My {Secret Weapons} :: Tricks for Littles from an Experienced Mom


tricks for littlesBatman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America all have one thing in common with moms.  They all have secret weapons!

Yes, that’s right…when faced with insurmountable obstacles like tired toddlers or colicky infants…Moms can turn into superheroes!

I’ll be honest, with my first baby I didn’t feel like much of a super anything (okay, maybe a super-tired and frustrated, formerly sane woman).  

But, now that I’ve got four babies under my belt, I’ve got the game down. That’s not to say that I know all the answers — but rather that I’ve found a few strategies that work really well for us and we’ve had the chance to test and perfect them over the past five years in babyville.

Today, I’m going through my mental Rolodex of best tricks and sharing them with you. 

Best Trick for Colicky or Unhappy Babies

Colic Calm

I’m not talking plain “gripe water” or any other “colic soother” but this one specifically.  Its main ingredient is vegetable charcoal. It’s black, thick, and will stain. It will make poop look like coal. But, I will accept no substitutes.  

I wish I had this product with my first child. But, I discovered it in time to use it on the last three and, happily pay the $20 a bottle to use it still today. Why? Because it works.  My children have had problems with hiccups, reflux, gas, digestion, teething, you know, all the normal stuff.  We even went so far as to try prescription meds for a few weeks on my oldest two.  I finally figured out that my breastfeeding diet was key to keeping their digestive issues at bay (I wrote about that here.)  But, during times when it has been impossible to avoid chocolate, dairy, tomatoes and everything else my babies didn’t tolerate — Colic Calm has been my saving grace.  

Sometimes it takes two doses (you can do one every 30 minutes).  It has the amazing ability to get out stuck burps, soothe upset bellies, and, as their literature points out, create sleep.  I never leave home without it.  (I normally order mine online but you can also find it at CVS or BuyBuy Baby)

Best Trick for Happy Toddlers & Preschoolers

Staying on Schedule

Some read those words and think loving thoughts about me. Others think, “That’s sooooo crazy restrictive!”  Debate around scheduling is everywhere. You can read, ad nauseum about different methods, options, and ideas for it. Today, I’m just casting my vote for schedules and sharing what I’ve discovered to be their merit.  

We do morning naps for baby and afternoon naps for everyone age 4 and under, and we have bed time for all.  These times are sacred.  

Meal times shift a little. But, sleep times we do not mess with.  I don’t decide to go shopping, meet friends, do a play date, or anything during these times. Yes, we sometimes miss out.  We leave events early to try to make it home as close as we can to these appointed times (or miss them by no more than an hour and infrequently).  I’ve found that I also, very rarely, have behavioral issues with my children when they are well-rested.  

Here’s my logic: If, because of over-tiredness, I spend the entire time I am out carrying a screaming child or bribing a disagreeable one, I’m not enjoying my time out anyway.  No thanks!  I’d rather just “miss out” at home and skip the drama.

The other advantage of schedules: When you have another baby you can predict potential mommy breaks!  Numerous times I have counted down the minutes until “nap time” because I knew that if I could get the baby to sleep (or chill in a swing) during that time, I would have a break! Because my children are accustomed to being asleep at the same time, every single day, they rarely fight it and my respite is almost guaranteed!

Best Trick for Early Risers


He sings, he barks and he lets me get some more sleep.  We also owned Scout’s predecessor – the earliest Leap Frog prototype of this toy — named Tad.  We would never have dreamed of letting any of our 12-24 month olds go to bed without one of these guys.

Scout (or his lady version: Violet) will play soothing classical music on a timer as your child goes to sleep.  That’s great and we use it.  But, what we have especially loved is the fact that these toys are the perfect entertainment for a baby who needs more sleep but finds themselves awake at, say, 5:30am.  

My littles have all learned to grab their Leapfrog friends, play a few songs, and then turn on the sleepy time music and go back to sleep for another few hours.  It’s an “I’m bored so I’ll cry” prevention trick! Since it’s unsafe to have a lot of toys in a baby bed, and stuffed toys can be dangerous, Scout is an entertaining toy that is soft enough to sleep with yet not so squishy he could suffocate an older baby.

All children are different. What works on mine, might not work on yours, etc…etc… I’m offering these tips in the spirit of, “Hey, here are some ideas that worked for me!”  So use them at will. If they work for you please comment and let me know!

Have other “Supermom” tricks?

Please share them in the comments below too!



**This post was originally featured on Dallas Moms Blog in June 2013.


  1. Great article! I am a scheduler for sure, love it! My son turns 1 next week and now because of you, he will be getting a Scout. Thanks!

  2. Heather! Love your ideas…what would you say about a 3 almost 4 year old boy tot who has all the signs of being ready for potty training but doesn’t let you know when he needs to go. He also isn’t very fond of the whole process :(( We’ve tried it before but it drove him to tears so am a little nervous about how to approach it this time for fear of pushing him further from it. This is keeping him from preschool as they require potty-trained students :/


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