• 3 Helpful Hacks When You've Got Kids Under 5 Years Old

    Raising a toddler and preschooler at the same time? Here's how to keep calm
    by Kitty Elicay .
3 Helpful Hacks When You've Got Kids Under 5 Years Old
PHOTO BY iStock
  • What's harder than being a parent to a young kid? Being a parent to two or more young kids. Apart from being a referee (sibling fights will inevitably happen at some point), you'll also have to learn how to divide your time so each kid can have their share of love and affection. It's a tall order especially when you already have your hands full trying to keep the household in order. 

    To keep you from losing your sanity, here are three parenting hacks that are useful especially when you have kids in their toddler and preschool years. 

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    1. Always have a 'busy bag.'

    Most moms bring a 'busy bag' (one that you will with activity materials, books and toys a.k.a boredom busters) when they're on vacation (a long road trip or a plane ride that will take more than an hour). But, with our traffic, it just makes sense to always have one in the car or during long commutes. Having two or more kids can easily become a recipe for disaster once they become bored.

    Have a separate reusable bag for each of your kids, and let them fill it with their favorite books or toys before you go out of the house. They can change it up every day, so they don’t get tired of the activities!

    Having an individual bag for each will also prevent them from fighting over toys. It's a great boredom buster for downtime in the mall or waiting in line at the pedia's clinic. Traveling via car? Use an over-the-door plastic bag organizer and hang it over each seat so your kids can easily reach for their things.

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    2. Keep an extra pair (or two) of your children’s shoes in the car trunk.

    Your kid’s tiny footwear is cute but it gets lost easily, even inside the house, right? It’s also the cause of many delays since toddlers love to play a game of chase whenever it’s dress-up time.

    Before you lose your mind, just keep them inside the car and put matching socks inside each shoe. Keep everything in a shoe box (that over-the-door organizer works, too!) and take it out once your kids are securely fastened in their car seats to eliminate struggles. Of course, you’ll have to carry your kids to and from the car, but it’ll help you save time especially when you’re trying to get multiple children out the door.

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    3. Have your kids memorize mommy or daddy’s phone number.

    Knowing a parent’s complete phone number is one of the essential life skills that your kids need to learn especially if they’re about to start (or if they’re already in) kindergarten. It’s helpful in case of an emergency, plus knowing that your child will have a way to let others know how to contact you will give you peace of mind.

    Numbers are a little tricky to memorize so here’s a helpful tip: Turn it into a jingleTweak the lyrics to your kid’s favorite nursery rhyme or song and insert your phone number in one of the lines for an easier recall.

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    One of the songs you can use is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse opening song: Replace the lyrics “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E” with your mobile number! With continuous practice, your kid will get the hang of it in a couple of days.

    Another trick: use your phone number as her tablet’s password. At 2 years old, my niece quickly figured out how to open her mom’s tablet by staring at her mom as the latter typed a four-digit code. Memorizing the numbers can be a motivator if they want access to their screen time.

    Still worried? Asha Dornfest, author of Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids offers this tip: “Write your name and mobile number on a piece of first-aid tape and stick it inside your child’s shirt.”

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