4 Practical Tips To Make Life With Kids Easier

I have five kids.  That’s a lot of logistics to juggle.  I know many mamas have more and there are many solutions to the little dilemmas we all face.  Here are a few solutions that I’ve worked out.

{One thing about being a mom, we learn to be flexible.  These solutions change with family size, parent preference, children’s ages, and all of the other factors we deal with.}

towel hooks

1.  towels

Towel Dilemma 1:  how many towels are on the towel racks after bath time?  at my house, not many.  They’re all lying on the floor, strewn throughout the house.

Mama says:  “Child #1, put away your towel!”

Child #1:  I did!

Mama:  Child #2, put away your towel!

Child #2:  I did!

And so on.

Solution:  If everyone has their own color coded towel you never have to guess which child’s towel is on the floor!  Also, it’s possibly more hygienic (if there is such a thing in a house where everyone shares air and toilets and sinks and just about everything.)  Also, the kids love having their own towel!

(I got these towels at Target for $5 each.  A steal for sanity!)

Towel Dilemma 2:  little hands are not dexterous at folding and replacing towels on towel racks.

Solution:  Coat hooks work great in the bathroom, you can hang more towels than most towel racks, and the towels dry faster.

simple closet organizing

2.  the coat closet

Dilemma:  Little hands can’t reach the traditional level closet racks, and have a hard time hanging sweatshirts and coats up anyway.

I struggled with this one forever.  Until I had three, I periodically hung up everyone’s sweatshirt from the pile on the floor, or I kept them in everyone’s own room.  Then I just let all the sweatshirts nest in a big pile on the floor of the coat closet.  This was not ideal.

Solution:  those little plastic self-stick hangers you can get at Walmart or Target or wherever.  I bought a few packs and went to town on the coat closet.  I hung them around the inside of the coat closet at child level and on the closet door.  If the sweatshirts get unruly it’s an easy chore even for my two year old.  But most of the time the sweatshirts are now hung!

drinking cup placemat

3.  drinking cups

Dilemma:  Half-way through your day there are about 500 plastic character covered drinking glasses from your kitchen counter to the front porch.  You need an extra dishwasher just for the drinking glasses!

Solution(s):  I’ve seen some pretty cute solutions.

#1:  homemade placemat (made by my sweet niece back when we only had three kids).  This works well at my house.  My kids love having a spot for their own cups.

#2:  assigned drinking cups.  You can write names on the cups using Sharpies or buy one color for each child.  Kids love this, too.  Everyone loves having their own cup.

#3:  this crazy neat drinking cup tile thing that I’ll never make but love from Bee In Our Bonnet.  Now that I see the tutorial it doesn’t look that hard.

DSC_0612

toothbrushes4.  toothbrushes

Dilemma:  yuck.  When it’s time to brush teeth I’m not sure there is a good solution.  Our bathroom is small and no matter how few children I send to brush their teeth at one time, when all is said and done there is toothpaste everywhere.  Ideally, I would like to keep all of the toothbrushes in one of those little cups with separate holes for each brush but a) they don’t make them with more than four holes and b) Tinkerbell and Spiderman toothbrushes don’t FIT in the holes. It seems so sanitary, though.

Solution #1:  No more brushing teeth.  Who needs it?  They’ll probably get cavities anyway.  But just in case my mom reads this I’ll offer my real solution…

Solution #2:  (and this is imperfect, but it’s what I’ve got) I keep all toothbrushing supplies in a kitchen cabinet.  High enough that toddlers can’t reach them.  The children brush their teeth in the kitchen where there is more room and for some reason less toothpaste when all is said and done.

Solution #3:  my friend makes homemade toothpaste and her kids don’t love the taste, so they just use a very little bit.

Solution #4: This super cute little organizer my friend Kara has for her kids.

What little tricks have you learned that make life a little easier?

(and if you figure out how to get everyone to replace the cap on the toothpaste, I’m all ears.)

Blessings,

Christy, One Fun Mom

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Comments

  1. Christina Queeno says

    Stealing the drinking cup tiles!

    Ours is a family of 8 with one shower. I stole an idea from Pinterest when we blended together and hung plastic baskets across a shower rod mounted on the back of the shower. I wrote the names of the kids tall enough to reach (three teen girls) and my name on a basket. Hubby and I share. A basket leaving two more for communiy items like shampoo and another for the bath toys the little ones use. It works great for keeping personal washcloths separate and we have no clutter in the tub.

  2. Brandy says

    Spent $9 on an over the door shoe organizer with clear pockets…everything goes in that. Nothing on the counter. Sanity saved!

  3. Joy M J says

    I have four kids, and we color-code everything possible: drinking cups, toothbrushes, bath towels, lunch boxes, whatever. Fortunately for us, our kids each have a different favorite color. When we cannot find an item in all four favorite colors (which is frequently), 3 favorites plus any other works. Our kids know that, when that happens, 3 kids get their favorite colors and the 4th gets whatever color is left over.
    I have all boys, and 3 of them are close to the same sizes, so to eliminate the arguments about who left socks on the floor or who took someone else’s, I buy different brands of socks and underwear for each boy.

      • Joy M J says

        Same size is great if they can share clothes, especially if the same-size kids share a bedroom. I had two who could share almost everything for about a year, and it was great! BUT, when they share, you can never tell who left their clothes all over the floor (or yard or car, etc.), and there are lots of fights over who is not doing his share of the room cleaning.

    • Valerie D. says

      I have five sons who are relatively close in age (10, 9, 7, 6, and 4)… Since clothing isn’t uniformly sized, a size 8 shirt could belong to my 6 year old while a pair of pants in a size 8 might belong to my 10 1/2 year old (true examples from our current closets!). When we rotate clothes (twice a year, with the season change), anything that fits/belongs to my oldest son gets one hash mark made on or near the tag with a sharpie…anything belonging to my 9 year old gets two hash marks as the second oldest and so forth down to my 4 year old who has five hashmarks on his shirts and pants.

      For socks, we buy all the same plain ole white athletic socks…green seamed toes are for the bigger feet (kids 1, 2, and 3) and the red seamed toes for the two younger boys…they’re in two bins in the sock drawer and they share. Underwear is a no share and they each usually pick their own designs/style…for the rare occasions when two will choose the same style, we stick hashmarks on the underwear as well!

  4. nancys1128 says

    No ideas about the dilemmas you mentioned, but I do have a toothpaste cap solution – buy tubes with the flip-tops. No caps to take off!

  5. says

    Christy, I loved these super-practical tips! The towel idea is genius!

    We have different colored cups from IKEA, so that has definitely helped. Sometimes my kids forget, though, and still throw their cups in the sink and then need a new one. But it’s definitely cut down on the problem. Thanks for sharing these!!

    • says

      My friend got those cups! I need to as well. The place mat has worked, but I need to re-build the habit. And it’s always nice to change it up a bit right?

  6. Celine says

    You can use a sharpie to color code socks by putting a dot on
    the toe or on clothes inside on the labels or a spot that won’t show
    through. A specific color for each kid. If something gets handed down to the next child then just add their colored dot next to it so you will know who it belongs to.

  7. Melissa says

    Love all of these! These are all very real issues in my house and #4 isn’t even mobile yet! Will be trying these tips.

  8. Kelli says

    I have three boys. We recently took a trip down to the paint your own ceramic shop and everyone painted a cup to hold their toothbrush, toothpaste, timer, and flosser. With excellent coverage, we hit the dentist every six months so we have a plethora of little toothpastes and toothbrushes. Occasionally I find one out of a cup and honestly, if there is more than one cup missing the brush, I throw them both out.

  9. Megan Dunn-Beaudoin says

    I bought one of those toothpaste dispensers that hangs on the bathroom mirror, and it has done wonders for my sanity. For one thing, I don’t have to worry about lids getting lost because with the dispenser, lids are needless! But the best part of all is not having a drawer FULL of toothpaste. Now the drawer has their toothbrushes, a little basket of floss, and a bottle of mouth wash. Now if I could figure out how to get the kids to not lose the mouth wash lid….

      • Megan Dunn-Beaudoin says

        I couldn’t find a link for the exact one I bought, but I got it at Wal-Mart, and for $10 it also came with a kid’s electric toothbrush… it was a no-brainer!

    • says

      I’ve seen those in Walmart. I’m always afraid I’d just come into the bathroom to huge piles of toothpaste beneath the dispenser, but if it’s working for you I might be persuaded to try it! Lids seem to be a universal problem. Maybe we should just uninvent them.

  10. Kristin says

    We have tiny bathrooms and three kids. My solution is one of those $0.97 hard plastic pencil boxes from Walmart. I throw all the brushes and paste in and snap the lid shut and it fits neatly on the shelf. It can get funky after a few days, so I try to run everything through the dishwasher once a week – brushes, box and all. Also – I’ve had success putting really yucky tubes of toothpaste through the dishwasher – gets all the hardened paste off – or most of it anyway.

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