I'm no parenting expert, but I am eight years into this and have learned a few little tricks along the way. Hope these help, teenage list coming alarmingly soon! :)
1. Candlelight Dinners.
How romantic, right? Sit down to a beautiful candlelit dinner and bask in the glory of limited light and what it can do for veggie smuggling. Seriously, you can not spot zucchini in low light. It's science.
2. A Getting Ready Playlist.
Stop nagging your way through the morning. Put together a playlist so that The Cat Empire and Lady Gaga can totally take over for you. Just work out how long you need for everyone to get ready and then choose the tunes that will best remind you all what you need to be doing. We kick off with Good morning from Singing in the Rain, Food in the Belly by Xavier Rudd is one of the eating songs, Two Shoes by The Cat Empire is on foot duty. It really works well.
3. Learn to Face paint.
Why? Because there are a bazillion costumes you can get away with just using face paint and plain clothes. Book week, dress up parties, Christmas... if you don't want to be buying/making costumes every other month but the kids still want to dress up this the answer. It's not too tricky, YouTube has some great tutorials.
Don't want to learn to face paint? Buy a Harry Potter costume, it's unisex, will last for years (no one grows out of a robe), and will cover book week, Halloween and sports day (Quidditch).
4. Tape Bubble Wands.
Childhood comes with a seemingly endless supply of those long bubble wands. Usually you hand it to the kid and it gets upended way before it's time. Tape it to a fence/tree/chair so they can use it with no spills.
5. Teach Your Kids to Take Photos.
Getting a pic of yourself can be tough, a lot of parents who like taking the photos end up being invisible in photographic history. Teaching your kids basic photography is an easy answer and they might just love it as a hobby. We live in a digital era now so at least it's a free hobby too now.
6. Ankle weights.
Not for working out, you look great! For the front wheels of your pram if you have an umbrella pram. Why? Because the kid is sitting in the front and then you go and load up the handles with your handbag and baby bag and shopping and.... when you lift said kid out, the pram goes over and dumps everything on the ground. This counterweights it, to a point, it won't help you if there is a week's groceries hanging off there.
7. Eggy Bread or French Toast.
I don't mean cook them eggy bread, although that's delicious, I mean give them 'choices' when you only have one outcome in mind. You skipped grocery shopping, you know you only have the ingredients to make eggy bread for tea but suddenly they get a choice. Shoes need to go on? "Would you like to put on your shoes yourself or would you like help?" Those times when you don't want "no" as an option.
8. Watercolour Paints
Kids love painting but often it gets left to when they are at kindy and school because of the mess and all the set up/pack up involved. Grab a set of watercolours instead (We use the Micador ones from Officeworks). You just need water, no washing paint pots and you can wash it out of clothes easily. They are also cheap because a $15 tray can last years!
9. Glow Stick Bath
If the kids go through a bath-resisting stage just throw in a couple of glow sticks and turn off the light. It makes the whole bath glow like radioactive waste but it's safe to wash in.
10. Freeze Clean
If you have toys that are tricky to clean give them a wipe as best you can and freeze them. It will kill germs lurking in places you can't get to. (Not suited to all toys, obviously.) This will kill dust mites and some germs and viruses but not all bacteria. It's not perfect but it's at least something for those toys that won't survive a good scrub. Washing is still the best way to clean toys.
Wow, a whole parenting list without coconut oil. Bet you didn't expect that!
Have a good one x