Since raising a toddler can be overwhelming at times, it’s important to take time to step back and enjoy the experience. It is also essential to build fun into parenting; without it, the harder times can take a toll on your psyche.
It’s also essential for your young child’s development. Without having the happy times to fall back on, parents are less likely to be present during the time they spend with their children. This has been shown to have a negative effect on child emotional development.
Never fear! As a parent myself, I have a few tips and ideas I use to keep the spark in parenting. Most of these make the day-to-day life events of child-rearing more enjoyable. Some of them are to make your life easier - some are just fun to do - some are both. Keeping the mundane special will help keep you in the right frame of mind to truly enjoy the extraordinary moments that come by less frequently.
Some of these I’ve gotten from friends and family; some are from internet friends. If you have any other tips and tricks, please leave them in the comments section.
1. Arm Your Children Vs. Versus Nighttime Monsters
This idea from Kara at the HappyGoLuckyBlog was a big help when our oldest was having trouble falling asleep. When your child is afraid of the monsters in the dark, there's only so much a parent can do, right? I mean, there's no monster spray available you can give your child.
Oh yes there is! Take an old spray bottle, slap some monster stickers on it, write Monster Spray on the side (or get stickers if you are ambitious like Kara) and you have just given your child a tool in the war on nighttime sleep problems. The way we used it was to spray the room - ESPECIALLY under the bed - after the brushing-of-the-teeth and p.j. rituals were completed.
Since I'm not the most crafty of mom's, I'll spare you a picture of my design. Kara's is much nicer. However, my utilitarian spray worked well enough to get my kid (and my husband and I) sleeping through the night again after only two nights.
2. Avoid Popsicle Drip With A Cupcake Dress
If I think back to my childhood, eating a popsicle on a warm summer day is a real good memory. I'm sure there's some people out there that would disagree, but I general I think most of us have positive memories of popsciles.
Our parents...eh...probably not.
Because as a parent, you are the janitor of your home. While popsicles are fun, they can also be messy as they drip all over your youngsters hand. Once the mess hits the hand, it's going everywhere else, which can ruin what should be the joy of watching your child enjoy the summer day.
That's why I love this fun parenting idea so much. It's simple and effective. My mom told me about this, but I think it's been around for awhile. I found this picture on Pinterest. You simply take a cupcake wrapper and poke a hole through the middle with the popsicle stick. When your kid is done eating, throw the whole thing out.
It won't help with the inevitable dropped frozen treat, but hey - that's part of the fun of childhood too. Go get them another one - they won't be young forever!
3. Say Goodbye To Painful Eyes At Bathtime With A Baby Shower Cap
When I first heard of this idea, all I could think of was "who in their right mind would try strapping a shower cap onto a baby?" And if it were a normal, older adult cap, that would be insane.
But it's not.
Also good for summer sprinkler fun.
As you can see in the picture, these caps are more like sunvisors that form a water-tight seal to keep water and soap out of your precious toddler's eyes. They are inexpensive and can spare your child the pain of soapy eye syndrome. If you've ever gotten soap in your child's eye, you know that their pain is your pain as well.
You can find these shower caps at Amazon or other retail stores. I think it's worth it to give up coffee for a day or two to make sure bath time is the bonding experience it should be, rather than something both you and your child dread.
4. Avoid A Crisis: Keep Children For Locking Themselves In Their Bedroom With A Rubber Band
If you have locks on your bathroom or children's bedroom door, there will be a day where your toddler starts playing with it. Eventually, he or she will accidentally lock themselves in. Depending on the type of door handles you have, this will lead to a minor inconvenience all the way up to full-blown crisis.
There is a readily available solution. The first time I saw this, I felt like Homer Simpson. DOAH!
It's really simple - how hadn't I thought of this before. One simply puts each end of a rubber band around the door handle, and twists them a bit to add more tension over the door latch. Kudos to my friend Nate for letting me know about it. You'll need to try different size rubber bands to get the right fit for your particular door. Our new house had pretty strong door springs so we needed to add tape under the rubber band to give it a little more oomph. You can see it in the following picture.
5. Make the Tooth Fairy Even More Magical Than It Already Is
The Tooth Fairy is one of the blessings of childhood. I mean, all you need to do is breathe, grow enough to kick out a tooth, and the money comes rolling on in
This next hack will make turn the whole experience "up to 11" in Spinal Tap style:
(See Mike, I could work in a Spinal Tap reference. Buurrrrn!) Anywhooo...
You'll need some glue, some glitter, or some glitter glue. My guess is supplies won't be a problem if you have a daughter.
Take a dollar bill (or a five - I'm not judging), and make a tooth pattern on the currency with the glue. Sprinkle the glitter over the top, let draw, shake off . Voila, depending on your artistic skills you'll end up with something like the following picture:
Additionally, your kids will also think the tooth fairy is even awesomer.
6. Defeat Funky Kid-Shoe-Smell Once And For All
As your child begins to walk and eventually haul around outside with shoes, you'll discover an unpleasant fact:
Kids shoes can really stink.
Most kids shoes don't breathe very well, and kids love to play outdoors. when they shoes get wet, your lil' bundle of joy starts churning out more foot bacteria which thrives on that moist environment. That generally leave you with two problems - wet shoes, and stinky shoes.
This next bit of advice takes care of both issues. Take a kid sock, fill it up 3/4 with rice (uncooked), 1/8 with salt, and 1/8 with baking soda. Don't worry how precise you are with the amounts. The rice and salt help with moisture, and the baking soda helps with the smell.
By the way, this works just as well with your own athletic footwear.
7. Ketchup & Mustard UNDER The Hotdog (Also Read This Book)
Simple, easy, no mess - if you put the condiment UNDER the hotdog on the bun, you've lowered your Ketchup-To-Pants disaster chance by over 50%. (It's science, dangit).
I got this one out of a book given to me by a good friend. And now, I'm ordering you to read it.
"Honey," you are thinking,"when do I have time to read a book?"
I hear ya. But this book will save you time and aggravation. If you've read this far, you will absolutely love the time saving/anger-reducing tips Asha has shared. Available on Kindle or paperback, it's really a great value.
I hope you thought these were helpful. Please leave any other tips and tricks you can think of in the comments. I can't wait to hear about them!