1) Free Kisses
Little boys (and I imagine most little ones) are busy, energetic creatures. There are so many times I want them to stop their crazy routines to sit and cuddle, or just spare a moment for a smooch, and they can't pencil it into their overloaded imagination's timeline. But you can TOTALLY trick them into it! Need help cleaning off that DVD or Video Game? I'll do it for you - for a kiss! Need snacks for your imaginary audience? That'll be 5 kisses, please. My personal favorite? When they are deep in the throws of invisible battle, I tell them if they come get 10 Mom kisses (5 for each chubby cheek), it will give them a 10 minute shield against every bad guy and ammo in the world. Don't forget to attach the time limit so they keep coming back for more ;)
2) Get Out of Screen Time
My kids are big fans of their WiiU, Minecraft on the Xbox, and watching videos about how to play their favorite games in new ways. I have some strategy for regulating screen time (check out my Summer Schedule post), but I have one trick up my sleeve that sometimes takes care of that all together. They ask me if they can play this or watch that and I say, "As soon as you clean up the living room! I don't want you sitting and playing in messes!" They might whine a little, but then they get to work. The idea is obviously that they get to play, and I get a cleaned up living room - everybody wins. BUT! They usually get distracted with the toys they're cleaning up, and then they wind it into this or that imaginary scenario, and they get so caught up in playing that they totally forget about video games! They might ask a couple more times, and I remind them to clean up, but sometimes we can go a full day without screen time by doing this, and then at the end of the day I happily help them put all of their toys away. (Of course sometimes they stay focused and clean enough to play, but either outcome is pretty great!)
3) Blow Dryer Iron
Finding enough alone time to get myself ready to leave the house is already a challenge. I usually have at least one kid circling my legs while I style my hair, or the puppy is licking my feet while I'm swiping on mascara, and I just want to finish up and get out of the house. And then, of course, upon last check in the mirror I realize that my shirt is too wrinkly. By then, I have no time to iron. So I plug in my blow dryer, put it on hot, and I stretch my shirt out straight in each direction while I blast the blow dryer at it. In a minute, my shirt is wrinkle-free!
4) Get a puppy
Nothing will make a kid take responsibility for their things like a tiny, ruthless chewing machine. Nothingggg. You may have a few casualties through the learning process (the most devastaing so far being a $60 video game, and the comforter from our new bedding set!), but the overall lesson is pretty great! My kids are still getting the hang of this, but they are super-protective of their most prized stuffed animals (we call them their buddies). Also? On a more personal note. Lukas, our oldest, is very emotionally intense and gets down very easily. He's gotten slightly better since starting tae kwon do, but things dramatically improved after we got our puppy. He fills her water bowl, helps with taking her outside and letting her back in, plays with her, comforts her when she's scared - the responsibility he's taken on since she came around has given him a sense of pride and purpose that has made a noticeable difference in his mood!
5) Tell them it's chicken
My kids have all gone through their own individual phases of picky eating, each with different "rules" for what they'll actually consume. For one it's a texture thing, for another it's color, for another it's temperature. (Kids are so weird.) Everyone likes chicken, though, right? So when you're serving them some sort of meat that's already cut up to their size so they can't tell what it is and they ask you what it is....it's chicken. We even tell them roast beef is "brown chicken". If we called it roast beef, they wouldn't touch it. One day, Henry refused to eat dinner - he absolutely refused to eat anything that is typically served for dinner. So we told him we would make him some breakfast chicken. Yeah, seriously. He ate all of it. Afterwards he said, "I think that was probably dinner," but by then he was no longer hangry, so he didn't care. ;)
I hope these hacks make your Mom-ing (or Dad-ing!) a little bit easier!
What's your favorite Mom hack?