The minute my daughter started crawling, I knew that my life was over. She was into everything! Messes were everywhere. And there was a whole new list of potential dangers around the house. Aside from anchoring furniture to the walls and securing cabinets and toilets, there are a bunch of small hacks you can do to make your life a little easier. (And also help you breathe a little easier by containing the hazards in your toddler’s path!) These are simple hacks that you can do with things you probably have around your house to keep your day-to-day flow as natural as possible.
1. Use plastic wrap to make spills easier to clean up. Plastic wrap is my best friend! I line the tray of my daughter’s high chair before every meal and/or activity. Every spill can be picked up and tossed in the trash like a piece of cake. She can paint directly on it and I don’t have any permanent stains on the chair when we’re finished.
2. Keep pacifiers free of germs by storing them in mini food containers. You can use small tupperware containers used for sauce or even condiment containers from restaurants can do the job in a fly!
3. Protect their little fingers from a slamming door (or drawer) with a DIY buffer. First, cut a pool noodle into small pieces and then place it near the top of your doors. Then, slice the noodle vertically (hot dog style) and open it up and attach it directly to the door. Anytime my daughter has a little toddler tantrum, I don’t have to worry about her fingers getting smashed if she tries to slam the door shut!
4. Switch the door handle on the bedroom door, so the door locks from the outside, instead of the inside. Not only can this trick help me keep my daughter in her bedroom during nap time, but I can also rest easy knowing she can never accidentally lock me out. Simply unscrew the handle and switch sides so that the lock is now on the outside of the door instead of the inside. BONUS: If you have a child that has a hard time staying in his room during the night, this can help you get some sleep knowing he’s not wandering the house and getting into the cleaning supplies or making messes.
5. Use a band to keep toilet paper in place, off the floor, and free of germs. If I had a nickel for every time the toilet paper was unraveled on the bathroom floor… I don’t know why, but the roll of toilet paper is like the “forbidden fruit” for children and they just HAVE to touch it! Keep things neat and clean (and germ-free) by wrapping the roll with a small headband or a large pony-tail holder. When you need to use it, simply roll the band to one side. When you’re finished, place the band back on to lock the toilet paper in place.
6. Store power cords in a cut-out box. The OTHER thing children love to get into is the jumble of cords behind the television! No? Is it just my daughter? I’m always worried about her sticking her fingers in the little plugs, or unplugging and tangling things up. To combat this problem, skip the adhesive with unknown ingredients and cut a small hole in one end of a storage container. Place the surge protector and all cords inside the container. Thread their cord tails through the hole you cut and organize them behind the television or wherever else they’re used in your home.
7. Create a small tread or “no-slip grip” on the bottom of your child’s sock with puff paint. Hardwood floors and/or tile flooring can be slippery and kids can be clumsy, especially when they get overexcited and run around. It’s also a great way to label socks that belong to different siblings.
8. Put stickers on glass doors to keep your tot from running into them. Think of these stickers as a simple barrier to help prevent injuries. I cannot tell you how many times my daughter has run into the glass sliding door to our backyard, even though it’s rarely clean enough for her to make that mistake!
There are so many tricks to help us navigate parenthood and do the best we can. What are some of your simple tricks for toddler proofing? We’d love to hear in the comments below.