Friday, July 29, 2011

Mom Tips - For Children Things, #1

What are "Mom Tips"? ~ I so enjoy the little "mom tips" that I've come across in life - those little things that I've learned learned from my mom, or a mom friend, that just make life a little nicer.  Things that make the daily-daily just a little easier, or make me smile a little more, or maybe will be a time saver for me.  I'm not referring to the bigger projects like de-cluttering or re-organizing, although summer is the ideal time for those things (and they definitely make me smile)!  But just the small things - the "mom tips" that aren't in the self-help books, they're just life-experience things that I've gotten from a mom with experience under her belt.  Well I'll share with you some of my Mom Tips for children things, #1; I hope they bring a simple breath of fresh air to your regular every day patterns!  *smile*

~ Room spray.  I keep a little mini room spray in each of our children's diaper bags so that when I at a friend's house changing a pooey diaper I can spray the room a bit when I'm done.  I really do not want a friend to walk in to one of their rooms (especially not their master bedroom where friends usually gracious send me to to change a diaper) and think, "Ohhh...hmm...eww...someone changed pooey  pants in here..."  *chuckle*  I'd much prefer that they entered the room and thought, "Ohhh...what's that nice smell?"  *smile*

~ Drier diapers!  We have often had babies and toddlers who flood their diapers at night leaving pj's and bed linens wet in the morning.  We tried monitoring their fluid intake after about 5pm, but we would still have flooding!  We would purchase larger sizes of diapers for night time, but when our 1-year-olds reach size 6 diapers (the largest size where we live - yes, we have big babies) but they were still flooding.  Then we discovered that we could buy Doublers, which were an insert for disposable diapers for extra absorption.  But then disappointingly after about a year of using these they stopped making them - no idea why!  So we started purchasing feminine pads, the largest overnight ones with the most amount of absorption, and inserting those in to the kids diapers!  *laugh!*  Shhh - I know it sounds weird, but it works, and no one else knows we do this *wink* - and most importantly, the kids are usually DRY in the morning.  It may seem like an extra expense, however washing multiple sets of crib sheets, wet pads, blankets, and pj's all the time has it's costs both financially and in time, plus needing to clean kids legs and torsos that got soaked.  My loving husband is so good to say that my time and energy has value, too, and so we purchase drier diapers.  *smile*

~ Quenched thirst without water When I'm out with the kids and we're eating lunch or snacks I always pack apple slices.  This is not only nutritional and gives them a boost of energy, but it quenches the children's thirst without filling them up with drinks that will cause them all to have to use the public restrooms frequently, requiring extra stops and multiple strollers and about 30 extra minutes per stop.

~ No sea water on car upholstery.  After our children have been swimming in salt water Puget Sound I put a cleaning cloth (hand towel size) on each car seat so that the sea water from bathing suits doesn't absorb in to the car upholstery or car seat covers, which then can really stink later after the van has been closed up over night.  Then I just scoop up each cloth when we get home and toss them in to the laundry room tub to be washed next time I do laundry.

~ Mesh bag for foam bath toys.  We've always had sets of those thin, foam bath letters or scenery pictures (bushes, houses, cars, etc.) which stick to the wet bathtub walls for the children to play with, but I always kept them in a plastic ziplock bag to store them.  When it was time to clean them up that bag had to sit out on the bathroom counter open to the air for 2-3 days until all those pieces were dry and I could zip the bag closed and put it away.  But eventually I purchased a mesh laundry sack (for washing delicate "unmentionables" in the washing machine) that's about 12x18 inches big and I put all the foam pieces into that, zip it closed and put it away away right then!  Yay!  The mesh allows the foam pieces to dry even after it's zipped closed.

~ We label 'em!  When ever we're having newer friends over for company, or perhaps a new baby sitter, and they do not know the names of our 9 children well then we've taken to putting name tags on all of the children (and on the backs of toddlers or babies so that they can't take them off and eat them).  *smile*  This has brought many a grateful sigh to our friends when they can address specific children by name easily, and their children also know the names of our children and do not have to say, "That boy over there..."  And with another larger family over, we could easily have 15+ children running around, so watch out, we'll even label your kids because we desire to learn their names!

~ Quieting a room.  We have shooting range head phones for our older children to use while working on school work when they need to focus better, or are feeling distracted or need extra concentration.  These really work well to put a person sort-of in their own world and allow them to think better and/or talk less.  *wink*

~ Quieting some kids.  When we need the children to begin quieting down and settling down we dim the lights in the room they're in or just turn the lights down or off.  People begin feeling and becoming quiet fairly easily.

~ No counter top marks We've found that the metal bottom of cans of baby formula leave dark grey streaks on counter tops, and they don't come off easily.  So to solve this problem we use one of the plastic lids from an empty can of formula and slip it on to the bottom of the new can.  So there's a lid on the top, and a lid on the bottom of our open can leaving only plastic to touch the counter top and no metal.  Problem solved.
~ Who's clothes are who's?  When you have several kids on a row of the same gender, you can use a dot system on the tag.  The oldest has 1 dot, when you pass it to #2 add a dot, and so on so that like #4 son is 4 dot sized. Makes it easy to know who's shirt is who's and who left their clothes out on the sofa, also helps with those youger ones, knowing when a shirt is now theirs, and the older ones know when it no longer fits. 
~ Free shorts.  When children wear holes in the knees of their pants, you can cut them off just above that point, hem them, and make shorts out of them. We will never have to buy our boys shorts again with the rate that they get holes in the knees of nice warm-up pants and jeans!  *laugh!*
~ Child locator.  When we are out as a family in a larger crowd of people, such as at the county fair, I like to have all of us wearing a matching color in our shirts.  If we're all wearing red, for example, it's far easier to glance up and see all of our people (except for the teenagers who didn't want to match *smile* - so fine; they're easy to see already). 

~ Cleaning cloths for back yard play.  When our kids have been playing in the back yard and they're faces, arms, hands, legs, and feet all need to be washed in the sink (or at the edge of the tub) before coming in for a meal, when they dry off after washing they still get the towels dirty.  So I've started keeping a cleaning cloth (rag towel) beside the sink for them all to use at that time.  They all dry off with it, then I wipe off the counter top and sink basin with it, then I pitch it in to the laundry room wet cloth tub.  This keeps our regular towels from turning permanently grey from all of our children's summer play clean-up.

~ Beach towels to prevent slipping.  In the summer when the kids are playing with water outside and they need to come inside for something they inevitably slip and fall as soon as their bare feet hit the linoleum.  So when beach towels go outside with children for water play, I always put one nice big beach towel just inside the sliding glass door on the linoleum for them to step on when they enter (not a small cloth they have to aim for, but just a nice, no-miss big one).  This prevents slipping, and absorbs some of the water they bring in.  And when I need to I can use that towel to rub the child drier before letting them run onto the carpet.

~ Get outa yer diaper!  Our 2.5-year-old had been getting his hands into his diaper for the past year-and-a-half.  *sigh*  In from the top, or in from the legs, and making a big mess sometimes 3-4 times in one day.  So we would put him to bed at night with his sleeper on backwards and zip it up  the back!  Then there's no surprises to wake up to first thing in the morning.
~ Popsicle medic.  When one of our younger children gets a bloody lip, we sit with him or her on our lap and let them suck on a Popsicle.  The ice works like an icepack, they feel happier, and the flavor keeps it in or on their mouth.
~ Baby wipes clean all.  We use baby wipes to clean just about everything on kids when we're out of the house and don't have cleaning cloths handy, like after a picnic, or playing in a friend's backyard.  And we clean some things around the house with wipes, too.  We clean their faces, hands, dirty back-yard feet/knees/shins, and hair if necessary with wipes.  Costco's Kirkland Signature brand are the best I've ever found (because they stay wet in the package for years and don't dry out), and I've used a lot.  Around the house we clean booster seats with wipes if they've had a wet (or worse) diaper sitting on them; we wipe off bed wet pad mattress protectors (Lysol cleaning wipes will eventually crack the plastic, so we no longer use those on plastic wet pads); and if you put one wipe on each palm, put one hand on either side of a pack-n-play white mesh "wall" and rub them together you can clean that, too!
~ Re-labeling clothing sizes.  A mom friend just shared with me that she writes with a Sharpie permanent pen on the tags of children's clothes that actually fit like a different size than what the tag says, what size of clothing she puts that item with.  I've spent years trying to remember which clothing items are not actually what the tag says, but this is so much better!  For example a tee shirt tag may say 3T, but I know that it's shrunken smaller and actually fits our 2T-size child, so I'll write "2T" on the tag from now on.  So simple - but I never thought of it before!

So! I would really love to hear about any other Mom Tips you have for Children Things!  Let's all add a little "Nice!" to our daily-daily!  

Blessings on your efforts today,

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