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19 Life Hacks You Should Teach Your Kids

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19 Life Hacks You Should Teach Your Kids

In spite of having the suspicious word “hack” in their term, life hacks are actually beneficial in nature and don’t require any form of actual electronic hacking to work. Because they save time and free up (or even make) space, and because they require little effort and the simplest of things to work, life hacks are usable and doable by virtually anyone, including kids.

With proper parental supervision, kids learn faster through the first-hand experience of the life hacks. As supported by Dr. Robert Lehman from the Pediatric Affiliates of Hampton Roads, “Involving your child in mind-stimulating activities, as well as providing support to meet his optimal needs, results in more positive outcomes including greater school success, healthier behavior, and improved family relationships.”

Here are but a few of the plethora of useful life hacks that you can use with your kids around the house for extra convenience:

1. Use a hanger for accessories.

hanger

    ©Thinkingcloset.com

    Maximize the use of any spare hangers by using them to hang up your children’s accessories as well as your own. Watches, necklaces, eyewear, and even wired gadgets like earphones can be hung onto them for easier access and less hassle. Have your kids put a spare carabiner as well and they’ll be able to hang up smaller stuff like ponytail bands and rings.

    2. Fold clothes using cardboard cutouts.

    gallery-1452632658-justagirlandherblog-clothes-vertical

      ©Womansday.com

      With a few cardboard cutouts, you can actually save your kids the hassle of pulling out their clothes with reckless abandon and save yourself from rearranging the resulting mess. Simply fold the clothes around the cutouts, arrange them vertically, and your kids will be able to pull them out more easily.

      3. Open bottles with a seat belt buckle.

      xve9dmi

        ©Imgur.com

        Naturally, road trips with children mean that you have to stop every once in awhile for gas and food. If your kids buy beverages with bottle caps, you can use your car’s seatbelt buckles as instant bottle openers.

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        4. Wrap books with an old belt.

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          ©Designsponge.com

          For those who have kids that love bringing books along on road trips, prevent their hardbound treasures from waging war with their clothing by wrapping and buckling an old belt around them. This makes for easier and safer storage and may spare your kids’ books any unnecessary wear and tear.

          5. Reuse Smarties tubes as cord storage.

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            Never throw your children’s Smarties tubes as it’s a smart way to store charger cords and even earphones in these empty canisters. Reusing them allows safe storage in tight areas such as luggage bags and pants pockets.

            6. Recycle condiment shakers to glitter or pet food dispenser.

            glitter_shaker_sample

              ©Edartsupplies.com

              Hit two birds with one stone by recycling your old condiment shakers. Not only will you free up space in your cupboard, but you’ll also let your children have more mess-free fun. Young artisans can use them for glitter and confetti-based art decorations, while those with small pets like hamsters or goldfish can use them as pet food containers.

              7. Pick up shards of glass with a slice of bread.

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                ©Realsimple.com

                Kids are clumsy. For some reason, they always tend to break things around them. Help them clean up the broken glassware by mopping up the shards with a piece of bread. The shards will cling easily to it, helping you and your kids clean up any little pieces. Of course, safety for your kids should always be a primary concern, so don’t forget to put some gloves on your kids’ hands when helping them clean up a mess like this.

                8. Post important reminders on the door.

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                  ©Family-budgeting.co.uk

                  Help your kids remember anything they might have forgotten to do or bring before they leave the house by posting reminders on the front door. That way, they’ll be able to spot the notes and do a quick recap before leaving the house. Just make sure they exit the house through the front door, though.

                  9. Prevent a tangled necklace with a straw.

                  straw-tanglepreventer_300

                    ©Realsimple.com

                    Prevent your kids from finding out the hard way what a Gordian knot is by using plastic straws for their accessories, like necklaces. Putting one end of a necklace chain inside a straw can prevent it from tying itself up when storing them away in the dressers.

                    10. Wipe away scratches with a dab of toothpaste.

                    4efc476f22b247af8dec936e4e8b9b9da8c4a896

                      ©Apartmenttherapy.com

                      In case your children accidentally scratched glass surfaces such as mobile device screens, help them out by dabbing some toothpaste onto it. Wow them with a magic trick of sorts when you wipe away the toothpaste to reveal that the scratch has vanished.

                      11. Always keep a garbage bag on hand.

                      trash-bags-2

                        ©Offthegridnews.com

                        Remember to pack any spare garbage bags in your luggage to use as impromptu raincoats for both you and your luggage during a sudden downpour. This will keep your kids dry as well when they are walking home from school in the rain when no umbrella is at hand.

                        12. Tie together sock pairs to prevent them from separating during laundry.

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                          Instead of telling your kids about the myth of the sock-eating washing machine or dresser, prevent their socks from separating and even vanishing by tying them together before washing or storing.

                          13. Reuse pump bottles as paint dispenser.

                          img_1823

                            ©Elementaryartmoments.blogspot.com

                            Add more convenient fun to art and games by recycling those pump bottles and empty ketchup containers. Filling them with paint helps your kids replenish their paint palettes in a more mess-free way. Filling them up with water instead turns them into refilling stations during water balloon fights.

                            14. Label luggages with bread clips.

                            bread-tie

                              ©Bits-n-bytes-tech.blogspot.com

                              Help your kids find their luggage bags more easily during a road trip by writing down any details like “Mary-Clothes” or “Jim-Tools” on color-coded bread clips for simple, convenient labeling. One thing’s for sure: There’ll be anything but bread in those bags.

                              15. Use a paperclip as a luggage lock.

                              use-paper-clip-luggage-lock

                                ©Popsugar.com

                                Nowadays, people can never be too sure when it’s safe to walk around with luggage in tow. Prevent sneaky hands from pilfering anything inside your family’s luggage bags by locking the zippers together with a paperclip. Someone wanting to unlock your bags while on the move will have a tougher time doing so.

                                16. Remove glassware rings with toothpaste.

                                toothpaste-water-stain-table

                                  ©Charlesandhudson.com

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                                  More often than not, children can’t help but bring cold beverages with them in the living room or at the computer desk. Help them wash off any of those unsightly water rings their drinks left on the tabletops by applying some toothpaste with a wet cloth

                                  17. Recycle coffee cups as paint and brush holder in one.

                                  starbucks-paint-cup

                                    ©Theupcycleblog.com

                                    Provide even more convenience for your children during arts and crafts by recycling those plastic cups with dome-shaped lids (like the ones usually found in coffee shops). They can function as paint cups, paint brush holders and paint brush filters all in one!

                                    18. Use plastic cups to cover hands.

                                    img_5600-700x467

                                      ©Fabulesslyfrugal.com

                                      Quash that fear of sparkles doing more harm than good during New Year’s Eve by punching out holes in plastic cups and protecting your kids’ hands with them. This way, they can hold as many sparklers as they want without fear of getting their fingers hurt!

                                      19. Waterproof written labels with a clear nail polish.

                                      alternative-beauty-tips-4

                                        ©Forgottothink.com

                                        Waterproof your children’s labels on their belongings using clear nail polish. This helps especially in certain rooms in the house where water tends to get everywhere, mainly in the bathroom. Labeling their toothbrushes or medicine bottles before waterproofing them allows for more convenience for both of you.

                                        These life hacks not only make things for the household more convenient but will also help your children become more productive and creative. Kids do learn by example. Share these tips and tricks to them and become the coolest parent of them all.

                                        Featured photo credit: Fabulessly Frugal via fabulesslyfrugal.com

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                                        Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                                        Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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                                        Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

                                        In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

                                        Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

                                        There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

                                        Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

                                        Let’s get started, shall we?

                                        Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

                                        Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

                                        1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

                                        When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

                                        Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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                                        “Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

                                        2. Teaches the Value of Family

                                        Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

                                        According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

                                        3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

                                        Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

                                        “Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

                                        For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

                                        4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

                                        How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

                                        “If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

                                        5. Creates a Safe Environment

                                        If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

                                        Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

                                        6. Reduces Stress

                                        This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

                                        According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

                                        So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

                                        How to Make Family Time Happen

                                        Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

                                        1. Family Dinners

                                        This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

                                        Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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                                        “Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

                                        According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

                                        As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

                                        2.  Regular Movie Nights

                                        This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

                                        Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

                                        3. Game Night

                                        This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

                                        In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

                                        So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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                                        4. Sharing a Hobby

                                        If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

                                        Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

                                        Final Thoughts

                                        Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

                                        Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

                                        The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

                                        Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

                                        Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        [1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
                                        [2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
                                        [3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
                                        [4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
                                        [5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
                                        [6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
                                        [7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
                                        [8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
                                        [9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
                                        [10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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