Young children keep us busy and often make even the simplest tasks difficult to maneuver. I swear, with each additional child I have I think it takes us an extra 5 minutes to get out the door. When #4 arrives this summer, I am basically never going to get anywhere on time. Let’s talk how to simplify life with little ones.
While little ones keep us busy and sometimes overwhelmed, there are a few tricks I have learned that have helped keep things simpler with little ones. In my world, simpler means more enjoyable for all involved.
Snack on Whole Fruits & Veggies
While this one is easier to start from a young age, there is no time like the present. Snacks that are prepackaged are extremely convenient. I am sure you are thinking, how is whole produce a simpler and less stressful snack option than a package of Goldfish? Often these snacks aren’t the healthiest options and they cost a lot per package. Not to mention, they are often full of sugar and train a child’s taste buds to want more snack like them. When lunch and dinner roll around and you have broccoli on their plate, that just WON’T taste good. No wonder kids want to wat snacks all day.
My suggestion? Start to transition your standard snacks to whole produce… or at least some of them. This may take some time and could even be a little stressful to start but if that’s what you have, they’ll eventually eat it. This will adjust their preferences over time and reduce mealtime stress. We still buy special snack packs for special occasions and they love them… but a banana or some celery with peanut butter or raisins is enjoyed more frequently and just as much. This helps the budget long-term… and develops healthy choices.
Simplify Your Sippy Cups
About a year ago I realized that we had what felt like 1 million kids cups, tops and straws and none that ever seemed to actually fit together. I decided that I would donate the ones I could find pieces for and the parts that could be repurposed. We pared down our assortment to 1 type of cup. This means all the straws, and tops fit on any cup and prep is 10x easier!
We decided to stick with the kids CamelBak Eddy Kids Water Bottles for a few key reasons.
1. I don’t mind cleaning these as the parts are easy to sterilize and get clean
2. They can be disassembled for cleaning and resembled quickly
3. All three of my kids can use these easily
4. They don’t leak!
5. CamelBak eddy Kids replacement parts can be bought inexpensively and easily on Amazon!
Basically, these kids CamelBak Eddy Kids Water Bottles are hands own our favorite, hands down! Having one type of cup THAT YOU LIKE cuts down so much unnecessary fumbling time and stress. Pick one you love and as you need more, stick that one type 🙂
Enable Them To Help Themselves
We follow some Montessori principles in our home and strive to provide the opportunity for our children to do things for themselves that are safe and age appropriate. Simply having a stool in the bathroom and keeping their toothbrush and toothpaste in a place they can reach allows them to learn to do something themselves. We keep their cups in a place they can access them once they are tall enough to reach the water on the fridge door. This age-appropriate autonomy over something they are perfectly capable of doing and quite frankly enjoy doing for themselves.
I highly recommend you head on over to The Montessori Notebook to check out Simone’s Age-Appropriate Chores for Children Chart. Little ones are capable of so much if we just give them the tools and space to figure out how. Letting them do things for themselves isn’t simpler and easier form the start but in time, it will give them some responsibility of their own self-care.
Minimize Their Books
I am a huge fan of rotating our kid’s books and having only a handful available at a time. We rotate the selection every week or two depending on how they like them. While some voice concern that this will limit the amount of reading they do, I have found the complete opposite. My children read at least 2x as much when there are a handful of books on their site. When we have a ton of books out they seem to be overstimulated and can’t choose one. This results in less reading.
Adiditoanly, while most parents get tired of reading the same books over and over, doing so is a stimulating and productive experience for a child. While we can all recite Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by heart, our kids are benefiting greatly as we read the same book again and again. The act of re-reading a book over and over helps with vocabulary & recognition, patterns & a sense of order, hearing rhymes, speech fluency & word comprehension. That is a lot of benefits… worth the 387th rendition of Goodnight Moon? OK, yes.
By using wall shelves or baskets where all the book covers are visible, you will find your kids read even more often! When they can see the covers of the books, they are more likely to connect with the book and opt to read it. These simple shelves take up minimal space and allow for easy access and cleanup. This is another job kids will be able to do themselves and one less thing you have to pick up!
While having kids will always be a challenge that exhausts us on all levels, these 3 tips will help us keep our sanity even on the toughest days. Simplify your day even just a bit… and you’ll be 1 step closer to sanity. If all else fails, pour another cup of coffee.