Haifa Varju

Tried And Tested Parent Hacks

Tried And Tested Parent Hacks

Every week avocado is on my grocery shopping list because everyone in our household loves them. Except for Miss 4 who only loves guacamole because "avocados are yucky".

I tell you this because with all the avocado seeds I remove, surely I'm an expert, right? Apparently not. I recently got lost in the black hole that is Instagram, I learned that I’d been removing the avocado seed wrong.

I knew it was dangerous to whack the knife into the avocado half I was holding. But how else do you remove the seed? Turns out, you gently push the seed from the back, and it pops right out. Mind blown! Let me know in the comments if you knew this already. Or if I’ve just changed your life.

I love a good hack. For those not familiar with the term, a hack is a tip or trick that is new to you and sparks happy satisfaction. Isn’t that a great word combination? Happy satisfaction.

A hack makes you feel like you're winning. Once you have kids, it goes from being a "life hack" to a "Mum (or Dad) hack" overnight.

I’m not talking about obvious hacks like putting a Toddlekind splat mat under your child’s high chair to catch all the food mess and protect your floors. Though, that’s a pretty good cleaning hack.

I am talking about the little tricks you’ve picked up from your mum, bestie …. Instagram reels.

Here are the top hacks I've picked up over the years ...

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a chef. I loved hosting dinner parties and cooking for hours because I found it relaxing. After I had children the joy vanished. Can you relate? My go-to hacks for all things food and cooking related:

Make the slower cooker (crock pot) your sous-chef

Ours lives on the kitchen worktop because it gets used so much. Just add your ingredients first thing in the morning, turn it on, and forget it. You can also put it together the night before, and keep the pot in the fridge until you want to start cooking. Cook big batches to eat the same meal the next day, or freeze half for another day.

Toddlekind Slow cooking Mum Hack Crockpot Easy cooking

Grocery shop online

Shopping with little ones in tow is hard, so I switched to online grocery shopping. This option isn't available in every country, but those who have the option should use it. The food gets brought to your door, it saves you so much time, and you can avoid overspending and food waste by purchasing only what's on your shopping list.

online grocery shop family meals life hack parent hack mum hack

Meal plan

Meal planning for the week, and creating a shopping list have also been my lifesavers. I have four menu plans that I rotate so we don't get bored with fish fingers every week. My shopping list starts with all the staples that we buy every week without fail.

Toddlekind Mum hack Meal Prep Meal planning Save money Tips and tricks

Feeling organised
Morning stress reducer

Set everything out the night before. Everything. The nights I don't prep I live to regret it. I’m like a wild woman, looking for everyone's missing shoe and forgetting the wet wipes.

Make ziplock bags your friend

I thankfully learned this hack during my carefree days, when I'd pack a carry-on and venture somewhere amazing. Pack everything your child will need for the day ... everything (think nappy(s), vest, socks, bibs, jumper) in a ziplock bag for each day you are away. If you’re away for seven days, you’ll have seven bags.

Depending on your child’s age (and the size of the bag), you might fit more than one outfit in the zip lock bag.

If you don't have zip lock bags, fold everything in half (long ways) and roll them together like a clothes burrito. You can secure it with a hair tie, or elastic band if you wish. My eldest two dress themselves now so this hack also keeps them (and me) organised. They just take out a clothes burrito and get dressed.

mum hacks travel hacks ziplock bag packing with children organised holidays overpacking

Managing mess & chaos
Mess-free art

Use zip-lock bags for mess-free art. Put some paper inside the zip-lock bag, add some paint on top, and seal the bag. Let your little one finger paint to their heart's content. You can take this activity everywhere, even on a plane (less than 100ml). 

If you want your children’s creations to be works of art … Place some masking (or painter's) tape over the paper, canvas, or cardboard and let them create. When it has dried, pull off the tape. Genius! Splat mats are also a great extra safety measure for art.

Mess free childrens art craft mum hack cleaning hack toddlekind splat mat

Use a dustpan to pick up small toys

This one is for when your world collides, and you have little ones crawling around with access to potential choking hazard toys (like lego) belonging to older children. Or the pain of standing on them as broken you. 

As for craft supplies, all the tiny little beads and sequins, try a lint roller it does more than just pick up fluff.

Cleaning up Mum Hack Toddlekind hacks Lego Mess Dustpan trick

Safe (and less messy) medicine

Administer medicine by squirting the liquid into a bottle teat; baby will happily take their medicine and you can avoid them potentially choking if it goes down the wrong way.

If they need to take medicine to a schedule, write the times on the bottle so you don’t lose track. Writing on a piece of paper means you run the risk of losing it.

Cleaning plastic toys

Thoroughly clean plastic toys in the dishwasher. It's a great hack if you've purchased something second-hand, or your little one has been unwell and you want to sanitise their toys ready to be played with again. If you have smaller pieces to clean, like Lego, put them in a clothes bag into your washing machine and hang the bag outside to dry. 

parent hack mum hack toy cleaning dishwashing dishwasher hack

Sticky mess

Earlier I mentioned splat mats being a great hack to save you time cleaning up, while also protecting your floors. But some other great food-related hacks include … cupcake holders.

Now that the warmer months are here, ice lollies' mess and stickiness can be managed by attaching cupcake holders to the bottom of the stick to catch the drips. 


Use your plastic laundry basket (the one with holes in it) for safer bath time. Place it in the bath, and your child in the basket. You’re still supervising them, but you don't have to worry about them slipping, and the basket keeps all their toys nearby.

Bath time Hacks Baby Bath Toddlekind hacks Laundry basket

Potty training

When you announce you're pregnant. Everyone is all smiles, and congratulate you knowing full well what lay ahead of you … potty training.

Two of my best potty training tricks …

Put a waterproof mattress cover on your couch to protect the cushions. Or use your Toddlekind waterproof playmat!

If you’re teaching boys, pop a little bit of toothpaste in the toilet bowl for them to aim at. Encourage them to try and “sink it” under the water and this will help strengthen the muscle, and with time there will be less drip.


What are your best go-to Mum (or Dad) hacks, or something you wish you knew sooner?




Cover image by ready made from Pexels

Photos by Author: Crockpot | Lego | Dishwasher | Bath

Photos by others via Pexels (in order of appearance): 

Pixabay (grocery store) | Yaroslav Shuraev (meal plan) | Vlada Karpovich (packing) | Rahul Pandit (finger painting)



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