Toddlers are amazing little people, and being around them can be amazing. However, with all the excitement, all the funny moments and all the joy that your toddler gives you, they are also tiring to be around. Here are 55 easy ways that you can make living with a toddler a little bit easier:
When you wake your child up, give him or her time to adjust. Trying to rush your child right after they’ve woken up usually has the opposite effect to the one you want.
Organise your child’s clothing for the week on a Sunday night and you won’t have to worry about what to let him or her wear every morning. When it’s an in between season, and the weather is unpredictable, simply add a jacket or sweater that you can use if the weather is unpleasant.
Make sure your own morning routine is finished before you wake your child. You can even try dressing him or her before your child is fully awake to save more time.
Pre-pack your child’s dry snacks into portion sized bags and keep them somewhere that you can easily grab them on your way out the door.
You can make up snacks and meals the night before too and keep them in the fridge. If you’re worried about leaving them behind, leave your keys on top of them so you can’t forget.
Do grocery shopping in your weekday lunch hour to avoid the weekend rush and keep groceries in your office fridge until you leave for the day. You can also keep a cooler bag or box in your car to keep supplies fresh while you drive.
Consider shopping online as much as possible. Just like online banking, it saves a lot of time and you avoid the problems of trying to run errands with a toddler around.
Keep a supply of toys in the car that you alternate often. They’re great when you’re out and about and can really keep your child happy while you are busy.
Order your child’s meal as soon as you arrive at restaurants. Toddlers don’t like waiting so ordering when you order your own meal can be detrimental to a night out.
Take your child along to a deli or take away eatery and plan your trip for just before nap time. Order something for them and a meal for yourself. By the time their snack is finished, and you’ve driven to a scenic spot to enjoy your own meal, your child should be happily sleeping – giving you a few minutes of peace and quiet.
Keep frozen meals and snacks in your freezer – whether you buy them or make them yourself. They’re a great time saver when you’re tired!
Invest in a slow cooker. You can prepare your meal in the morning and when you come home at night it’s ready to go on the table.
When you cook, make double the quantity you need. Then freeze the rest. You’ll always have quick, easy and nutritious meals on hand.
Another great idea is to spend some time chopping up fruit and vegetables, cooking meat and chicken, and packaging it for the fridge. If you have a few days supply in the fridge, you’ll never need convenience foods.
Opt for supermarkets that stay open later, and go after your child is asleep. As long as your partner is home to keep an eye on them, you’ll be able to avoid crowds, and the hassle of shopping with a toddler!
Plan your child’s movie and television watching to coincide with your cooking. Children’s television watching should be limited to a few hours a day, and if those hours are the same time you’re cooking, you’ll both be happy.
Invest in a recipe book of one pot dinners. You’ll be amazed at the quick, easy and nutritious meals you can whip up in one pot or pan.
Plan your weekly meals before you shop, so you never have to wonder what to make – as a bonus, you’ll also save on groceries!
To make taking out the rubbish easier, put more than one clean bag in the bin at a time. That way, when you remove one, you don’t have to remember to put another one in.
Consider time saving cleaning options like disposable dusting cloths and wipes. They’re more expensive, but they cut a lot of time off cleaning.
Keep a supply of washing baskets on hand for tidying up. It’s easy to sort toys, clothes, and other items into them, and they’re easy to hide in a cupboard when you’re rushed.
Use the time you spend when warming your child’s bottles or meals to pack or unload the dishwasher, wipe the counters or tidy up the kitchen.
When packing the dishwasher, using tricks like washing cutlery with the head down can make unpacking a lot quicker.
Another good organising tip is to invest in containers for everything. If there are hooks, bins, baskets and other receptacles for everything, then you’ll never lose anything.
Put your contact information, including doctors, schools, work numbers and any other important information, on the fridge. It’s easy to find that way. Add any other information, like your child’s favourite foods, nap times and so on. That way, if you have a new babysitter, everything is in one place.
A blackboard or whiteboard is an invaluable planning tool in any home. Use it to write down tasks that need to be done and then everyone will know what’s happening, and when.
Use files to organise accounts and other payments, and label each one according to the month. File everything from receipts to utility bills and keep your cheque book in the front.
Use your child’s nap time to tidy the house. That way, you won’t have such a mountain of tasks to accomplish when bedtime rolls around.
Set your internet banking account up with as many of your accounts as you can. It really saves time and money and you can do all your payments in an hour without leaving your home.
Spend the time when your child is waking up in the morning, but still in his or her crib, tidying up his or her room. You can talk or sing together and it’s quicker and easier than after your child wakes up.
Once your child is old enough to sit up in the bath unaided, you can also spend a few minutes during bath time tidying the bathroom. You’re still on hand for safety’s sake, but you’re also getting something done.
Wait until after your children are asleep before making lunches, cleaning the kitchen or doing washing. It’s much easier than trying to do it while they’re awake.
If your child is still eating in a high chair, that also gives you a perfect opportunity to do things in the kitchen while he or she eats.
Keep toys in bins in each room of the house. That way, when you need to do something there, there’s something to keep your child occupied.
Buy clothes that don’t need ironing and do washing as and when you can – rather than all on one day of the week.
An old pillowcase or lingerie washing bag is a great way to keep socks, or even small children’s clothes, together when you do washing.
Fold and sort your clothes into separate baskets – one for grown ups and one for kids. You could also use separate washing baskets to make it even easier.
Get your kids involved in household chores. Even toddlers can help with things like watering plants or sorting socks.
Train your child to take their plate, spoon, cup and other utensils to the kitchen and either put them in the sink or dishwasher after every meal. Even young children can do this.
Allow your child to help out when you’re cooking by finding and passing you ingredients. It’s not only fun but educational too.
Designate a shoe drawer or cupboard in your home. Teach your child to put any shoes that are lying around the house in the drawer and you’ll never search for shoes again.
Teach your children to tidy up after themselves. Even toddlers can put their own toys back in the toy box and if your child does this twice a day, there will never be a mess!
Divide cleaning and chores into half an hour chunks, and do one thing every day. That way, you won’t spend your weekends cleaning the house!
If you have two or more children of similar ages, bath them together – it’s more fun, saves water and saves time!
Make sure that your child has a strict nap and sleep schedule.
Plaiting your daughter’s hair right after washing it will prevent any tangles from forming overnight.
If your child doesn’t like the sensation of water on his or her face when washing hair, then a plastic sun visor is the perfect tool – it gives you access to your child’s hair, and keeps the water out of his or her face.
Keep a well stocked basket of all your child’s bath requirements in the bathroom. Fill it once a week with nappies, shampoo, soap, bubble bath and all your other bath time requirements and you’ll never run out of anything.
Give yourself a break. Dinner might not be on time, or it might occasionally be take-ways. It’s more important to give your child attention than it is to have all your ironing up to date!
Understand that everyone knows that no one who has a toddler will have a perfect house.
Always, always make time to be with your child. It’s better to be a better parent than a perfect homemaker, and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel after playing with your child.