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19 Life Hacks You Should Teach Your Kids

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.

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      ©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.

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        ©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.

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                    ©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.

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                            ©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.

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                                ©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.

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                                        ©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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                                        Jane Dizon

                                        Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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                                        Published on December 3, 2020

                                        7 Positive Parenting Techniques to Raise Happy Kids

                                        7 Positive Parenting Techniques to Raise Happy Kids

                                        Having a black belt in the martial arts does not make you a black belt in being a parent—far from it. Most parents have a level of skill or expertise in at least one area, whether it’s baking, management, DIY, or something else. We know the rules, are familiar with the problems, and can craft an outcome that we would like. These are all needed for positive parenting.

                                        So, raising kids should be simple, right?

                                        Well, wrong. Simple does not mean easy, and in the current climate of a pandemic, it feels like it just got a little harder as well. But the world needs us at our best right now. If we do not raise our kids to be the best version of themselves, the negativity, the anxiety, the frustration of this generation will come full circle with less creativity and a reduced desire to face challenges.

                                        Trips to Mars will be furloughed. The next Steve Jobs may skip a generation. You get the idea. So, where to start?

                                        Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that it’s a good habit to begin with the end in mind. So, let’s start there.

                                        1. Begin With the End in Mind

                                        Imagine it’s your funeral and your kids are around your grave. They’re talking about the good times and the bad. What would you like them to say about you as a parent?

                                        Beyond people saying how much they love you, this part gets hard for a lot of people including me. But think about it, what is it about you that the kids love the most?

                                        For me, I want my kids to say that I was always fully engaged when I was with them. They felt like there was lots of positive energy, and they were the most important thing in the world at that moment. If I value being fully engaged, how do I make this a ritual so it’s there when the kids need it? For me, it’s my energy levels when I’m with the kids.

                                        Our lives are a mixture of complex energy drains, so I have to be responsible for ensuring that when I’m with the kids, I’m joyful. I do this by being aware when I’m feeling low and having a plan ready to help.

                                        This can be as simple as having your favorite songs on a Spotify playlist to help bounce back to being more focused or something more organized like having days off in your diary to recharge the batteries. If you can take 2 minutes to write down what you would like your children to talk about when they visit you at your tombstone, you’ll have a map that points to the type of parent you aspire to be.

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                                        When you’re clear on this, you can design the habits needed to help you become the best version of yourself.

                                        2. Legos

                                        My childhood was very different—not your typical family environment. I grew up in a hotel in a seaside town, with my parents working more hours than they should. They were tired, busy, and angry more often than most parents because every day was a struggle to keep the business running as it was a tough time and a tougher clientele.

                                        But the happiest memories I have of my parents were when they would play with me. This did not happen often enough, but we had a computer game table in the bar. It was an electronic pool game, and I loved to play against my dad in this 8-bit challenge. Remember, this was even before Nintendo consoles! Dad would get me a Pepsi from the bar, and we did not even talk. We were just both fully present in the moment and the game.

                                        There’s a lot of bad press in the media about games and screen time. But you can make it a positive experience if you can immerse yourself when sharing this time.

                                        One day, my dad came home with a big black bin bag full of Legos. I had never seen Legos before as it was not on TV adverts and school was for work, not play. Dad emptied the bag on the floor and we just played. No rules, no small talk, and nobody explained what to do. You just instinctively know.

                                        It was probably the best day ever. Games and Legos are timeless. So, find the time, and just play. This is the step towards proper positive parenting.

                                        3. Try Not to Bring “No” Into Play

                                        This is a small thing, but when you bring no into play with your kids, it can feel like a win-lose situation, even if you are trying to keep them safe or just showing that you care. Instead, seek a win-win situation.

                                        There is this balance between positive parenting and preparing kids for the real world. But probably the hardest of all positive parenting techniques is “avoiding bringing no into play” (ABNITP).

                                        Going a little further, the technique has two parts—ABNITP and the use of positive language.

                                        It does not mean never to use the word ‘no.’ But in the rare cases that it slips out, it’s more powerful and the kids are more wired to accept it.

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                                        Here’s an example. Have you ever been on the phone and the kids wanted to talk to you? When you have a child asking you questions and trying to get your attention, it’s easy to say ‘no’ straight away. But rephrasing this to ‘when I finish the call, we’ll talk’ is a win-win mindset. When we feel most tired is when we’re most open to going into a win-lose mindset.

                                        One small phrase had a big impact on my parenting, especially for those days when I felt drained:

                                        “My coffee mug is drained, can you help me fill it up.”

                                        I could get less resistance if I genuinely needed a little time or the kids would come up with a way to help. As the kids got older, this also turned into a great habit of them making me coffee in return for some time—a nice win-win situation.

                                        4. Empathy

                                        As a black belt in martial arts and growing up with busy parents, emotional intelligence was never that high on my radar, mostly because I never experienced much empathy growing up. There probably were not opportunities for it. Life was practical and you picked yourself up if you fell over, shook it off, and got on with life.

                                        But as a martial arts coach in charge of a large number of kids aged 4 to 6 years, I’m not serving my students if I don’t have empathy. Young kids understand more words than they can communicate. Their view of the world is very different to us as adults, and they can teach us a lot if we are open to listening.

                                        When your coaching a class and a 4-year-old is talking about their pet dinosaur, it’s not necessarily disruptive. It may be their way of communicating with you.

                                        Taking a little time to communicate back pays dividends for your relationships. This can be the same for parenting.

                                        For example, when your child falls over and cuts their knee, they can instantly start crying, sniffing, sobbing—you get the picture. As dads, we like strong cars, strong houses, and tough kids. Telling them to grow up, stop complaining, and be quiet can be our first thoughts. But it’s never constructive—and neither is cooing them.

                                        Remember, young children understand more than they can articulate. Letting them know that “they’re brave as it must hurt, but they’ll be alright when they stand up” shows empathy and understanding of our child’s stage of development. Empathy is an essential aspect of positive parenting.

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                                        5. Gratitude

                                        What have you ever done together for other people? When my kids were young, we raised money for a children’s hospice. At the time, they did not really understand what a hospice was, but they understood that they were helping other children.

                                        As a martial arts club, we had several volunteer children and parents spend an afternoon at a supermarket packing people’s bags. Many people would then donate some money to charity. It was a great experience for the kids as they got to help, which they enjoyed more than I thought they would.

                                        The shoppers were really positive towards them for helping, and we all went to the hospice together to hand over the money. When we were in the hospice, we were allowed a tour of the parts that had no kids.

                                        As a parent, this hit me more than a right cross. We’re going back 19 years, and I can still remember the smell from the sterile environment. It was a fun experience and a nice way to build habits with the kids to think about helping and giving back. Plus, this example helped me reflect on how lucky I was to be a parent. Teaching your children gratitude is key to positive parenting.

                                        6. Adventure

                                        Most kids love being active and having an adventure. We forget that a lot of the things that we may do or take for granted can be an adventure for the kids, such as meeting our friends, shopping for a car, fixing computers, etc. Involving your kids in these activities can be a change in their routine and fun.

                                        Looking for a car had a big impact on my son. He would flick through the used car magazine while potty training. He would visit the showroom and sit in the passenger seat to let me know if it was comfortable. He was quite cute and would usually get a few treats from the sales team as well for asking good questions.

                                        To this day, my son loves to remind me about the time he had to get help as I got stuck in the seat of a Lotus Elise. He also drives a sports car now that he’s grown up, and he was so proud to take me with him when he purchased it. Effective positive parenting should involve adventures.

                                        7. Not All Strangers Are Bad

                                        This comes from a place of opinion, so feel free to disagree, but I wanted my kids to talk to strangers.

                                        Within this technique are many skills that will teach my kids to become strong in life and help keep them safe, too. The problem is that many kids think that they should not talk to strangers—that they are all bad and dangerous people. But I’ve always taught my kids that they can speak to strangers if they want to.

                                        My kids grew up watching me talk to strangers all the time. From watching this activity, they’ve learned how to make friends. They’ve learned about the good questions to ask. They watched me listen, smile, and use my body to help communicate. Teaching kids that there is good in most people is a positive way of building their confidence and teaching them a nicer way to live.

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                                        I’m not suggesting letting kids wander around unsupervised, being trusting, and chatting with everyone. There are real dangers in the world, from cars on the road, sharp objects, hot things, and—especially where my kids have grown up—the sea.

                                        I see a danger in everyone I meet, but my kids did not need to see the world this way when they were young. Most people would awe me with kindness to our kids. There was a time when a lovely German lady held my son while I had my head over the deck of a ship from seasickness.

                                        I believe our kids will grow up happier with less judgment if we start teaching our children not to fear what they don’t understand but to approach it with curiosity.

                                        They also should know how to trust their instincts and—if something is not typical or does not feel right—to go with that intuition immediately.

                                        There have been times that strangers have wanted to do me harm in life. But more times, they’ve helped me when I’ve been lost, in need of kindness, or in need of someone to talk to. This is why I believe that we should face our fears as a parent every day and let our children talk to strangers if we want them to grow up happy.

                                        Final Thoughts

                                        I hope to be a granddad one day and continue the techniques I started with my own kids. The Danes have a great word that expresses how I think—”hygge.”
                                        This is about the power that being fully present brings to being a great parent. It’s a drama-free way to be together.

                                        It’s not easy to be a parent in today’s crazy world, but if you begin with the end in mind, you can try to craft this into your daily routines until it becomes the habit of raising happy kids. And this is what positive parenting is all about.

                                        More Tips on Effective Positive Parenting

                                        Featured photo credit: Kelli McClintock via unsplash.com

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