Every Wednesday, it’s hint-sharing day over at Hint Mama’s Facebook page. I encourage readers to share a hint to help make parenting easier and or cheaper, or to ask a question if there’s a parenting topic they’re wondering about.
Now that this weekly tradition has been going on for a bit and quite a few parenting tips have been shared, I decided to gather some of the most helpful hints together in today’s hint. Here’s a quick look at a bunch of the clever tricks I discovered through hint-sharing day, and be sure to share your parenting hint or question.
Consider these clever and frugal snack holder alternatives. Cheap disposable coffee filters make great snack (think dry cereal) holders for kids, according to Hint Mama reader Leane Priest, who says the dishwasher at her daycare is filled to the max and doesn’t have room for traditional plastic snack cups. And if you’re not a coffee drinker, Samantha Ladd of Skinny Mommy Truths suggests using silicone cupcake holders instead (and muffin tins work great too).
Toothpicks (and toothpick-like utensils) can be great mealtime props for kids old enough to use them. Shari Wargo Stamps of Savvy Every Day shares this tip: “I’ve just discovered that cutting up food and using toothpick-like utensils for kids makes mealtime easier.” And I like this hint she shares too: Order a kids’ meal and share it with your kid, because kids’ meals can be cheaper and smaller versions of adult options (I’m a fan of doing the same with adult meals at restaurants).
YouTube is your friend. Another great tip from Leane Priest: “Almost every audio book you could ever want is on YouTube for free.” Meanwhile, I’ve also found nearly every exercise video I’d want to do is available to watch for free there too (we don’t have a DVD player anymore so YouTube is my go-to source for workouts). And it’s also a great solution for watching certain shows if you don’t have cable.
Don’t buy special bedwetting pads and mats made for kids. Hint Mama contributor Karen Witham says such pads typically are less durable and more expensive than those made for adults. Instead, she says, Google “medical bed pads” or similar terms, to find cheap, washable and long-lasting adult pads.
Keep a bag with extra kid clothes (including jackets and shoes) in your car. According to Erlene Amat of My Pinterventures, it’s always a good idea to have these extras in your car because you never know when you may need them. “I don’t know how many times we’ve gone out and someone needed a jacket or something happened to their clothes. My dd actually had her flip flops stolen at a water park before,” she says. I’m also a fan of keeping spare diaper changing essentials in the car.
Always give two choices. Tara Pittman of Mom Knows Best shares this tried-and-true parenting wisdom that is always worth mentioning again: “Give your child two choices to cut down on battles.” Ever since I first learned this trick, I’ve been trying to employ it with my toddler; for instance, she gets to “pick out” her clothes (i.e. she gets to choose between two options).
Habit and routine is key. This is another oldie, but goodie, that’s easy to forget. Sydney Andersen of Tastefully Frugal reminds us that getting kids on a routine is key because once they’re on a regular schedule, “they know what to expect and what’s expected of them everyday.” Whenever my 2-year-old daughter starts having lots of tantrums, more often than not, a few days without her normal routine may be too blame. Case in Point: When I asked her preschool teachers how they curtail tantrums at school, they too said having a consistent routine is key.
What do you think of these tips? What hints would you add to the list? Don’t forget to head on over to my Facebook page to share your parenting hint (links are welcome) or question.