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  • Personal Parent Hacks Part 3

    My previous parent hacks are here and here.

    • If your children’s artwork is starting to take over your house because you can’t bear to toss them, consider scanning them. You’ll then have a digital version of the art without needing to set aside an entire room to house the masterpieces. We keep our favorites and give the rest to the grandparents and great-grandparents.
    • The next step up from the last hack is to create an image that combines several “lesser” pieces to make them more interesting. 🙂
    • If (like me) you don’t like using permanent marker on your child’s cups and containers (I have to label everything that Alex takes to daycare), use a small piece of painter’s masking tape as a label. It will peel off easily and is very inexpensive. A $1 roll lasted for over a year and a half. (The masking tape is also great for labeling containers you put in the fridge or freezer.)

    More Parent Hacks

    Adding to my personal list of parent hacks:

    • I got this one from an issue of Parents Magazine a few months ago: Instead of those flimsy vinyl mats they sell at Babies R Us, use a heavy duty office chair mat as highchair mat. It can be pricy, but buy the biggest one you can find (mine was about $60 at Staples). It’s much easier to clean and doesn’t keep flipping up.
    • The dishwasher is easiest for cleaning and sterilizing pumping equipment. But sometimes it can’t quite get into the deep recesses of breast pump parts, like inside the valve – but a bottle nipple brush can!
    • If you are trying to get some computer time while holding your baby and he still cries, try substituting your chair for a fitness ball. It’s not all that easy to bounce and type one-handed, but it’s possible and at least baby won’t be screaming in your ear.

    Tip for Entertaining the Kids

    Parent Hacks offers this great tip for occupying the kids for a while: Dump out the entire toy box and let your kids rediscover some forgotten toys.

    We do this all the time. I buy large boxes of diapers, and we save the empty boxes and store a majority of the toys in them. We leave out only our oldest son’s current favorites, but he sometimes goes to the boxes and asked to go through them. This system keeps our house looking somewhat neat, makes it a lot easier to clean up, and provides easy entertainment.

    Some Potty Training Tips

    We’re really earning our potty training stripes right now, so I have a couple more tips:

    • Those expensive potty wipes for kids are worth considering. I used to think the companies were trying to brain wash parents into spending more money, and they definitely aren’t necessary if money is tight. And if I had a daughter, I’d probably use regular toilet paper on her after she peed. But after a poop, the wipes make cleaning a little easier and I worry less about possibly hurting my child. And anything that makes the experience a little easier is worth it to me.
    • Take those bathroom rugs out. Especially if you have a boy, but probably even if you have a girl. Before we removed ours, the rugs in both bathrooms got peed on. And there was a close call with a bit of residual poop that fortunately landed on the linoleum instead of the rug. I figure I’ll be able to have rugs in my bathrooms again in, oh, three or four years.
    • It is not easy putting a diaper on a child while he’s standing up. We didn’t think we were quite ready for pull ups, so we didn’t use them. But then we had a couple of leaky diapers due to faulty fastening, all because of the difficulty in putting a diaper on a standing child. So our new strategy is to use pull ups if we’re out of the house, so that it’s a little easier to use the potty. But we still use regular diapers at home.

    Keeping Your Child Safe in a Parking Lot

    Parent Hacks offers two ways to keep your child safe in a parking lot while putting groceries away: (1) play “assume the position,” i.e., have your child stand with his hands on the car and legs spread as if he were about to be searched; or (2) strap your child into his car seat before putting the groceries in the car.

    Personally, I prefer to keep Alex in the shopping cart while I put the groceries away, but maybe that doesn’t work as well with an older child. I also tend to carry Alex in parking lots if we’re not using a shopping cart. As to parking lots in general, I have a friend whose two-year-old tended to take off until she was so vehement about the necessity of holding hands that it’s the one place where he knows it’s absolutely non-negotiable and never puts up a fight.

    What do you do?