Tips for families:   As a mom of 6 kids, I both *NEED* a parenting guide full of practical ideas and have accumulated a nice little stash of random tidbits that have helped us keep our sanity. Please share any practical tips that have made your homes run more smoothly  over at our FB page!

20 Kid Tips

Practical Tips: How to Parent

Help your child learn how to count with their fingers by writing the numbers on their fingers.   They will learn to identify numbers with the amounts faster this way. Protect your couch from sickness with a vinyl tablecloth.   The fuzzy side will stick to your couch and the plastic-side is wipe-able.   Keep the germs contained. Save your plastic Easter eggs and use them as refillable snack packs.   They are great to grab when you are on-the-go. Get rid of permanent marker (and a myriad of other stains) using a magic eraser and rubbing alcohol.   Hand sanitizer works too, if you are in a pinch. Use page protectors and dry erase markers to reuse worksheets for your kids.   This is a great way to share the same homework book between multiple kids. Cut a sticker in half and put half inside each shoe.   Kids have to “match” the picture to get shoes on the right feet. Make your own household cleaner.   Get a jar of vinegar, fill it with orange rinds, shake it for a couple of weeks and then dilute with equal parts of water. It is an edible, yummy smelling, cleaning solution – great for kids to clean with!! Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray is great for taking the sting out of bug bites. We squirt a bit onto a cotton-ball and hold on the bite.   Great for mosquito and fire ant bites! Help your kids learn to sweep the floor by creating a “goal” or destination for the scraps to be swept towards.   We used painters tape to make a box on the floor. To keep raisins nice and plump, store them with a marshmallow in the jar.   It will keep them fresh and tasty. Protect small fingers (and your headache) from door slams.   Drape a towel over the top of the door.   The door won’t slam any more. When your kids are overstimulated, give them a “calm down” jar.   They can shake it and watch the glitter fall.   Once the glitter has stopped moving they can get up. Use a silica pack to keep pumpkins from rotting as they are on your front porch.   Silica is also great for potted plants (so you water less often). If you dropped your phone into the bath water, do not turn it on.   Instead, take it apart, remove the battery and put it in a Ziploc bag with a diaper wrapped around it.   The silica in the diaper will dry out the phone. Make a mat that you can cinch to keep LEGOS in and on.   When the kids are finished playing they can pick-up all the LEGOS. Having a hard time telling kids cups apart?   Use Rubber-bands and bracelets to decorate the cups and bottles. Help your kids (and hubby) know if they can put their dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher.   Write “Clean” or “Dirty” on the dishwasher with a dry erase marker. Serve milk and cookies   as an after-school treat.   Use the cookie as your milk’s lid.   Great for snacking outside. Keep a chore list for your kids inside a page protector on your fridge.   They can cross off their tasks as they complete them. Have a studio look to photos by improving the lighting.   Use a 3×5 card to reflect light off of your point-and-shoot flash. What tips do you have to keep your family running smoothly?   I would love to hear about them!   Feel free to check out our pinterest board full of even more tips for families.  

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  1. * Lids from a 32 oz yogurt or sour cream container fit (some even snap!) on the oblong plastic kid bowls from Ikea!
    * My (pre-school) kids earn “wages” from chores. Each time they complete one, they color in a picture of a dime or quarter with a dry-erase marker on a laminated chart kept in a central location
    * Not enough refrigerator door space? Get a giant 4ft by 2ft oil drip pan from WalMart and mount it on your wall or a door for an instant magnetic board.
    * Keep a spray bottle with a couple tablespoons of dish soap (or Castille) plus plenty of water by the sink for washing a single dish – or your counters.
    * Refill your foaming hand-soap containers with Castille or standard hand soap in a roughly 1:5 ratio.

  2. We store all the plastic Oi dishes in a low drawer. My toddlers can easily get in the drawer to set the their table settings or for a water cup….also makes a good play drawer for the baby! A second tip is to have coat hooks at child’s height. This means the toddlers can put their own coats away and one less chore for mom!

  3. To make my own household cleaner I have to “shake it for a couple of weeks”??? Ha ha. Sorry had to point out the obvious typo. It made me chuckle:)
    Great tips! Thanks a bunch:)

  4. These are great tips! The only negative I see is the counting with numbers on fingers. In a world with a growing deaf population, we should strive to teach our kids to count on their fingers using sign. It is simple, and helps further communication between two diverse populations. You could do the same by writing 1-5 on the fronts of fingers, and 6-10 on the fingers you touch together for those numbers.