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Challenge: Keeping Your Cool

Mom Hacks to Take the Stress out of Shopping and Eating Out With Kids

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I'm pretty good at keeping my cool when it comes to this mom gig. Cool as a cucumber All. The. Time. OK, fine, I'm kidding. Keeping your cool when your kids are acting a fool out in public is zero fun, and no one wants to break out that scary mom voice in the middle of Target. Oh, but we'll do it. Since this isn't my first rodeo, I've learned that being prepared for just about anything helps to keep those times when you're out with your kids--especially when you're in a restaurant or in a store-- a little less stressful. So here's my favorite mom hacks to take the stress out of shopping and eating out with your kids.

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Restaurant Hacks- Sure someday it'll be less stressful to take them out to eat, but until then, here’s a few hacks to help you survive and enjoy a meal out with your kids.

  • Save yourself from passing out from blowing on too hot food by asking for a separate plate to come with your child’s meal. Usually the side plates aren’t hot and you can cool the food faster on another plate--a few ice cubes help too.
  • I was never a fan of having my kids’ meals come before ours until I started ordering their dessert to be served the same time as the adults’ entrees. Now they’re happier because they get their meals sooner, and we’re happier because we eat our meals in peace because they’re digging into their yummy dessert.
  • Hack items at your table into games for your kids
    • Magic Inch Worms- Squish down the wrappers to a few straws and use the straw to put a few drops of water onto the paper and watch it grow. You can even have races to see whose inch worm can cross a finish line first.
    • Balancing Act- Put a small pile of salt on the table and see how long it takes everyone to balance the salt shaker on its side in the pile of salt.
    • What’s Missing- Using sugar packets, straws, silverware, and anything else at the table, create a display. Then have everyone cover their eyes and remove a few items to see if your kids can figure out what you’ve taken away.
    • Tic Tac Toe- Straws and two different colored sugar packets make the perfect supplies for a game of table tic-tac-toe.
    • Grab Some Dough- If you’re at a pizza place or a restaurant that makes their own tortillas, ask for a small ball of dough for your kids to play with.
  • Using a plastic container that has different compartments, bring your own goodies for entertainment. From stickers, Legos, and inexpensive toys they’ve never seen before, you can entertain your kids with your small box of tricks.
  • Did you forget a bib for your baby? Hack a bib with a napkin and a pacifier clip or hair tie.
  • When the food comes, ask for the bill and take out containers. If things go downhill fast, no need to stress, you can make a quick getaway.

Shopping Hacks- From a trip to the grocery store or a stroll through the mall, here’s a few hacks to make a shopping trip with your kids less stressful.

  • If you’re shopping with more than one kid, grab with a few pencil pouches. You’ll be shocked at how much you can fit into these zippered pouches—snacks, toys, diapers, wipes, and even extra pacifiers. You can keep everyone entertained so you can shop and you won’t need a huge diaper bag in the store.
  • Don’t let a diaper blow-out cut your shopping trip short! In a small travel spray bottle, mix water and a few drops of coconut oil and toss it in your diaper bag. This magic mixture is perfect when there’s a diaper blow-out and you’re in need of serious cleanup. This mixture works well on dried-on messes too.
  • When you get to the grocery store, use a carabiner hook to hang your purse, diaper bag, and reusable bags to save on cart space.
  • When checking out at the grocery store, ask them to bag all of your freezer food together and refrigerated food together so you can quickly unpack at home.
  • Use pacifier clips to keep snack containers attached to the grocery cart or stroller
  • Leave foldable laundry baskets in your car to easily carry all your groceries or bags inside your house in one trip.

And the best mom hack for taking the stress out of shopping and eating out with your kids---skip those trips when they are tired, crabby or look like this:


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