Top 10 Toddler Hacks

These are my Top 10 Toddler Life Hacks that will make parenting a lot easier! No more meltdowns, crying fits, and frustration, I’m sharing all the tips that work for me as a toddler mom; hopefully, my tips will help you with your toddler.

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Teeth Brushing

This is the biggest struggle (I know I’m not alone). One of my favourite things I use for my 2-year-old is the newborn silicone toothbrush that goes over one finger. I’m able to feel her teeth and make sure that I’m getting her entire mouth. (Watch out they aren’t bite proof) I try to stick to the sides and get in and out quickly. If you’re looking for a natural kid-friendly toothpaste, this one is our favourite.

A woman holding up her index finger with silicone toothbrush.

Getting Children Dressed

Getting children dressed to go outside can be a battle. The upside-down jacket hack has made this process so much easier! If I’ve learned anything as a toddler mom, it’s if you can get them to do something by themselves, the chances of a meltdown drastically decrease, and they are overall a lot happier. 

The way you do the upside-down jacket is you lay the jacket on the ground and open it up. Your child puts their arms in the jacket and then puts the jacket over their head.

A woman helping a toddler put on her purple jacket

Fix a Twisted Seat Belt 

Every time we go to the car, it seems like the seat belt to our toddler’s car seat is twisted. It’s important that the seat belt is not twisted for safety reasons, but it feels like it takes forever to untwist, especially if you have a squirming child. If this sounds like you, I’ve got the best hack for you! You want to take the seat belt and fold it over like a triangle, thread it through the buckle slot, and pull it up (watch the video above for a visual demonstration). Magic, it’s fixed!

Demonstration on how to on tangle a child seatbelt

How To Get Through Big Feelings

Everyone knows that kids are prone to big feelings (I mean, so are many adults, if we’re being honest!). One thing that works well for my toddler is when I get down to her level and acknowledge her feelings. I say things like, “Are you feeling sad?” I then like to pause and then offer her a hug. Most of the time, when I offer her a hug, she says yes. It’s made me realize a lot of times that when she’s having a big feeling moment, she usually just needs a little love and understanding. Instead of telling her to stop yelling and screaming (unless they’re doing something dangerous), slowing down and giving that acknowledgment of her feelings, and showing her a little love goes a long way. 

A mother talking to her toddler on her knees at ground level.
A mother holding her toddler on her knees on the ground

Doubles of Products

Have multiple products of the things you use daily throughout your house. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to need something and it’s only located in one room of the house… No one wants to stop what they are doing to walk upstairs, grab the item and come back downstairs, especially when you have a poopy bum to change attached to a running toddler(I know I’m not alone!). This is the most unnecessary struggle and comes with a simple fix! Make sure you have multiple items you use the most throughout the house (one on each floor and in your diaper bag). The things that we have multiple of are a hairbrush, diaper cream, and baby wipes.

A picture of a plastic drawer with diapers inside.

How to Avoid Meltdowns

This trick has worked so well for our family. The trick is showing your child what they can do vs. what they can’t do. Here are two real-life scenarios to help you understand. 

Scenario 1:

Our two-year-old wants to paint in the living room by our cloth couch. 

Me: No 

Toddler: Yes! I want to paint there!!! 

Instead of me saying No, I rephrase and say: “We can paint at the table in the playroom.” or “We can paint in the kitchen at the counter. What would you prefer to do?”  

A little girl with red hair holding a trolls doll
A little girl with red hair painting with watercolors

She might kick and fuss for a minute. (I’ll remove the items from the area and set them aside until she’s made a decision.) I’ll tell her the options again; she usually eventually understands the options and picks the spot she wants to paint. 

I’ve found that with toddlers, it’s not about discipline, it’s about setting boundaries and providing options. They’re two they can’t understand consequences, and they’re not really trying to be bad. They’re just learning how to be a little person. Setting boundaries to keep them safe and also keeping your house paint free is a great way to set house rules. 

Scenario 2:

My daughter is balancing on her tower and could fall back and hurt herself. 

Instead of saying, “Don’t do that!!” I’ll say, “Feet down, please. Feet have to stay down.” 

That way, I’m affirming her what I want her to do vs. what I don’t want her to do. 

If you’re a parent to a picky eater, you need to check out The Baby HealthNut Cookbook. I know how stressful the picky eater stage can be, and I’ve shared all my tips and tricks on how I am raising an adventurous eater right in this digital ebook. 

The Baby HealthNut Cookbook is for purchase

Have Them Help Clean Up

It can be really hard to teach a young child not to throw things on the floor, and make big messes. Show them that there are consequences to their actions by getting them to help. We have started having Sage help us clean up her messes (if they are small).

The other day she spilled her water (a complete accident). Other times she dumps her food out on the ground and looks at me. We’re slowly trying to teach her that when we make a mess, we need to clean it up. That way, as parents, you’re not the only people in the house cleaning things up. Having them help clean up teaches them good values of cleaning up messes that they make and making them more aware of their messes. We have found that our daughter actually enjoys cleaning up. This is just a great teachable moment: if they spill something on the floor, someone must clean it up. 


Use a Timer

This hack works best for big transitions like leaving something they are enjoying (playgrounds, parties, etc.). Use a timer to prepare your children for when it’s time to leave. Go up to your child and tell them when the “Timer goes ding ding ding, it will be time to go.” Make sure you tell them this twice and show them the timer. (You feel so silly in the moment…but it works) I went up to her and said, “The timer is going off, It’s time to leave, let’s wave goodbye to the playground.” She waved, I waved, and we left with no tears. (Something clicked…I was preparing for screams)

Changing up the Environment

This works best when my toddler is losing her mind, and nothing is working to calm her down. I’ll pick her up and take her to her room, and we’ll leave the environment that was causing her big feelings. Normally when we switch up her environment, within a few minutes, she calms right down. I’ve heard of parents having a “calm corner” where they have a big cozy chair, books, and bubbles to help them reset.

A dad and his daughter seating on the floor in her bedroom reading a book.
A little girl standing up in her crib. There's a picture of a rainbow on her wall and her name on the wall

Hair Elastic Trick

Every mom of girls (or boys with long hair) knows the struggle it takes to get the little plastic hair ties out of their hair! (I do actually love how well they hold hair up…but they are a pain to get out!) When a plastic hair tie is stuck in your child’s hair and you can’t get it without scissors (stop)! Find a Q-Tip and Lemon essential oil. Then place a drop of Lemon oil on the Q-Tip, and then rub the Q-Tip with the lemon oil around the plastic hair tie. The Lemon oil will melt the plastic from the hair tie like magic, and the hair will come free without scissors or losing hair. (Your child might smell like lemon, but will be tear-free!)

A picture of a little girls hair in pig tails.
A picture of the lemon essential oil and a little girl's hair in pig tails.

Looking for more content on navigating the parenting journey? Check out 10 Parent Hacks For Picky Eaters and How to Create a Montessori Playroom for a 2-year-old. 

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