You need nerves of steel to be a parent.
This was a line I read in a James Herriot book long back. And I realise how true it is when I see how much life changes once a little bub arrives. With parenting hacks for toddlers, you can care for them like you always wanted and stay sane at the same time!
Parenting has its moments of pure joy and beauty. But it can be trying as well, especially if you’re new, young and/or inexperienced. That’s why seasoned parents are more than willing to share their parenting hacks and experiences with new mums and dads in the hope that it will help them avoid the mistakes they themselves made.
Let’s look at a few parenting hacks for toddlers that will make every minute you spend with your little one enjoyable!
How Do You Hack into Parenting?
The views on parenting have changed in line with the shift in family dynamics and economic conditions. Single and working parents find it tougher because raising a family while earning a living for them is a balancing act.
Full disclosure here; parenting hacks for toddlers have to be modified according to your lifestyle and baby’s personality. They may be miniature copies of you or your partner/spouse, but you’ll see your tiny one having his or her own quirks and traits! Naturally, not all hacks you read about online or in a parenting book can be applied as-is.
It takes a village to raise a child. And that right there is your first parenting hack- finding a dependable support system who can stand in for you and mind your baby during emergencies. There’s absolutely no shame in reaching out for help, particularly when you have more than one child in the house. But in situations where you need to get creative, the next section will offer more parenting hacks to manage your rambunctious toddler!
14 Parenting Hacks for Toddlers in 2022
Start shows in the middle so that toddlers get bored and naturally lose interest in staying glued to the screen. Limiting screen time minimises the chances of your little bub becoming a TV or phone addict even before he or she starts school!
On The Move
Have a lot of places to walk to? Turn walking into a game by having your toddler push ‘you’ or pull a small object along. Alternatively, you can give them a toy or book to take care of during the trip to occupy them. Putting them in charge of a small toy (a teddy bear or stuffed animal) teaches them responsibility and distracts them from the exertion of walking.
Feeding time activity
Every parent has faced this; a picky toddler who actively turns their face away from the spoonfuls of food you’re trying to get them to eat. If feeding time has left you feeling weary and irritated, it's time to try some parenting hacks for toddlers! Here’s what you can do;
- Arrange boiled veggies and baked/steamed meats by colour and shape them into different sizes. You can use your hands or baking moulds to set the shape into anything that’ll spark their imagination. For example, you can fashion trees out of broccoli florets and carve sticks of carrots into twigs for a birds’ nest. It will require lots of patience and prep work to arrange the foods into a production that makes your toddler want to try it out.
- Tell them a story about the food and work in the “eating” part once they’re fully engrossed. Talk about a character in the story that has to open their mouth to express amazement or shock and then carefully feed them when they open their mouth to mimic you.
- If you don’t want your toddler discovering the treats and junk food, hide them in a bag of frozen veggies. That’s the last place they’ll think of looking (you little Tasmanian devil, you!)
Inflatable pools or camping beds
Create a safe play area using an inflatable pool or camping bed. It cordons off an area and confines your toddler’s movements to that space, making supervised playtime easier for you. Arrange a crib mobile and their favourite toys around the sides to provide cushioning.
Yes/ No Questions
Multiple options confuse young bubs, so learn to frame your questions into getting a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from them. It makes it easier for toddlers (and you) to know what’s in their mind.
If you want your toddler involved in several activities, know that you’re creating a scheduling nightmare for yourself, unless you give them controlled choices. For example, write activities in chits and scramble them before putting them into a Tupperware box. Have your toddler pick one chit out and follow through. You can also mark bowls in different colours by activity, duration and start time to help them stay organised.
BONUS- Parking garage
The boys are going to love this parenting hack for toddlers! Take a broken shoe rack, cardboard or stand and fit old toilet paper cylinders into them. You can take your toddler’s help to glue and stack the cylinders and use it to store their toy car collection. Say goodbye to stamping on a stray toy car.
14. BONUS- Fuss-free eating
Here are some parenting hacks for toddlers when it's snack time;
- Insert a cupcake liner into a popsicle or ice cream cone to catch the drips.
- Stick popsicle sticks into yoghurt cups and place them upside down to trick your toddler into healthy snacking.
- Reserve a drawer in your kitchen for measuring bowls and spoons to involve your kids in making their own meals. This hack works great with fussy eaters because they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve had a hand in making.
- Fire up their imagination with an enactment. You can play-pretend that the green invaders are advancing into the cheese territory. The only way to end them is to pour cheese sauce all over the army of greens and chomp on them. Be as creative as you like till they clear their plate!
- Reward toddlers who finish their food with an extra half hour of TV or playtime.
How can I be a positive parent?
The key to staying a positive parent is to take time out for yourself and to not be too hard on either yourself or your spouse when things get rough. Make it a point to spend time with your children every day. Show them that you’re involved with little gestures, such as remembering their favourite toy when going out, watching a show with them or tucking them into bed. Take an interest in some of the things that hold your toddler’s attention. It will give you cues as to what they’re more responsive to.
How can I make parenting fun?
Children are observant and learn from their surroundings and environment. If you want them to learn and remember your values, you have to demonstrate that you follow those values and routine too. Make parenting fun with learning activities that improve their cognitive and coordination skills. Invent stories during meal times, baths and bedtime. It will enrich their imagination and enable them to also communicate with you.