These Parenting Hacks Will Make You Feel Like a Wiz
Being a parent is time-consuming and difficult, no matter the age of your kids, so it’s always nice to find a solution to some of the inevitable problems that arise with the job.
Enter the parenting hack. Parents the world over have figured out plenty of shortcuts when it comes to rearing their offspring, and thanks to the internet, we can all share in the glory and end up feeling like we did something amazing.
We combed through hundreds of hacks, some we’ve used ourselves, to find 15 that are kid-tested, parent-approved and, honestly, lifesavers.
The Problem: Nail Clipping
All the joys new parents feel come to a screeching halt the first time they try to clip their baby’s fingernails or toenails and realize it’s harder than putting toothpaste back in the tube.
Babies are fussy, especially when you’re messing with their hands. And clipping can even wake them up if you try it while they’re napping.
The Hack: A Forward-Facing Carrier
A terrific workaround is to place them in their carrier facing forward with their arms under a strap.
This way, Mom or Dad has complete control of both their hands and baby’s hands or feet. Plus, baby won’t fuss around as much or at all when secured in the carrier.
The Problem: Too Much Paint
For some reason, youngsters just adore paint and getting paint all over everything.
Since paint is designed to stick around through various weather patterns and wear and tear, this creates a huge problem.
The Hack: A ‘Protective’ Clear Paint
So, next time you have to paint something, like the fence or garage door, and your little one wants to join in on the “fun,” give them an unused paint brush and a bucket of water.
Tell them it’s their job to apply the “protective” clear coat, and they will be “painting” for hours.
The Problem: Growing Out of the Crib
One of the most expensive child investments early on is the crib, especially since it’s advised to buy a brand-new one.
They can set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you invest in a more high-end, convertible one that can be used as baby turns into a toddler.
The Hack: Transform It Into a Desk
Eventually, baby will grow out of the crib completely, but that doesn’t mean it should become useless.
Just fashion it into a playstation desk and give yourself a hearty pat on the back.
The Problem: Keeping Sand at Bay
Do you long for a beach afternoon with other parents but don’t want your little ones to get covered in sand?
The Hack: A Fitted Bed Sheet
Try using a fitted bed sheet to make an impromptu playpen, and weigh it down with several bags, coolers or anything else that may be able to hold it in place.
It’s an ingenious idea that should be the envy of all those who didn’t think of it first.
The Problem: Backseat Fights in the Car
We can hardly imagine the difficulty in caring for three kids who were all born at once, so any parent in this situation will be our go-to for hack ideas.
Take this Ohio dad who’s incredibly versed in the art of shortcutting, especially when it comes to backseat car fights.
The Hack: Create a Barrier
In order to prevent his kids from beating each other up in the backseat of the car and distracting him while driving, he simply places sturdy foam boards between their seats.
The Problem: Wasting Cardboard
Why is that everything you buy your kid comes with loads of cardboard boxes and wasteful plastic packaging?
It’s enough to make a parent feel quite guilty for choosing convenience over the planet.
The Hack: Thinking ‘Inside’ the Box
While we all want to encourage our kids to be unique and establish their own path — like thinking outside the box — thinking “inside” the box is actually ideal when it comes to waste.
One crafty mom came up with a brilliant activity idea for her artsy youngster. Instead of tossing empty boxes in the recycling bin, they can be a terrific canvas for crayon masterpieces.
The Problem: Miniature Car Storage
Kids toys are often small, making it difficult to find easy-to-organize storage compartments — unless, of course, you want to just throw all of them into a box.
We certainly won’t judge!
The Hack: Toilet Paper Rolls to the Rescue
But how cool is this “garage” for miniature cars made from an old wooden box and a bunch of paper towel rolls? The answer: It’s super cool!
This could also be used to store tons of other things, like art supplies or small dolls and figurines. And with tape or glue, or both, you don’t even need the wooden box to keep the structure together.
The Problem: A Slippery Floor
Nothing quite ruins the fun like taking a painful spill on a slippery floor.
Luckily, this can be easily avoided with some ingenuity and elbow grease.
The Hack: Homemade Traction Socks
Check out these awesome socks this mom made to keep her kids’ feet on the floor.
Not only are they practical, they make for a fun art project. Look for 3D or raised paint that sticks to fabric well.
The Problem: Kids Fall — a Lot
There seems to be no end in sight when it comes to the ways that kids can fall or bang their body parts against something like a door, table or desk.
And a trampoline extravaganza is just begging for a couple of spills.
The Hack: Get Pool Noodles
Enter the pool noodle. To be honest, we could’ve done an entire story on pool noodle hacks. There are limitless uses for these things.
They can be placed over the springs of trampolines to help prevent the inevitable injury. They can be placed on the sides of doors so kids don’t accidentally shut their fingers in the jamb, or placed on the side of tables or desks to prevent painful contact. And they can be used as barriers against rolling off the side of a bed.
The Problem: Storage
If the amount of stuff your family has continues to expand, storage can always become a problem.
But who knew those flimsy coat hangers that dry cleaners give out willy-nilly could be put to practical use?
The Hack: Clothes Hangers
We’re a big fan of No. 2 on this list of clothes hanger hacks. It’s a superb way to store books if you have limited space, and it’s even something young kids can easily make themselves.
The Problem: A Sink That’s Too Large
It’s good for children to practice proper hygiene like washing their hands, but sometimes the faucet is too far away for them to reach.
The Hack: Use an Old Shampoo Bottle
If you don’t have a stool or other solution, try a quick fix with an old shampoo or soap bottle.
It can be cut so as to act like a funnel when placed around the faucet. There’s already way too much plastic in the world, so this is a great way to get more life out of an empty bottle.
The Problem: Filling Up Water Balloons
Nothing says summer fun quite like a water balloon fight. But filling up those little buggers is a pain in the rear and can get messy if they’re filled too much and explode in the bathroom or sink.
Hose nozzles are usually too broad for small balloons, so what’s a parent to do?
The Hack: Keep Those Old Pump-Top Bottles
Try using an old pump-top bottle, which will have a small spout and, depending on the size, be able to hold enough water for at least a few balloons.
They’re also portable for intense water balloon games in which you might need to hide for an ambush.
The Problem: A Painful Splinter
We’re of the mind that when in a pinch, any pinch really, baking soda might come to the rescue.
It’s terrific for curing an upset stomach, and it can remove wine, infant vomit and other deep stains like nothing else (that’s why it’s in your toothpaste). So, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that there is yet another use for this all-purpose wonder: removing splinters.
The Hack: Baking Soda Paste
A thick paste of water and baking soda can be applied to the splinter area and left for a few hours under a bandage.
Then — voila! — it will swell the skin and push out the splinter.
The Problem: Creating a Realistic Tooth Fairy Scenario
One of our favorite things about being a new parent is anticipating all the toys we’ll be able to play with again and sharing the fun of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
The Problem: No Changing Table
While all parents face the issue of not having a changing table, dads are the ones who often themselves without a proper changing station in the men’s room.
The Hack: DIY Changing Table
Enter this DIY diaper bag that doubles as a changing table. The dad behind the innovation said he tried to sell the idea but found no takers so instead open-sourced it online for anyone who wants to give it a try.
Our favorite part is that the strap can be secured around the waist to prevent the changing table from sliding off your lap.