A Life Hack for Mom: 10 Uses for the Flashlight
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Sometimes the simplest things can save a parenting “situation.” It’s about finding new uses for everyday items and finding solutions for common childhood problems, using what we already have creatively and efficiently. That’s a parenting life hack.
The flashlight is a prime example. Invented at the end of the 19th century, it continues to light our way out of some of our darker parenting moments. Here are 10 uses for one of our most essential parenting tools.
1. Keeping your mellow during middle-of-the-night feedings. There’s nothing worse than a harsh light when you’re up for those 2 a.m. feedings. A strategically placed flashlight (pointed against the wall, for example) won’t jar you awake and maybe, just maybe, help ease everyone back to sleep without harshing your mellow.
2. Finding your magazine/e-reader in your sleeping baby’s room. So you’ve finally gotten the baby to sleep and are ready for a little “me time” with some easy reading. Problem is, you left the e-reader in the baby’s room—again. Your choices are to either stumble around in the dark and risk setting off the booby trap of noisemaking toys surrounding the crib, or turn on the lights and jar your baby awake with harsh light. Both may set you back an hour or so if the baby wakes up—unless you have a flashlight, that is. Then you can sneak in like a cat burglar in the thick of night, avoid the booby traps, and read away.
3. Scaring away the monsters. Sure, we can tell our toddlers that there are no monsters under the bed or in their closets, but can we prove it? Yes, we can! Whip out the flashlight and dispel their theory forever, or at least until the following night. Pretty soon, you’ll just do a preemptive sweep as part of your bedtime routine—your very own neighborhood watch for monsters.
4. Hotel survival tool. When you’re sharing a hotel room with your kids, you may find yourself wide awake at, say, 8:30 p.m. while the little ones are sleeping away. You can’t very well leave them. Sure, you could sit outside the hotel door trying to relive your college dorm days, chatting with your neighbors, but there’s a small risk that someone will call management and end the part-ay. So there you are, in the dark, awake. Luckily, you read somewhere (cough, cough) that when you have kids, you should never travel without a flashlight. Bingo! You can now read under the covers or in the closet.
5. First sleepover. While most kids will be beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of their first sleepover, the middle-of-the-night bathroom run in an unfamiliar house may cause them some anxiety—unless, that is, the lucky kid’s parents snuck a flashlight in his overnight bag. And, in the event that there may be monsters under his friend’s bed, he’s ready for a pre-bedtime sweep.
6. Best party favor ever! Let’s face it: Most party favors are basically landfill. Not so with the flashlight. It is useful, gender-neutral, and it’s guaranteed to last long past the drive home from the party. Use metallic or brightly colored markers to personalize each one with the guest’s name.
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