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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.

    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.

          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.

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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.

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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.

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                                  ©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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                                        Jane Dizon

                                        Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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                                        Published on May 7, 2021

                                        20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

                                        20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

                                        From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

                                        There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

                                        1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
                                        2. Introduce brain breaks.

                                        Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

                                        But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

                                        It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

                                        If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

                                        The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

                                        It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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                                        Active Brain Breaks

                                        Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

                                        1. Swapsies

                                        Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

                                        Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

                                        2. Dance Party

                                        Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

                                        3. Freeze Dance

                                        Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

                                        4. Keep It Up

                                        Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

                                        5. Simon Says

                                        This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

                                        6. Animal Movement

                                        Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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                                        7. Find It Fast

                                        “Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

                                        8. The Frog

                                        Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

                                        9. Pizza Delivery Time

                                        Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

                                        10. Limbo

                                        We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

                                        11. Human Knot

                                        Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

                                        12. Feather Balance

                                        This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

                                        13. Stack them high

                                        The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

                                        Relaxing Brain Breaks

                                        We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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                                        14. Meditation

                                        Meditation

                                        is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

                                        15. Kaleidoscope

                                        Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

                                        16. Reading/Listening to a Story

                                        When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

                                        17. Doodling

                                        My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

                                        18. Coloring Sheets

                                        Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

                                        19. Deep Breathing

                                        Deep breathing

                                        is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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                                        Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

                                        20. Going Outside

                                        Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

                                        My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

                                        How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

                                        The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

                                        I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

                                        Final Thoughts

                                        Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

                                        Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

                                        If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

                                        Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        [1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
                                        [2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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