Advertising
Advertising

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.

    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.

        Advertising

        4. Wrap books with an old belt.

        wf_bookstrap_07

          ©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.

          sweet-1023227_960_720

            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.

              1213-rs-new-124-c022_gal

                ©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.

                Advertising

                post-it-door-768x1024

                  ©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.

                        Advertising

                        socks-73925_960_720

                          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

                                  Advertising

                                  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

                                        More by this author

                                        Jane Dizon

                                        Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

                                        15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators Do Memory Supplements Work? 10 Supplements to Boost Brain Power How Much Sleep Do Kids Need for a Productive Day? 15 Important Benefits of Stretching Before, After, and During a Workout These 17 Life Skills Will Teach Your Kids Responsibility

                                        Trending in Family Activity

                                        1 3 Tips for Mountain Biking With Your Family 2 The Fit Mom’s Guide to Playground Workout Hacks 3 5 Tips for Staying Connected with Your Children When You’re Busy 4 30 Questions to Investigate Your Child’s Beliefs 5 4 Tricks To Ensure Your Family’s Well Being

                                        Read Next

                                        Advertising
                                        Advertising
                                        Advertising

                                        Published on September 10, 2020

                                        How to Be a Better Parent: 11 Things to Remember

                                        How to Be a Better Parent: 11 Things to Remember

                                        Two of the most challenging jobs in the world are raising a human being and being the best parent possible for them. Raising a child without implementing specific rules is not enough, however. The job has to be done in such a way that when you’re “done,” you’ve already created a loving, responsible, self-sufficient, kind-hearted, thoughtful, empathic, and respectful persona. Hence, it is ideal to lower the bar a little and start learning how to be a better parent.

                                        Don’t get me wrong; mistakes will be made along the way. You won’t be perfect, regardless of how hard you try.

                                        And no matter how great a job you do, your child may have issues beyond your control. Remember, they will be born with a will of their own that may conflict with yours. Nevertheless, carrying out the following tips will provide you with the best chance to create a fantastic human being of whom you can be proud.

                                        1. Listen

                                        I knew a couple who had a daughter. She was smart, sweet, and as cute as a button, but her parents were old school. They believed the adage that a child should be seen and not heard. She might as well have been a doll in a curio cabinet. Unfortunately, this little girl had a lot of exciting ideas and things to say. I knew this because she would share them with me on the occasions that we were alone.

                                        Children are interesting, funny, and curious, and they look upon you — their parent — as a hero. They have a wealth of knowledge and a great perspective on life. Listening to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. They will feel valued and grow up knowing that they matter.

                                        It’s not always easy to listen. Sometimes, children will carry on without saying anything profound. But if they believe you’re listening, they will feel important and provide you with amazing nuggets of information.

                                        Note: Make a real and honest effort when you are listening to your children. Don’t listen while multitasking and muttering, “Hmm, that’s nice, dear!”

                                        Sadly, I’ve seen lots of parents on their phones, their heads buried in Facebook or Instagram feed, while their child tries unsuccessfully to get their attention. In his book, The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck, M. D., wrote, “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. True listening, total concentration on the other, is always a manifestation of love.”

                                        2. Provide Unconditional Love

                                        I knew a mother who loved her son so much, but her love came at a high price. When he behaved as she expected him to — getting recognition for being a star athlete or academic achievements — she showered him with love. In truth, she bragged and put up framed newspaper articles of her son’s accomplishments.

                                        That same boy, though, went through a rough patch when he was a senior, becoming unruly and hostile. Down came the framed article, and up came the silent treatment.

                                        Providing unconditional love creates a secure bond and a healthy person. Knowing you have your parent’s love no matter what makes a fantastic anchor for the child. They know they can mess up and still be loved. They know they can come to you with their worst offenses, and while you might get upset, your love will remain intact.

                                        3. Teach by Example

                                        Children watch and listen to you very closely. You may think that they’re not paying attention, that they’re in the other room, playing with their Legos, but they are listening.

                                        If you want to teach your child, lead by example.

                                        For instance, if you want them to eat healthy foods, eat healthy foods. If you don’t want them to pick up bad habits, like smoking, don’t smoke. If you don’t want them to be violent, be peaceful. If you wish to raise a trustworthy child, keep your word.[1]

                                        If you want to teach your child how to communicate, speak kindly and listen with an open heart. Whatever you want your child to learn, be willing to do it yourself. You are the best teacher for the job!

                                        Advertising

                                        4. Spend Time Together Often

                                        Life is full of work, errands, get-togethers, appointments, etc. It’s easy to get lost in all the hustle and bustle and not leave enough time for your children. I know busy parents who set their children down on the couch to watch TV or play with an iPad while they’re working.

                                        Occasionally, that isn’t a bad thing. But regularly, it can create a gap between you and your child.

                                        You can avoid being an absentee parent by spending time with your children every day. Talk to them about anything; ask about their day. If you can, allow them to help you with household chores. E.g., cleaning, folding laundry or stacking dishes in the dishwasher.

                                        They’ll feel good when they know you need them, and you can use this as a family bonding opportunity.

                                        5. Follow Through

                                        Follow through creates trust in your child. They will believe that what you say you’re going to do will genuinely be done.

                                        Children are very perceptive. Let me reiterate: they are always watching and listening.

                                        For instance, I was on a walk one afternoon with my granddaughter and her parents. The little girl was asked if she wanted to ride the stroller, and she replied, “No, I want to walk.”

                                        My daughter-in-law responded, “Okay, but if you get tired, I’m not carrying you! Understood?”

                                        After about 15 minutes, my granddaughter complained that her legs hurt. She started whining and complaining. When my daughter-in-law picked her up, she commented, “I thought you said you weren’t going to pick me up?”

                                        My daughter-in-law did not follow through, and her daughter knew it. She was only four years old.

                                        You see, when parents say things and end up not doing them, they become empty threats — words without any back-up.

                                        Following through is critical in raising a responsible adult. You need to be kind, clear, and concise.

                                        The child has to know that you mean business. If you tell them they’re not having a sleepover unless their homework is done, then the homework better be done. If it’s not, there will be no sleepover.

                                        It doesn’t matter if you had plans with your friends or a date with your husband. Just make sure that whatever the consequences are for your kids’ bad behavior, you can back it up with action.

                                        6. Focus on Positive Qualities

                                        There is an old American proverb that says, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease/oil.” It is used to communicate the notion that the most clamorous problems are the ones that will more than likely get noticed.

                                        Advertising

                                        If your child is well-behaved and minding their own business, you might be tempted to let them be. On the other hand, if they are acting out and making a raucous, they may get a lot of attention.

                                        This sends the message that the kids have to misbehave before you focus on them. Bad attention, after all, is better than no attention.

                                        Positive attention is paramount. If you only pay attention to your child’s negative behavior while ignoring their positive qualities, you are robbing them the chance of being their best selves.

                                        Simply notice all the things you love about your kids and minimize the criticisms. That’s especially essential when you have children between the ages 0 and 5. Since they are impressionable, whatever you say often will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

                                        Here are more ideas on how to think positively despite the circumstance: Turn to the Bright Side: 10 Ways to Encourage Post-Incident Positive Thinking

                                        7. Apologize When Necessary

                                        We all make mistakes. There are some parents, however, who don’t apologize no matter how many mistakes they make with their children. They incorrectly assume that apologizing is a sign of weakness.

                                        Well, nothing could be farther from the truth. As we have learned before,[2]

                                        “Apologizing to your child is a sign of respect for the overall relationship you have with him.”

                                        Making mistakes is human. I guarantee you that your child will not think less of you. If you fail to apologize, you miss out on a teachable moment about the importance of taking responsibility. After all, you want your child to apologize when they do something wrong.

                                        If the kids lie, lash out at another child, or break something of value, you want them to own up to it and apologize for what’s happened. It is during these moments that you teach your child that an apology is the right course of action. If you don’t do the same thing, what exactly are you teaching them?

                                        You may find it difficult to apologize because you feel superior or fear losing your authority. In truth, your child will see you as a human, and they may feel closer to you than ever.

                                        Show your kid that no one is perfect, that you all make mistakes in life. Apologies can correct so many wrongs. Just a few simple words can cure the worst transgressions.

                                        A word for the wise: put your ego aside. Say you’re sorry and move on. If you can do that, you will be building a strong relationship — one based on love and respect — with your children.

                                        8. Allow Kids to Be Who They Want to Be

                                        My maternal grandfather, Pánfilo D. Camacho, was a lawyer and author in Havana, Cuba.[3] He expected my uncle, Jorge Camacho, to follow in his footsteps.[4] My uncle, however, wanted to be an artist and fulfill his dreams in Paris, France.

                                        At the time, my grandfather did not see art as a “real job” or something that could provide security. Despite knowing how his father felt, my uncle met with him and explained that his goals. Thankfully, my grandfather thought about it and gave his only son his blessing. He also helped with all the necessary expenses to get my uncle to Paris and study with the best of the best.

                                        Advertising

                                        My uncle became a very celebrated artist in France. Jorge Camacho’s amazing surrealist art is still sold today.

                                        This scenario could have played out quite differently if my grandfather dug in his heels. He could have forced my uncle to become a lawyer just like him.

                                        Fortunately, he realized that allowing my uncle to be who he wanted to be was the right thing to do. And it was. My uncle was grateful and made a name for himself. My grandfather was proud, and their relationship grew strong.

                                        Allow your child to be who they want to be, not who you think they should be. After all, it is their life — their journey. You’re just there to watch and provide guidance whenever necessary.

                                        9. Grow Along With Your Children

                                        Children grow and evolve, just like us. It’s important to grow with them and adjust the way you discipline and talk to them.

                                        For example, if your 4-year-old misbehaves by bending the truth or whining, you may ignore their antics and stay calm with regards to the lying. This is common for this age group.

                                        If you’re dealing with an 8-year-old, your child understands the difference between right and wrong and looks to you for guidance.[5]

                                        Meanwhile, teens need to be addressed in another way. That is a difficult and challenging age group — one that deserves great care and attention. You cannot talk to your 16-year-old as if they were still 9!

                                        10. Validate Their Feelings

                                        While growing up, lots of things that generate a multitude of feelings happen. As a parent, you want to take the time to validate your child’s feelings. Don’t be dismissive and act like their feelings are not important.

                                        The other day, my 8.5-year-old granddaughter came over. I could see that she’d been crying. When I asked if she was, she looked at me with sad eyes. My granddaughter informed me that she missed her best friend whom she hadn’t seen for almost six months since the community quarantine began.

                                        I didn’t say, “Don’t worry about it; you’ll see her someday! Now, run along.” Nope. I looked her in the eye and said, “It must be so tough not to see your best friend for such a long time.”

                                        My granddaughter’s eyes welled up with tears as she nodded. I validated her feelings, and she felt heard. As it turned out, her little friend was allowed to visit the next day. She came over to my house again, but this time, she exclaimed, “This is the happiest day of my quarantine!”

                                        If you do not validate your child’s feelings, they will think that their feelings are unimportant and learn not to share them at all. You don’t want that, of course.

                                        You want to have your finger on the pulse of their emotions. You need to make sure they come to you in the future when heavier things come down the pipe.

                                        Here’s an example of WHAT NOT TO SAY: Your teenage daughter comes to you and utters, “Richard broke up with me. I’m devastated!” Then, you reply, “Don’t worry about it! There is plenty of fish in the sea — probably even better ones. You’re too young anyway.” You might as well have stabbed her in the heart.

                                        Advertising

                                        Instead of doing that, try saying, “That is heartbreaking. You must really be hurting. If you want to talk, I’m here to listen.”

                                        Listen and communicate with compassion.

                                        11. Ask Open-Ended Questions

                                        Whenever I used to pick up my 16-year-old grandson from school, I’d make the mistake of asking, “How was school today?”

                                        You can probably guess the answer. It was always the same, “Good!” Just one lonely word.

                                        So, I decided on another approach: asking open-ended questions. The next time I picked him up, I asked, “So, what was the best part of your day?”

                                        It was impossible for my grandson to just reply, “Good.” He was forced to stop and think about some incidents that already happened. It doesn’t matter what they tell you; the key is to get them to talk. That’s how you learn what’s going on in their lives.

                                        This not only works with children but also with adults. For example, when you ask someone, “Do you like your job?”, they may answer yes or no. But if you say, “What do you like or dislike about your job?”, you’ll get a lot of information.

                                        Open-ended questions are the key to getting more information than you’ll know what to do with!

                                        Final Thoughts

                                        Being a good and responsible parent can be one of the most rewarding tasks in the world. It is not effortless, however. It takes a lot of work and patience.

                                        Implementing the above-mentioned 11 suggestions won’t guarantee a perfect family, but you will have a solid base to build and grow upon.

                                        Your child is a reflection of you. What do you wish them to reflect?

                                        Learn how to be a better parent and help produce a legacy of outstanding humans.

                                        More on Improving Your Parenting Skills

                                        Featured photo credit: Gabe Pierce via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        Read Next