What are the simple tricks that make parenting simpler for you? This is the question I asked recently on various platforms, as I wanted to compile a blog post with moms' parenting hacks. I got some amazing responses – here they are. If you'd like to add yours, please comment below or email me here, and I'll add them.
Thanks so much to those who contributed – I have learnt so much here!
Ruth Becker: For night-time toilet training, layer mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet. That way, if you have to, you can just strip the top 2 layers instead of changing the linen completely.
Stacey Lewis: A dietician once gave me this tip – hide cooked blended lentils in the tomato sauce bottle, together with tomato sauce. An easy sneaky way to get in some extra nutrition.
From a very young age, I would tell my little one that the car could not start if she was not strapped into her car seat. She now things that her being buckled up is a prerequisite to the car being able to start. We have never had an issue getting her to buckle up.
Beverley Mallach: I told my son that my electric blender is a vegetable extractor. He watched me blend my vegetable soup and ate 3 bowls.
Tracy Balkin: The best tip I got for same sex twins was colour coding. Each twin has her colour and they learn to recognise which is theirs (bottles, dummies, soothers, toothbrushes etc). They already have to share so much at least this way they know what belongs to them. Also makes it a breeze for parents and caregivers
Navasha Lee Du Plessis: Keep a notebook handy for when bubs seems off and keep recording till it's all good or you end up at the doctors.
Often you are too tired to recall the first day or so and this way you are spot on.
I used to keep three small toy boxes and rotated them weekly. Less mess and kids don't get bored playing with the same toys.
Always keep a spare nappy bag in the car packed and ready.
Ashleigh Elad: Having difficulty giving your toddler medication? Use a syringe and squirt medicine into the side of cheek. Gently blow in their face, automatic reflex is to swallow. Works like a bomb!
Elyse Golovey: My sister gave me this tip: if you need to get a urine sample from a little girl put cotton wool in her nappy and then squeeze – not so fun but if you've ever been unlucky enough to have to get a urine sample this way works best!
Eliana Cline: Never ever give your baby from birth a warm bottle – use boiled room temparature water. This will save you untold drama when you're out, or during the night.
Simone Penn: When your baby can sit feed him in the kitchen sink instead of the high chair. Saves untold cleaning up.
Use a clean nappy under baby's bum when changing a dirty nappy on the go. Serves as a mobile change mat and is ready waiting under the bum once clean.
Danielle Bloch: I got my kids eating vegetables and healthy food by pretending to call the superhero hotline to see what their favorite superhero was having for breakfast lunch and dinner. It worked brilliantly. They sometimes wanted to hear who I was talking to so I would have to call my hubby or nanny in the other room and they would talk in funny voices.
Kirsty-Leigh McIntyre: I have really dont like the feeling of bum cream under my nails so i keep a cup by the changing mat and have a few dedicated melamine bum cream spoons. I keep one spoon in the cup at all times. I scoop the bum cream out with the back of the spoon and smear over his bum. Afterwards I wipe the spoon clean with a wet wipe and at the end of the day I clean the cup thoroughly and get a new spoon for the next day. No cream under my nails, plus you get a whole lot more cream on the spoon so it's so much quicker when he is trying to crawl off his mat
Anushka Maharajh-Moonilal: I find that now my baby is mobile, he moves around in his cot and removes the fitted sheet on his mattress. I use the duvet cover, remove the inner duvet, and put his mattress in the duvet cover, like a pillowcase. It never comes loose, and I sleep knowing no matter how much he moves, he is safe.
Gaelyn Cokayne: We have always hidden veggies in her fave foods. Grated carrots into bolognaise, gem squash and butternut can be mashed and hidden in soups, stews and sauces, and we make home made pizza on a cauliflower base with baby marrows and carrots as toppings along with lots of cheese. And if all else fails – tomato sauce to dip the veggies she doesn't like always helps!
Sharissa Naicker: Nappy changing mats are expensive to replace so we use a floor puzzle mat that can be easily wiped and is soft. Or alternatively a soft easy wipe yoga mat cut up into squares. It's much more cost effective!
Tamaryn Sheperd: With my second child, I never rocked him to sleep. I puut him in his cot, and let him fall asleep unaided. It's the best thing I ever did.
Jessica: My son is four and has a few challenges. He is learning to deal with emotions and it is trying on all of us. When he is genuinely sad and not throwing a tantrum I remind him that we can have a bubble bath a home. He thinks bubble baths are magical and that if you cry in a bubble bath, the water will disappear. I also use food colouring to make it more interesting. So, I will say to him, “Would you like a blue or green bubble bath?” Seems to work for now!
Funso Aweda: I choose my battles. Or at least I’m learning to. So my child wants to wear a pair of boots on a hot day, I let her because in the grand scheme of things there are bigger issues. I am also learning that not giving her too many choices makes it easier to make a decision, because even as adults we sometimes battles when there are too many choices.
I never force her to finish a meal because I believe a child would not starve if there is food, trying to avoid a situation where said child thinks she always has to empty her plate even when she is not hungry
Tlaleng Mo: I use my leftover linen savers as nappy changing mats. I also use it to cover the changing station so it doesn't get too dirty.
Kim Goldblum: I used to steam and blend fresh spinach until puréed. Then freeze in an ice tray. I'd pop one into his meals every now and then so he was getting the crucial vitamins and nutrients of spinach, without him even knowing!
Nikita Grobler: For toddler age the reward/goal chart works wonders when it comes to sleeping, discipline and chores.
Dori van Loggerenberg: Making faces with food gets them to eat veggies… and it's a fun creative exercise for the parents too!
Candace Wilms: Use pool noodles under a fitted sheet to stop little ones rolling out if bed.
Kirsten Smythe: We have an emergency set of nappies and wet wipes and a small tin of toys in our car. There's nothing worse than being out and there no toys for the kids to play with.
Jene Heunes: I hate wasting anything so I always have some bum cream left in the bottom of the jar. Sometimes it's difficult to get it out so I use those medical sticks that the doctors use to look in your throat to scrape out the last bits.
Nadine Kraay: My tip is freeze a pack of marshmallows. I put them in a pack of four so when the kids fall or hurt themselves there is a cooling pack. It doesn't get as cold as ice and it starts getting soft on their skin and there is always a treat after to make them feel better.
Carren Smith: I pour boiling water into a flask and then have a separate jug of cooled boiled water in the fridge. Quick and easy to make midnight/early morning bottles and super handy when there was load shedding… no need to boil the kettle!