10 Parent Hacks For Toddlers

10 parent hacks to make life with a toddler as easy and stress-free as possible.

We are now well into the toddler stage and let me tell you… it has not been an easy ride! As I’ve been adjusting to having a growing (and teething) toddler in the house, I have gathered a ton of tips and tricks that I cannot wait to share with you.  Although they aren’t magic fixes (avoiding toddler craziness is nearly impossible), they will hopefully make day to day life a little less stressful.

On that note, one of the biggest stressors for me was Sage’s eating journey, which is why I created Baby HealthNut Cookbook. It is packed with 30+ recipes that are delicious and nutritious (and toddler approved!).  These recipes can help you navigate feeding your little ones and introducing them to the world of flavourful food that they will grow to absolutely love.

1. Use a mesh laundry bag

These mesh laundry bags are great for washing your toddler’s little items of clothing. I use them for items like socks, bibs and anything small that you know can get lost in the laundry machine. I also use them for some of my own things. If you have bras and swimsuits with strings on them that you don’t want to get caught up in the machine, a laundry bag is your friend! 

2. Use mega blocks for bathtime!

Although this might seem obvious, I have been using Lego mega blocks during Sage’s bathtime! This is such a good strategy because rather than buying extra toys, you can simply use pieces you have hanging around. They are easy to dry and won’t get mouldy (I am very careful about any bathtime toys). Any toys that are squeezable and don’t air dry easily I steer away from – no need to create extra work for us busy mamas. The mega blocks are both fun and functional – they also work as fantastic water scoopers and are both fun and functional. Definitely a hit with Sage!  

3. Use an electric toothbrush as a distraction tool

So, yes if you have been around for a while, you would know I am navigating life with a teething toddler. For her adorable little teeth, Sage has a baby toothbrush. But, something I recently discovered was the power of an electronic toothbrush…not for brushing teeth though! This pro tip has changed our lives – diaper changes that previously felt like a wrestling match or an opportunity for Sage to show off her gymnastics skills have finally been tamed by this magical tool. I only bring it out when diaper changes happen to keep the anticipation and excitement around the toothbrush alive but it has been a fantastic form of distraction. 

4. Use a drawer organiser for clothing when travelling

I shared this hack last year when we were travelling with baby Sage, but even though she is now a toddler, it still applies (travelling or not!).These drawer dividers (I think they’re intended for socks) are amazing for storing your little one’s outfits. Toddler clothes are so small so everything can get  messy really quickly. I have found that they have made finding clothes and coordinating outfits for Sage has become so much easier with these dividers. Now, when we do laundry we’ll roll up her outfits, making sure to keep any matching sets together, and slotting them into  into one of the compartments. That way they  stay together tidy and ready for any occasion. I think even when we’re not travelling I’ll continue to use this hack!

5. Let your toddler help

You’re probably well aware by now that toddlers like to be involved in everything. Instead of trying to entertain them while you get stuff done, let them join in with what you’re doing. Whether it’s laundry, cooking or making the bed, get them involved. Yes, it will mean things will probably take a little longer, but they’ll enjoy being with you and it’s the starting steps of teaching them those life skills. At this age they enjoy mimicking you, so even if you’re just giving them their own pile of laundry or their own bowl and spatula to play around with, they’ll love it!

6. Give your toddler toys to play with in their highchair

Rather than taking them straight out of the highchair once mealtime is finished, try leaving your toddler  in there for a while and occupy them with some toys. When we do this, Sage is usually able  to entertain herself for an extra 20-30 minutes. That’s a lot of time for us to get things done, knowing she’s content  and distracted . 

7. Pre-wash stained clothes with dish soap

This is a tip passed down from Mama HealthNut (the original HealthNut!). When Sage was a baby I would use this hack for poopy diaper blowouts, but now that Sage is enjoying foods that are prone to staining, aka all colours of the rainbow with some of her favourite fruits being warm gooey blueberries as well as strawberries, dish soap is a way to remove stains without harsh chemicals.Just be sure to pre-wash straight away rather than letting the stain set or you might be out of luck – act fast.

8. Change your toddler in a different room to their bedroom

Sage officially knows what bedtime means, so when it would come time for diaper changes in her bedroom, we would be confronted with an unhappy toddler, resisting the process. What I learned is that by changing Sage in the living room, or just in a room separate from where she sleeps, she is less likely to associate change time with bedtime. We’ve been keeping a basket of diapers and wipes in the living room which also makes life easier because it’s where we are usually hanging out during the day anyways! 

9. Have some child-safe cupboards

I love to cook, so I’m in the kitchen a lot. When you’ve got a toddler they’re like a second shadow constantly following you around. To make sure I can still get my cooking done even with Sage in the kitchen, I’ve created a ‘toddler safe’ cupboard. She can pull everything out and play with it. Things like tupperware are great – anything that’s not going to hurt them. 

10. Find alternatives to the word ‘no’

I find that the word ‘no’ or a variation of that word such as ‘don’t do that’ are used in society constantly. I don’t know about your toddler but mine knows and understands this word now and rather than listening she wants to do the exact opposite of what I am telling her (which can be a problem when she tries to unplug our wifi router). In addition to her not listening, I find this word has a very negative connotation so what I have learned to do is distract distract distract. Instead, I will redirect Sage to focus on something else such as by showing her a nearby toy she can play with. You can also use these times as learning opportunities. For example, instead of just saying no, I might say ‘That’s dangerous because it’s hot and it could burn you. Let’s go do something over here instead.’

So those are  my top ten parent hacks for toddlers! I’m always on the lookout for more tips and tricks, so please let me know if you have any toddler hacks of your own in the comments below!

If you’re looking for more toddler content, be sure to check out my toddler mom life Q&A and my 6am morning routine with a toddler.

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