Simple Tips for Busy Parents

by Danielle Schultz

Appeared in “Space Coast Parent” February 1998


Take a deep breath! Has the stress of daily life caught up with you? Now is a good time to try to regroup and organize your daily life. Over the last few years, I have taken note of some great tips to help simplify life with children. I hope that some of these prove useful in getting your new year off to a great start.

Underbed Pads for Diaper Changing Germs are lurking all around us, especially on public diaper changing stations. Keep those germs from finding their way into your diaper bag. Replace your diaper changing pad with underbed pads. Underbed pads are disposable, absorbent pads found in stores with the adult bladder control products. Simply spread one out on the changing table, and when finished diapering throw it away. Prices range from $5 to $8 per 18-20 pads. The pads are available in generic and brand name, such as Depends. I personally have used both, and the generics work just fine. You can save money by doubling the count until baby is three to four months old by cutting the pads in half. These pads are especially helpful when undiapered babies urinate.

Diapers for “Boo-boos” If you have a child in diapers at home, or wonder what to do with those outgrown sizes of diapers, keep them handy for boo-boos. When your child has an injury that warmth will soothe, run tap water to the desired temperature, and fill the diaper with the warm water. Allow the child (or help as necessary) to hold the warm diaper to the injured area.

Uses for Soap Pump Bottles (besides soap, of course) 1. If you suffer from dry hands due to frequent hand-washing, fill an empty soap pump bottle with your favorite hand lotion. Keep the lotion by the sink and it will be ready for use each time you wash your hands. 2. Replace standard hand soap in your soap pump bottle with tear free baby bath. This will keep your child’s eyes from getting irritated should soap residue remain on the hands. (Also a bonus-a simple sniff of the hands will let you know if your child washed his/her hands!) 3. Fill your soap pump bottles with shampoo and conditioner for less waste and less mess. The bottle will dispense a controlable amount of shampoo/conditioner.

Keeping Hand Towels Handy (and clean!) Clean hand towels are a must for frequent handwashers. Try one of these methods to make sure your hand towels stay clean and in place. In the restroom, use a safety pin to pin the corners of the towel together around the towel rack. In the kitchen, use a safety pin to secure the towel to loop-style handles. If you have knob-style handles, thread the towel half-way through a shower curtain ring and hang the ring over the knob. These methods will keep your towels in place and you will have a clean towel to dry your hands.

Easy-On Shoes Use a permanent marker to draw a smiley face inside each pair of shoes. The smiley faces should be drawn on the pad of the shoe along the inside rim. Draw the smiley faces with the smile closest to the edge of the shoe. Then explain to your children that when the smiley faces are smiling at each other, the shoes are right. As your child gets used to this method, you can replace the smiley faces with simple dots.

Easy-On Undies Two methods work to assist children in putting on their undies. The first method involves putting a dot of permanent marker or fingernail polish on the front center waistband of the undies. Explain to your child that the dot goes near their belly button. In the second method, you draw an “X” with permanent marker inside the back center of the waistband. Tell your child that the “tag” goes in the back.

Sibling Clothing If you have more than one child of the same gender, this hint helps keep straight whose clothes are whose. Use permanent marker to put one dot on the tags of the oldest child’s clothing. Put two dots on the second child’s clothing, three dots on the third child’s and so on. When the clothing is passed from one child to the next, simply add a dot to the tag.

Shoe-Holder Organizers Over-the-door shoe holders with clear compartments are great organizational tools. In a baby’s room you can tuck socks, shoes, hats, waterproof pads, lotions, diaper pins and so on in the compartments. Here is a sample of the other items that may be kept in the compartments: girls’ rooms- hair accessories, necklaces, toiletries, small toys, Barbie dolls and accessories; boys’ rooms-combs, cars, gadgets; adults’ rooms-mail to respond to, hoisery, jewelry/accessories, sunglasses, paperbacks; bathroom- magazines, bath salts, bubble bath, hair accessories; office-mail, envelopes, staple, scissors; playroom- art materials, tapes, small toys.

Poster Board Phone List Use thumb tacks to secure a poster board and marker near your most used telephone. Hang a Post-It Note (or the like) pad over the top of the poster board. Use the poster board to keep track of important phone numbers. Write numbers you are not sure you will keep on the Post-Its and stick to the poster board. If you decide you need to keep the number, write it on the poster board. If not, throw it away when no longer needed. Every six months or so, transfer the phone numbers still needed to a fresh piece of poster board.

Masterpiece Keepers Not many things make children happier than seeing their artwork cherished. Of course, keeping all of those papers can clutter any home. If you run out of wall or refrigerator space for artwork, tape pictures to the inside of your cupboards. This allows for many more pictures to be enjoyed each time you open a cabinet. For school-age children, help your child decorate a three-ring notebook for memory collecting. Keep the notebook handy along with a three hole punch. Put any new pictures, stories, schoolwork papers, and notes from the teacher into the notebook right away. For an extra treat, send a disposable camera to school with your child. After developing the pictures, secure to colored paper and have your child write or dictate captions about them. Include the pictures in the notebook.

Cereal Trail Mix If you have several almost empty boxes of kids’ cereal, make a cereal trail mix. Pour the remains of each box into a large air-tight container. (You may wish to allow your child to do this!) Mix together and use for snacks, car rides or special treats. You may wish to add raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruits to this tasty and colorful mix.

Powdered Drink Mix Measuring Cups When you purchase drink mix in the type of container that features a measuring lid, save the empty container. Use the saved lid with any generic drink mixes that require small scoops or measuring cups. Most mixes use the same ratio of drink mix as the brand name powders. If you wish, use a funnel to transfer the generic drink mix right into the container.

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