Parenting isn’t easy. Not only are you embarking on one of the most exciting, frightening, joy-filled and frustrating experiences of your life, no one is going to hand you an instruction manual to help you figure out how to do it right.
Instead, you will have the difficult task of learning most of the secrets through the time-tested strategy of trial and error. Looking for a little help? We’ve collected a number of great tips, tricks and secrets in one place to help you out along the way.
22 Brilliant Hacks Designed to Make Every Parent’s Job Easier:
#1 – Create grips on otherwise slippery shoes or slippers using a hot glue gun.
We’ve all seen them, the adorable little toddler shoes or slippers that we can’t help but love, but as cute as they may be there is no grip and we can just picture our kids falling every time they try to walk. You can remedy this problem easily with a glue gun, just draw a design or write with glue on the bottom of the sole. When it dries, the glue will act as an effective shoe grip.
#2 – Create a pump bottle stopper with an elastic band.
Your child will eventually reach a time, if they haven’t already, where they want to do everything themselves. Some of this will go smoothly, sometimes, however, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. One such situation is the use of pump style lotions or soaps, where children end up with FAR more lotion than they could possibly need simply because they can’t help but push the pump down as far as it will possibly go. Take a rubber band and wrap it around the neck of the pump, creating a stopper so the pump will go only go down as far as necessary, saving yourself the money from wasted product, and the hassle of having to clean up after.
#3 – Extend the spout on your sink for kids that can’t quite reach using an empty lotion bottle.
Another task that your child likely wants to take on themselves is washing their own hands in the bathroom sink. Unfortunately, at the age they decide that they can start doing this, most kids can’t quite reach the spout to use it. One quick and easy way to make this easier involves using an empty lotion bottle. Cut the top off the bottle and cut one side free, leaving about ½ “ at the bottom of the side you are removing. Then cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle big enough to slide it over the spout of your bathroom tap. Now the water will run along the length of the bottle, extending the spout further into the sink so your little one can reach it.
#4 – Remove a splinter quickly and painlessly using baking soda.
All parents have faced that moment when their child is upset by the presence of a splinter in their finger, but they aren’t interested in allowing you to take it out due to the potential risk of pain. Here’s a trick that can remove it painlessly, keeping everyone happy. Mix up a paste of baking soda and water and rub it onto the location of the splinter. Wait, leaving it uncovered, and after a few minutes, it will begin to push the splinter right out so that you can grab it easily with a pair of tweezers.
#5 – Create cheap and effective ice packs with a sponge and a Ziploc bag.
Packing a child’s lunch can be a fun balancing act, discovering the happy medium between packing foods your children will enjoy eating and trying your best to ensure that they are getting everything that they need nutritionally. If the solution to this balance happens to be foods that require refrigeration, don’t waste your money on expensive ice packs (they will often magically disappear anyway). Instead, wet down a sponge and freeze it inside of a Ziploc bag. They work great, and the cost is so low that you won’t be heartbroken when they don’t come home.
#6 – Enjoy some mess-free painting time by placing paint inside of a Ziploc bag.
Arts and crafts time is a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of mess to clean up afterward. For some clean, mess-free fun with pain, put your child’s favorite color paint inside of a Ziploc bag. Tape the bag up onto the window or onto a table to keep it in place, and then let your child have fun. Swirling around on the bag they will create patterns and designs without any of the mess that generally comes from finger painting.
#7 – Banish monsters effectively from any space with a bottle of ‘monster spray.’
Sometimes being a parent means getting a little creative in order to work through their fears and concerns. Take an empty spray bottle and fill it with water. Decorate it up with some scrapbooking materials and craft supplies so that it reads ‘monster spray.’ Anytime your child is afraid to go to bed because of a monster under the bed or in the closet, simply pull out your monster spray to ensure that the space is completely safe.
#8 – Keep your child clean while they are enjoying that summer popsicle treat using a disposable coffee lid.
While popsicles make a great summer treat, as soon as they start melting they can also cause a huge mess. A simple disposable coffee lid can prevent this problem. Place the stick of the popsicle through the hole of the lid that you would normally drink through, allowing your child to hold it underneath the lid. The popsicle above will melt into the lid, which will collect the dripping before it reaches your child’s clothing.
#9 – Help your child to learn which shoe is which using ‘shoe stickers.’
If your child is struggling to learn the difference between left and right, this trick is a great one. Take a single sticker and cut it in half, placing the left half of the sticker inside the left shoe, and the right side in the right shoe so that when you look into the shoes when they are sitting on the ground in front of you, you can see the complete sticker together. This will help your child to line up which shoe is which before putting them on.
#10 – Use fabric softener in order to untangle troublesome doll hair.
If you have ever spent your evening trying to brush out your child’s doll hair while they anxiously awaited a beautiful head of hair instead of the knotted mess they came to you with, then you know that it can be nearly impossible. Good news. Rather than just fighting your way through, possibly pulling the hair right out of the doll’s head in the process, you can loosen up the knots using fabric softener. Using just 2 tablespoons of your go-to softener, add water to thin it out and then place the doll’s head directly into the mixture and allow it to sit. After a few short minutes, you will discover that the brush or comb will easily move through the doll’s hair. If there are still knots, just allow it to soak a little longer and try again.
#11 – Avoid unintentionally locked doors and quiet closing doors with a rubber band.
Take a rubber band and place it around the handle of your interior door, turning it so that it crosses across the latch on the side and then wrap it around the corresponding handle on the other side. The rubber band will hold the latch open so that it can’t physically latch on the door frame. This will work both to prevent your child from locking you out of a room and will quiet doors when a little one is sleeping.
#12 – Remove crayon from your walls using WD-40.
One right of passage that many parents will have to face at one time or another is the moment when your child decides that their artwork should come off the page and onto the walls or the floor. Crayon can be incredibly frustrating to try to clean off these surfaces. Try looking in the garage for the solution. WD-40 will effectively remove crayon, and the grease from the WD-40 is easily removed with a grease cutting dish soap. Your walls and floors will be clean and crayon free before you know it.
#13 – Keep your child safe outdoors and out of the sun using a playpen and a fitted sheet.
With a toddler in tow, it can seem impossible to even consider tackling the growing ‘to-do’ list of yard work, gardening, etc. This, however, is a quick and easy hack that will allow you to keep the little one contained and out of the sun all at the same time. Placing the playpen outside, simply stretch a fitted sheet over the top after your child is safely inside. The playpen will ensure that they can’t get into trouble, while the sheet will provide them with shade, protecting them from the sun. This also works to protect them from bugs.
#14 – Keep your extra pacifiers clean during travel using disposable plastic portion cups.
As a parent, you likely already know that there is no such thing as having too many pacifiers on hand when you’re on the go. The trick is trying to keep them clean of the dirt, dust, and crumbs that lurk everywhere, including in the bottom of your diaper bag. Purchase a number of the cheap plastic portion containers that are often used by restaurants for sauces. They are the perfect size to place a single pacifier in to keep them clean and safe.
#15 – Making giving your toddler medicine easier using a pacifier.
Rather than trying to put the medicine dropper directly into your toddler’s mouth, place the dropper into the back of an open pacifier. Your toddler will think they are just taking their favorite pacifier, making the experience far less frightening, meanwhile, you can effectively give the medication that they require.
#16 – Create a safety bracelet using numbered beads in case your child gets lost in public.
Using beads with numbers on them, create a beaded bracelet for your child to wear with your phone number. This way, if your child gets lots, regardless of how young they may be they can still provide a responsible adult with the number to call, even if they don’t remember their phone number off hand.
#17 – If your child isn’t interested in wearing a bracelet, using a fine tip marker and liquid Band-Aid to create a temporary safety tattoo.
Let’s be honest, not every child is interested in wearing a bracelet, nor will every child leave a bracelet on their wrist if asked to wear them. Another option to keep your child safe in public would be to write ‘If lost, call (insert number)’ on your child’s wrist, then paint over it with liquid Band-Aid. The liquid Band-Aid will ensure that it doesn’t budge.
#18 – Create a smaller, more contained bathing area for your toddler using a laundry basket.
So, your toddler has technically outgrown the little baby bath in the sink, but you’re not sure that you want to give them full reign of the tub quiet yet. Take a basic plastic rectangular laundry basket and place it in the bath, sitting your little one within the basket. The holes in the basket will allow the water through, however, it still keeps them contained in a smaller space. Note: This is not a solution to allow your toddler to bath unsupervised, but it can make it easier to keep them in a manageable space.
#19 – Add that special touch to your child’s tooth fairy earnings with glitter hairspray.
Unlike most of the other points on this list, this one isn’t about child safety, but it’s a fun way to bring a little extra joy into your child’s life. Before leaving the money beneath their pillow when they lose their next tooth, spray the money down with a bit of glitter hairspray. While it obviously won’t damage the money, that little extra touch of glitter will give it a ‘magical’ feel.
#20 – Clean up glitter easily using a lint roller.
Glitter is one craft supply that makes me cringe at the very thought of having to clean up after arts and craft time. It gets everywhere, and it appears for days to come. Good news, there is a simple trick that will effectively remove that glitter mess quickly and easily. Simply use a disposable lint roller, the kind with the removable sticky sheets, rolling it across your glitter spill. The lint roller will pick up and trap the glitter long enough for you to dispose of it once and for all.
#21 – Prevent your child(ren) from slamming their fingers in the door using a pool noodle.
Pool noodles are a great summer toy, available everywhere from big box stores to bargain shops, but did you know they can help keep your child safe around the house? Cut one side of a pool noodle open allowing you to slide it over the side of the door. This creates a ‘bumper’ that will prevent your child(ren) from slamming the door by stopping it from closing. This is key in preventing little fingers from getting hurt.
#22 – Keep your kids busy while on the move by creating a portable coloring kit in an Altoid box.
We’ve all seen the elaborate (and sometimes expensive) travel games and kits to provide your child with portable entertainment, but did you know you could make one easily on your own? An Altoid box is the perfect size to store crayons. Add some small pieces of paper, or folded up paper, into your little coloring kit and you can throw it in your purse or diaper bag as an easy fix for boredom while you’re out and about.