One person’s dream job is another person’s nightmare, but most people will agree that parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is. It is no small feat to raise a child, not to mention keeping it fed, clothed and happy. One way to make this seemingly insurmountable task a little easier is to learn from those who were there before you. We reached out to parents and asked them for their best tips and hacks. Some of what they sent in is amazing, while other things may seem a little strange. Keep reading for some lifesaving tricks, including why gluing pennies to your kids’ shoes is actually a great idea!
The Baby Duster
There is a phase in which babies, when they are not sleeping, spend a significant portion of the day crawling all over the floor.
It is good for their development, they enjoy it, so why not make use of their endeavors to keep things clean? All you have to do is attach dusters to their onesies and your baby duster is ready to go.
Spray Away the Monsters
Little kids have big imaginations, and most go through a phase in which they scare themselves by imagining monsters hiding under the bed or in the closet. Help them feel safe by creating your very own “monster spray” from an old spray bottle!
Fill it with water and watch them spray their worries away.
Before you head out for a day of family fun, it’s a good idea to snap a picture of the entire family. If one of your kids gets lost, you won’t have to rack your brain for what they were wearing or how they wore their hair.
You just have to look at the picture or show it around and it will include the perfect description.
Command Hook Bib Hanger
It seems like you can never find a bib when you need it most. Keep them in one place, instead of all over the house, using a command hook.
Just attach it to the back of the highchair and you will always have a bib available when it’s time for the baby to eat.
It’s not easy to go to the beach with your toddler. Not only do you have to bring practically your entire house worth of stuff, but you also worry constantly about them getting into the water if you look away for a second. Keep them where you can see them at all times by making your own playpen.
Take a fitted sheet and keep it up by securing the corners with coolers and other beach essentials. Now you can enjoy the sunshine.
Cutting your child’s toenails is not the most enjoyable activity but stepping on a piece of toenail that was left on the floor is downright gross.
Use tape while snipping to make sure that the clippings stick and can then be thrown straight in the trash.
Paint the Fence
On a warm summer’s day, it is always nice to laze around outside and relax, but that is not usually possible when you have small children. An idea to keep them busy is to “paint” the fence.
Paintbrushes and a bucket of water will do the trick, and they have a fun activity to do and see instant results.
Turn Your Floor into a Drawing Board
You don’t actually have to let your kids draw on the floor to encourage their creativity. You can use a vinyl shower curtain and some masking tape and turn your living room floor into a drawing board.
Give them some whiteboard markers and they can draw and erase and keep themselves busy and entertained for hours. Just make sure they understand that this doesn’t mean they can draw on the actual floor in the future.
There are some nights in which your kid simply will not go to sleep without you sitting beside them, but you may have things to do or simply be too tired yourself. You can give them that comforting feeling without actually being there, by filling a glove with rice or dried beans.
They will feel the weight of your hand on their back and peacefully drift off to sleep.
Rubber bands can be used for almost anything. Just look at the photo below!
In this example, you can keep kids from using too much soap and leaving a sink full of bubbles by securing one around the liquid soap’s pump nozzle.
A Place for Everything...
Habits that are instilled when we are young tend to stick around through the rest of our lives. That’s why it’s a good idea to teach kids to put away their toys right from the start. A good example is this parking garage for toy cars.
Each car has its own space where it can be placed when the game is done. Hopefully, this will help teach them to put their clothes away when they are teenagers.
Feet, Actual Size
Some kids don’t like to go shoe shopping and some parents would rather do the shopping without their kids. If you're one of them, this tip is for you.
To make sure you have the right shoe size even without the foot, you can trace your child’s foot and record their measurements and take that with you to the store.
Bring Your Fort Outside
Forts guarantee hours of pleasure for kids and parents alike.
Here’s an easy way to set one up outside, hang an old sheet on a hula-hoop, use string to attach the contraption to some tree branches and create a special space for your child to enjoy.
Letting your kids’ creativity run wild and not getting the house dirty is a win-win in our book.
Instead of donating or throwing out your old sheets, let your kids draw on them to their heart’s content.
Homemade Water Slide
On a hot day, there is nothing better than a little water fun, and all you need to create a makeshift water slide are a hose and a plastic sheet.
So, the next time you get a new piece of furniture or a shiny appliance, save the plastic sheeting for a sunny day.
Pacifiers, for obvious reasons, need to be kept clean. You can do that on the go by using cleaned out sauce containers with lids.
Pretty good trick, right?
Clean to Eat
Teenagers are notoriously bad at cleaning their rooms, so this mom decided that all her child needed was some extra motivation.
We are sure that in this instance, the room was spick and span way before dinner.
Paint by Baggies
It’s important to help your child develop their artistic side but somehow doing so always seems to mean more mess for you to clean up. Here is an easy way to let them be creative without making a mess.
Add three drops of colored paint to water inside a Ziploc bag and let them go wild.
We all know how it ends when your child takes a big bite of a juicy hot dog with ketchup. They really enjoy it, but unfortunately so does their face and their clothes.
Next time try putting the ketchup on the bun before putting in the hot dog. Same great taste, less need to use a stain remover.
Not Just for Shoes
Shoe organizers can be the perfect place to keep all your flats, but they are also good for so much more.
Hang them in the kids’ room behind the door or even in the car and you will be able to keep all the toys organized in little compartments, but also accessible.
Screen Time Savings
It’s not easy to get your kids to do their chores, but it is important for them to feel responsible and capable from a young age. You can motivate them using this hack. Kids can earn screen time by completing chores.
Each one is worth a different amount according to its complexity or duration. In this way then can have a sense of accomplishment and feel like they worked for something.
Easy Door Stopper
It doesn’t matter how many times you tell your child not to lock the bathroom door, somehow, they end up locked inside at least once. Instead of going through the trouble of removing the lock, simply use a rubber band on the doorknob.
It will keep the door from closing fully, meaning your child is never locked in.
One English mother was incredibly annoyed when her child’s dirty stroller wheels kept messing up her carpet every day. She found herself repeatedly scrubbing the dirt and stains out of the carpet. Until she had an ingenious idea.
One day inspiration struck, and since then she has been using shower caps to keep the stroller tires isolated and her carpet mess-free.
As kids get older, they don’t really need their pacifier as much, but use it more out of habit. That doesn’t mean it is easy for them to give it up though. To make the binky less appealing, you simply cut away a small piece of the nipple.
They won’t enjoy sucking on it as much and might even decide to get rid of it themselves.
Children and permanent markers should not mix, but unfortunately, they sometimes do end up in contact and your furniture and walls usually pay the price.
Luckily, it turns out that you can use toothpaste to rub away the mark.
Feel like your child spills more of their beverages than they drink and leave you with a mess to clean up? Then this little trick is perfect for you! Buy some crazy straws and swap them out for regular straws in your child’s favorite drink.
Put them in upside down, so your child won’t be able to pull them out and cause a mess.
It’s no surprise that kids have a lot of energy and are always looking for something new to do. If you are looking for a way to mix things up, you can make your own racetrack for them using your carpet and masking tape.
They can use the toy cars they already have, the variations are endless, and the tape won’t hurt the rug!
It is hard enough to load all your groceries into the car without worrying about your kids wandering into traffic.
Use Parking Pal stickers to make sure they stick around and stay safe!
Keep Your Apples Fresh
Do your kids love apples but refuse to eat them by the time they open their lunchboxes because they are brown? Here is a quick fix for that: after you cut them up, add a pinch of salt and then mix them up with water.
The salty taste will not linger, but the chemical reaction will keep them fresh all day!
Toddlers want to explore everything, but sometimes things are not safe, or you just don’t want them to make a mess.
Instead of investing in expensive and complicated childproofing equipment, use a hair tie and simply wrap it around the cabinet handles to keep them from opening.
Daniel Eisenman inadvertently became an internet sensation while shooting a Facebook Live video. He was snuggling with his new baby when she began to cry, but he found a way to calm her down and he didn’t even have to get out of bed. Daniel was talking about surfing, but when his daughter Divina began to cry, he immediately started oming to her.
He was using the familiar yoga chant to soothe the baby and it worked like a charm. Divina calmed down and went straight back to sleep!
Say Goodbye to the Bend-Over Blues
Small children love to throw their toys from the stroller or high chair and have adults pick them up. This can leave parents grumpy and with an aching back.
Nip this problem in the bud by attaching the toys straight to the chair using the clips from the baby gym.
Fluffy Pain Relief
Kids are full of energy; they run around and play and often fall and get hurt. Leaving them with gashes and bruises and the need for some comfort and pain relief. One mother noticed that her children don’t like the feel of ice packs because they are too cold and don’t feel nice. Meaning, they weren’t actually being used or offering much pain relief. Instead, she came up with the idea of making marshmallow packs.
She put the sweet treats in Ziploc bags and placed them in the freezer. The marshmallows cooled down but didn’t freeze, and stayed soft and pliable so that they could be used to wrap around knees and elbows. Also, the promise of a treat after the marshmallows warmed up helps everyone feel better.
A Home Remedy for Minor Burns
Even minor burns can be scary and painful. If your child suffers a small burn that doesn’t need medical attention, you can make them feel better with this home remedy.
Soak a facecloth or paper towel in vinegar and place on the burn. Not only will it cool things off and lessen the pain, but it will also help keep the skin from forming blisters.
At Arm’s Length
Babies can get frustrated looking for their toys, which have drifted away during bath time, making washing them a real chore. All you need to do to keep them happy is add a laundry basket to your bath routine.
Just put the basket in the bath and fill it with toys. Your baby will have everything they want within reach and you can concentrate on getting them clean.
Pool Noodle Finger Protector
It sometimes seems like doors are actively trying to catch the fingers of small children, causing a lot of unnecessary pain and tears.
To keep little fingers safe, simply attach a pool noodle to the side of the door, that way doors will be unable to slam shut and hurt them.
That New Shoe Look
As a rule, kids are pretty hard on their shoes, but that doesn’t mean you have to worry about every scuff mark.
At the end of the day, all you have to do to make them look brand new is fill in the scratches with a properly hued crayon.
No More Bath Time Blues
Trying to wash your baby’s hair is a daily ordeal. The soap gets in their eyes and they get angry and upset and ironically refuse to let you wash their eyes out with water.
Instead, you can use an umbrella band which lets baby enjoy bath time while you manage to get their hair really clean for once.
Use a Pool as a Play Pen
You don’t need a fancy playpen to keep your child entertained, an inflatable pool will do the trick and won’t put such a strain on your wallet.
Just inflate, place it in the middle of your living room and let the fun begin.
When your baby is sick you are often sleep-deprived and not at your best. If they need medicine and you want to make sure that you don’t miss giving them a dose or accidentally giving them too much, use a sharpie to create a medicine schedule on the side of the bottle.
This will keep you up to date and on track.
Want to give your kids a summer treat that is actually healthy and they can help you make? All you have to do is take a yogurt they like, cut a hole in the lid, put in a popsicle stick and freeze.
The yogurt will be less messy to eat, and it can help cool them down on a hot day.
Make Baby Food Prep Easier
Cooking baby food in small batches is a waste of time. It is just as easy to make big batches that you can use for a whole week.
You can freeze the prepared food in ice cube trays and then mix and match the different fruits and vegetables.
Have your kids inadvertently turned the living room into a Slip ‘N Slide?
You can solve the problem by putting puffy fabric paint on the bottom of their socks and keep them on solid ground.
Quick Cool Down
Kids don’t like putting on seat belts on their best days, but if it’s really hot out and the metal is scorching, then they are definitely not going to cooperate.
Keep a water spray bottle around and use it to cool down the seat belt buckles.
Magic Fairy Money
You can make the tooth fairy seem more real and the money she leaves more special by adding just a bit of sparkle.
Use glitter hairspray to give the bills a little extra shine. Don’t use too much, just enough to make losing teeth a little more fun.
Burritos in a Jar
Everybody loves burritos, it doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an adult, but parents love the mess their kids leave behind after eating one much less.
Keep the mess to a minimum by serving them in a mason jar. That should help your kid keep their burrito from spilling the beans.
Teether On the Go
Parents of teething babies know how hard it is to give them some relief. There is very little you can do, and their pain is extremely hard to bear. One father from Queens, New York, came up with this helpful hack. Whenever he was taking his teething baby out for the day, he would keep the baby’s teether in a Klean Kanteen full of ice water.
This kept the teether cool all day and ready to offer relief when needed.
For Perfect Snow Blocks
Building an igloo in the snow is one of those activities that make winter fun, and if your kid is looking to make theirs extra authentic, you can help them out with a simple Tupperware container.
Just use any size container to form “bricks” and let their imaginations run wild.
Rounding the Corners
It can be slightly scary when babies start to crawl and walk. They fall and run into things multiple times a day and it is hard to keep them safe.
Coffee tables with sharp corners, especially, seem to be the perfect height for babies to hit their heads. Make those sharp corners round by putting a pool noodle on the side.
Teaching your kids new things in a fun way is an amazing experience for you and them. If they have outgrown their basic blocks, repurpose them into spelling blocks.
Simply write words on the bigger pieces and letters on the smaller pieces. Kids will enjoy putting them together and learn how to read and spell new words in an enjoyable way.
Long car trips with small children can be torturous, especially when they start getting into each other’s space. These parents decided to divide and conquer by creating kid compartments in the back seat.
The kids won’t be able to bother each other and hopefully will fall asleep as soon as you hit the road.
Shower Caddy to the Rescue
A shower caddy is not just convenient for your shower stuff but can also be used to hold meals on the road.
Pack one along on your next long trip and it will help your toddler eat in a more organized way and keep your car much cleaner.
Kleenex is good for more than just blowing your nose. It can even help you teach your child how to hold the pencil correctly.
All you have to do is put a wad of it behind their last two fingers and it will help keep their writing on track.
Another way to make learning fun is to place a magnetic board on one of your child’s bedroom walls. They can play with numbers and letters and try to do math or spell.
This will give them the confidence to experiment and learn, but also the joy of playtime.
Although we don’t always do this, everybody knows that toothbrushes need to be replaced every three months. One mother from Cambridge, Ontario, took this rule to heart and set up her 6-year-old with Dory toothbrushes for the whole year. What she didn’t plan on, was her daughter throwing out the brushes too soon and running out early.
The mother solved the problem by putting expiration dates on the brushes, including months and relevant symbols. Not only did this make the toothbrushes more fun, but also helped her daughter dispose of them on schedule.
You can use the dishwasher for more than plates and saucers.
It actually does a great job on toys and even shoes.
It’s Chore O’clock
Structure is very important for kids, but a schedule is a hard thing to stick to. They are always asking for just five more minutes, and you have your own things around the house to take care of. Keep them on track with a color-coded clock.
They know what they are supposed to be doing at all times and can be held accountable if they are not doing them.
While making crafts is fun and creative, the cleanup can be a little less enjoyable with sequins and sparkles left all over the table and floor.
Gather these easily by wrapping a wide piece of tape around your hand with the sticky side up and let the leftovers stick to you. This will leave your home sparkle-free in no time.
DIY Toothbrush holder
Although you use them in your mouth every day, they have the potential to be really gross. Toothbrushes can collect bacteria while sitting on the counter or in a cup. Instead, make your own toothbrush holder using just a clothespin.
Let each child choose their favorite color to avoid confusion.
A Family to Match
Sick of losing sight of your kids in crowded places?
Next time you head to the mall, dress everyone in eye-catching, matching clothing that will help you keep everyone accounted for.
DIY Baby Tent
Want to work in the yard or even just relax outside with a book, but are afraid that you won’t hear your baby in the crib?
Simply take the whole thing outside, put a fitted sheet on top and you have a makeshift tent.
The Old Switcheroo
We do not support lying to your kids but making them take their medicine when they really need it may be a pretty good exception. You take the child’s favorite drink but secretly place the straw into the medicine.
Make sure to immediately let them drink their beverage of choice afterward, or you are going to be dealing with the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums.
Is your house filled with cups that your child took out of the cupboard but never put away? Save yourself the mess and the washing up by attaching magnets to their favorites.
Just leave them hanging on the fridge. Your kids will get a kick out of it and will know where to find them when they’re thirsty.
Pizza Box Canvas
Not sure what to do with your empty pizza boxes after family movie night?
You can turn them into a canvas for your kids and fold them up and throw them away when they are done.
Instilling good eating habits is important, but everybody needs a little treat now and then. To keep your kids from finishing all the candy in the house before you can have any, you need to be sneaky.
Keep a bag of something healthy in the freezer and use it to hide your sweet stash. There is no way they are ever going to accidentally find it.
Making Cleaning Fun
Kids don’t like being told to clean up their toys, but they do like to feel adult and help around the house, especially if you make it into a game for them.
Just give them a tiny broom, use tape to circle a tile in the living room and you end up with a fun activity that leaves the house a little cleaner.
Hiring a babysitter is often a stressful situation, especially if they are new. It’s always a good idea to have any information they might need on hand.
Print out this template and put it in a picture frame. You can use an erasable marker to add in the information relevant to the specific occasion.
DIY Picnic Table for Kids
Did you know that you can use your child’s play table outside as well?
All you have to do is wrap it in oilcloth to make sure that it can withstand the elements and you are ready to go on a picnic.
Pennies on the Soles of Their Shoes
It’s hard to get your kids moving in the morning when it’s time to go to school, or honestly, anywhere else. Make putting on their shoes and getting out the door more entertaining by taping pennies to the bottom of their shoes.
The sound will make them want to get going as fast as they can.
DIY Noise Dampener
If one of your childless friends or family members made the mistake of purchasing a really loud toy for your child, don’t worry, you don’t have to throw it away and lie about it. Simply cover the toy’s speaker with a piece of tape to dampen the noise.
Your child will still enjoy it, just at a more reasonable volume.
DIY Baby Bath
Baby baths can be expensive and not always convenient, plus they take up storage space when you are done using them. Why not make your own with an old pillowcase and a dollar store pool noodle?
The noodle will keep the baby floaty, while the pillowcase supports their body comfortably. Making the difficult and stressful task of bathing a newborn easier for both the baby and its parents.
Although it is temporary and for a worthy cause, it is still hard on your back to bend over and help while your child is learning to walk. One dad came up with a way to keep us all from hunching. His solution included, unbelievably – a hula-hoop!
He posted a YouTube video in which he used the top of the hoop as a place for the parent to hold, while the baby is holding the bottom. That way you both get to keep your back straight.
Pool Noodle Protector
Trampolines are always good fun, until someone lands on the metal part and ends up crying.
In order to avoid painful or dangerous accidents, wrap cut up pool noodles around the metal bits and keep your kids safe.
A simple fact of life is that even when they need it most, kids do not like taking their medicine. Instead of forcing them to take it and dealing with a lot of tears, just use a pacifier to sneak it in.
You can cut off a small piece at the tip, place a medicine dropper in the hole and voila! We’re feeling better already.
No More Lost Socks
Making sure all your socks are in pairs is hard enough, but when it comes to teeny tiny baby socks, keeping track of them is nearly impossible.
To ensure that all the socks will come out of the wash in pairs, simply place them in a mesh laundry bag beforehand.
Cleanup on the Clock
Another way to make kids hop to it and start cleaning their rooms is by turning it into a game.
Use an egg timer to set a time limit and sit back and enjoy the show!
Painting of the Day
Do your kids love to paint and draw and leave you feeling like you’re always running around the house looking for clean paper? Or worse, they look for it themselves in your home office and end up leaving a mess? Just try this neat trick.
The frame will inspire them to change things up each day or maybe even more than once a day, and the paper will not need to be changed very often.
Kids are almost always hungry and asking for a snack. To keep from running back and forth to get something for them and also to teach them independence, you can pre-prepare your snacks in bins and with portion instructions.
That way if they are hungry, they can just help themselves.
Band-Aid Plug Protectors
Sometimes you just don’t have time to get to the hardware store but still want to protect open sockets from little prying fingers.
A good temporary fix for this problem is to use band-aids to seal the plugs, but only until you buy actual plug protectors.
Did junior have a hard time limiting his artistic talents to paper or canvas yet again?
If your walls have just become more colorful than intended, you can use WD-40 to quickly and easily remove crayon stains.
Personalized Bulletin Boards
If to-do lists and chore charts help you get things done, why shouldn’t the same be true for your kids? Personalized bulletin boards can help your kids stay on top of their chores, homework, and schedules.
For best results, hang them somewhere they have to stop, like where they take off their shoes or their bedrooms.
Bath Toys Hack
Bath toys make bath time way more fun, but often end up disgusting and filled with mold. To keep this from happening, use a hot glue gun to seal the toy’s hole before putting it in the bath.
There won’t be a way for water to get in and the toy won’t get moldy.
Drip and Catch
Summer wouldn’t be summer without a few popsicles, but if you don’t want to have to launder your kids’ shirts every few hours, try this trick.
An upside-down coffee lid catches all the drips and drabs and there is even a hole for the stick!
The Shoe Is on the Right Foot
This usually happens when they insist on being independent and want to put on their shoes by themselves but somehow always seem to be putting the left shoe on the right foot and vice versa.
Help them figure out which shoe belongs to which foot by splitting a sticker in two and placing half in each shoe. They can solve the puzzle and get their shoes on correctly.
Easier Splinter Removal
Getting rid of a splinter is usually a difficult and painful ordeal, but baking soda and water can make it easier to endure.
Simply place the mixture on the injured area for several minutes. The baking soda will help the splinter come out of the skin, making the removal less painful and traumatic.
Children often get loud and restless on plane rides. Keep them busy with a set of removable stickers that they can stick and unstick to the window to make different designs.
They will have something to do and the other passengers will be eternally grateful.
Everybody loves glitter, except for parents who are forced to clean it up. A lint roller is a great way to cut down on the work of gathering glitter.
Roll it around in the sparkly places and see how the glitter just sticks right to it.