on. You’ll save precious moments getting dressed in the morning as well as save money and time on laundry.
- Save time with bed wetting. If your child tends to have night time accidents, put two sets of sheets on their bed along with a waterproof mattress pad. Simply put on the first mattress pad and one set of sheets. Then put on the other mattress pad and the second set of sheets. If there is an accident during the night just take off the wet set so you won’t have to deal with remaking the bed during early morning hours.
- Keep emergency meals handy. Make sure your cabinet is stocked with easy meals like spaghetti and sauce, mac ‘n cheese or frozen pizzas. Frozen dinners are an option, too. Simply adding some canned or frozen vegetables, or a simple salad, to these dinners increases their nutrition content while keeping your dinner prep and clean up time to a minimum.
- Get the most out of every trip. Run errands “on the way” to somewhere else. Group your stops so you can take care of as many things as possible in one trip. Streamline visits to places such as the doctor or dentist or beautician. Schedule all your kids’ appointments back to back—and even yours–so you minimize driving time.
- Plan for snow days. Often getting kids ready to play in the snow can take longer than the actual time they stay outside. If snow days are frequent where you live, it pays to invest in a good snowsuit, which you can find at thrift stores or discount stores for a reasonable price. Buy it one size larger than needed so it lasts longer. Put together a bin for each child, including their snow suit, hat, gloves, and boots and keep it handy during winter months. Children will now where everything is and can help get themselves dressed.
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What are some of your favorite guilt free parenting hacks?