Do you really need parenting hacks? Ask many parents about parenting, and their first response will be to tell you what a blessing it is. They’ll let you know about all the amazing things their kids are doing, whether they are an infant learning to sit up, a toddler learning to run, or a school-aged child learning to read. But look at those parents a bit closer, or look yourself in the mirror, and the chances are that you’ll see some tired eyes and worry lines.
This isn’t to say that parenting isn’t a fantastic journey. It is! But even a cross-country race or a hike up a hill can be exhausting. And parenting is no different. A study released by the Pew Research Center says that while parenting is enjoyable and rewarding most of the time, about four-in-ten parents admit it is tiring. And 29% say it is stressful most of the time if not all the time.
So enter the concept of parenting hacks—those tried-and-true tricks of the trade that give parents a bit of a break and make your journey easier.
Just what is a parenting hack or hacks?
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As the parent of two adult children and step-mom to an elementary-aged child, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs in parenting. Ask me about my experiences, and I will tell you that is the best thing I have ever done. But as with most parents, I’ve had my fair share of days where I wanted to pull my hair out or retreat to the tub for a bubble bath and glass of wine, trying to block out the noise from arguing kids.
But one of the unsung joys of being a parent is all the other parents you meet. Whether it be the parent of a child in their class, the neighborhood moms and dads, or all those other people in your network that you continue to connect with via social media, there is a flock of parents out there to help support you and offer advice if and when you need it.
And so when I had the opportunity to write about 25 of the best parenting hacks, I knew just where to go. I jotted down all those hacks that got me through the years, went to my social networks, and asked for theirs too. And the answers came in droves. I’m hopeful that all those tip and hacks that have gotten us by so that we could come out better on the other side of parenting can help you too!
Parenting hacks are just what they sound like—hacks and shortcuts to help keep your kids happier and safer and to make your job easier.
The efficiency of crowd-sourcing—25 parenting hacks to make your role as mom or dad that much easier
Parenthood can be a wild ride, but fear not—I’ve got your back with 25 awesome parenting hacks that’ll make your life much easier. From ingenious mealtime tricks to clever organization tips, get ready to level up your parenting game in no time! So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive into these genius hacks together.
1. Bath before you go
One fantastic parenting hack for when you have to take your little one somewhere is bathing them before you go. It ensures they’re clean and fresh and can also help them relax and stay calm during the outing. To enhance the soothing experience, consider using baby bath products that contain lavender or chamomile, known for their calming properties. This hack is a win-win, leaving you with a serene and content baby ready to take on the day’s adventures!
2. Avoid excess potty stops
While this one may seem obvious, remembering to have your child make a potty stop before you head out on your daily adventures can help prevent unplanned stops. This is especially useful for parents of multiple kids as those emergency pitstops for little ones that can’t hold it any longer are hard to manage with more than one kid in tow.
3. Cheerios or Fruit Loops, in the toilet
Potty training can be challenging, especially for boys. Place a few Cheerios in the toilet bowl to make it easier, and encourage your little one to aim and “sink” them with their urine stream. This simple and fun game keeps them engaged during the process and helps develop their aim and accuracy. It’s a lighthearted way to make potty training more enjoyable and teach them the fundamentals of toilet use. Plus, it’s an easy cleanup—just flush away the cereal when they’re done!
4. Throw it out after a blowout
Here’s a helpful parenting hack for dealing with poop accidents on the go or in urgent situations. While it may not be the ideal solution every time, permit yourself to dispose of soiled underwear by wrapping them in a plastic bag and tossing them in the trash. This allows for quick and hassle-free cleanup when limited access to laundry facilities or circumstances call for immediate action. Remember, it’s all about finding practical solutions in those moments of need while prioritizing your child’s comfort and hygiene.
5. No more stinky baby diaper pails parenting hack
Place a small cup of baking soda at the bottom of the diaper pail to keep odors under control. The baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer, neutralizing unpleasant smells and keeping the pail smelling fresh. Maintaining a more pleasant environment while handling diaper changes is a simple and effective trick.
6. World clocks and maps for kids of traveling or deployed parents
Long distance parenting can be tough. My sister-in-law shared this hack with me, as it worked for her children when their dad was deployed overseas for the military. For families dealing with extended parental absences due to deployment or business trips, set up a map and a clock displaying the current time zone of the absent parent. Use pins to mark the locations on the map where they are stationed or visiting.
Not only does this activity foster geography skills and teach children about different time zones, but it also helps them understand when it’s an appropriate time to reach out and communicate with their parents. By visually representing their parent’s location and time, this hack can minimize repeated requests to call during inconvenient hours. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep your child engaged and connected during those challenging times of separation.
7. Family calendar parenting hack
Get a family desk calendar with tear-off months and markers, assigning a different color to each family member, including mom and dad. Hang it on the pantry door for easy access, and at a glance, everyone can see who’s where on any given day. This calendar becomes a powerful tool when juggling overlapping activities, allowing you to divide and conquer effectively.
The added benefit? The kids learn about scheduling by entering their own items. As time goes on, you’ll accumulate a box full of torn-off calendar pages, each representing a precious memory. It’s a delightful way to look back and cherish those moments as a family.
8. Avoid yogurt tube mess
Tired of messy yogurt mishaps? Here’s a simple parenting hack and one of my favorite parenting tips and tricks that’ll save you from sticky situations. When giving your little one a yogurt tube, grab a straw and insert it into a small slit you cut on the top of the yogurt package. While you still need to remind your child not to squeeze, It’s a clever way to keep things neat and hassle-free during snack time, leaving you with one less mess to clean up!
9. No scissors for the freezy pop
If your kid wants to enjoy a delicious frozen treat but you’re without scissors, simply break the freezie pop in half to open it up. The flexible plastic tube makes it easy to snap, allowing your little one to enjoy their icy treat without needing additional tools. It’s a quick and convenient way to satisfy their craving for a chilly delight on a hot day.
10. Missing socks
While missing socks can be the bane of just about anyone’s existence, it can be even more challenging with little kids who love running with bare feet. Even though they started the day with two matching socks, the chances are that at some point throughout the day, those socks will find a new home. This can make getting out the door to run errands or get to activities challenging. If you have room in your back door closet or mud room, add a cute dresser or drawer system for socks, winter gear etc. This will keep you from sprinting back to your child’s bedroom to find a clean pair of socks before you leave.
11. Keep them in their bed parenting hacks
Looking for a simple solution to keep your kids from rolling out of bed? Slide pool noodles under the fitted sheet on either side of their bed. The pool noodles act as gentle barriers, preventing little ones from accidentally rolling off and ensuring everyone a peaceful night’s sleep. It’s an easy and effective way to provide extra security and keep bedtime worries at bay.
12. Tables are a doozy
Based on a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a study found that 8.3% of boys and 5.6% of girls aged 3-17 years have experienced a significant head injury in their lifetime. When they’re little, we want to do what we can to protect them from injury. So, here’s another great hack that uses those inexpensive pool noodles. To protect your little ones from sharp table edges, grab a pool noodle and cut a vertical slit along its side. Then, wrap the pool noodle around the edges of your tables, securing it in place. The pool noodle is a cushion, creating child-safe edges that help prevent accidental bumps and bruises. It’s a simple, cost-effective solution that adds a layer of safety to your home, allowing your kids to play and explore without worrying about sharp corners.
13. Say goodbye to door slams
I’m telling you, those pool noodles have far more uses than you could ever imagine. Say goodbye to slammed doors and the risk of little fingers getting hurt with this ingenious parenting hack. Cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise, creating a foam barrier. Attach it to the top edge of the door, creating a protective cushion that prevents doors from slamming shut. The door will remain slightly ajar, providing just enough space for safe passage while keeping precious little fingers out of harm’s way. It’s a simple and effective solution to eliminate door-related injuries and promote a safer environment for your curious explorers.
14. Hair ties keep them out
Here’s an original parenting hack and one of my favorite of all parenting hacks for a quick and affordable baby-proofing solution. Instead of splurging on expensive baby-proofing items, go old-fashioned with a clever trick using hair ties. Grab a hair tie and loop it around each cabinet knob twice, creating an infinity-shaped twist. This simple DIY child forcefield is a barrier that little ones can’t easily bypass. It’s a cost-effective way to keep curious hands away from potentially hazardous cabinet contents, providing peace of mind for parents on the go.
15. Parenting Hack: Night lights for a good night’s sleep
Dealing with a child’s fear of the dark during power outages can be challenging, but a parenting hack offers a solution. Invest in nightlights that can take a charge, ensuring they stay illuminated even during a blackout caused by a thunderstorm. These nightlights provide your child a sense of comfort and security as they continue to emit a gentle glow, preventing them from becoming inconsolable.
Even if your child has grown up, keeping these nightlights around offers safety and convenience during unexpected power outages. It’s a smart and practical parenting hack that brings peace of mind to the entire family.
16. Birthday party at the ready
I loved this idea from my husband’s cousin and wish I had thought of it all those years ago. If you want to be prepared for those last-minute birthday parties or unexpected gift needs, stock up on small clearance gifts and keep them in a designated bin. By taking advantage of sales, you’ll have a stash of presents ready whenever your child receives a last-minute invitation or when you need a quick gift for a Secret Santa exchange. Additionally, don’t forget to recycle gift bags from previous occasions—this way, you’ll always have a reusable and eco-friendly wrapping option on hand.
17. Toothbrushing songs
Looking for a fun way to encourage your child to brush their teeth thoroughly? Find some catchy toothbrushing songs on YouTube and play them during their brushing routine. Not only will the tunes make toothbrushing more enjoyable, but they also serve as a helpful timer. Most toothbrushing songs are designed to last around two minutes, ensuring your child brushes for the recommended duration. It’s a clever way to teach them proper brushing techniques while turning dental hygiene into a fun and musical experience.
18. That takes the cake
Here’s a clever parenting hack for dividing the last piece of cake when two kids want it. Assign the first child to cut the cake into two pieces, while the second child gets to choose their desired piece first. This fair and simple method ensures that both children feel involved in the process and have an equal chance of getting a good portion. It prevents arguments and teaches them the importance of sharing and taking turns. So, next time there’s a sweet treat up for grabs, let the first child cut and the second child choose, promoting harmony and fairness in the family.
19. Keep the sand away
Heading to the beach? Embrace the unexpected brilliance of using a fitted sheet to create a convenient, sand-free play area. Instead of envisioning a bunched-up mess, consider it a trailblazing concept. Take everyday beach items like a cooler, a spacious beach bag, or a chair, and cleverly wrap the fitted part of the sheet around them. Voila! You’ve just fashioned a makeshift pack-and-play for your baby or toddler, ensuring they stay comfortably contained while keeping the sand at bay. It’s a creative and practical solution that allows your little one to enjoy the beach without the hassle of sandy surprises.
20. The Stop the medicine struggle parenting hack
Looking for a parenting hack to make giving liquid medicine a breeze? Instead of struggling with spoons or syringes or a child that won’t open their mouth to take their medicine, mix the medicine with a small amount of liquid and then squeeze it into an applesauce pouch. The flavorful applesauce masks the taste of the medicine, making it easier for your child to take without any fuss. The convenient pouch format also eliminates the need for additional utensils, making it a quick and mess-free solution.
21. The Paint the fence parenting hack
Those old enough to remember Karate Kid know that Mr. Miyagi had some tricks up his sleeves to teach Daniel some karate moves. But who knew one of those ideas could keep a child entertained for hours? Fill a bucket with water, hand them a paintbrush, and watch them happily paint the fence! The simple act of “painting” with water allows their imagination to soar while developing their fine motor skills. Plus, it’s mess-free and easy to clean up afterward.
22. Sunscreen with ease parenting hack
If you’re sending out the little one to “paint the fence,” don’t forget to protect them with some sunscreen. Use a clean and soft makeup brush to apply sunscreen to their delicate facial skin. The bristles of the brush ensure even coverage without causing any discomfort. It’s an easy and effective method that helps you avoid messy hands and prevents sunscreen from getting into their eyes. Plus, your child may enjoy the gentle and pampering sensation of the brush.
This hack came to me from my best friend’s dad! When bedtime proves challenging, put a dab of your cologne (or perfume) on your child’s hand and ask them to take slow, deep breaths, savoring the scent until it fades away. The familiar fragrance is calming and comforting, helping them relax and transition into a peaceful slumber. This simple sensory technique can create a soothing bedtime ritual that promotes a sense of security and relaxation. So, next time sleep feels elusive, harness the power of scent to guide your children into dreamland.
24. Easy nighttime sheet changes
Tired of fumbling for fresh crib sheets in the middle of the night? Here’s a parenting hack to make those late-night changes easier. Double layer ahead of time by placing a regular crib sheet, a disposable waterproof pad, and another sheet on top. When accidents happen, simply peel away the top layer and pad, toss them in the hamper, and your baby’s bed is ready for another cozy sleep. To avoid further disruptions, keep a one-piece, swaddle, or sleep sack nearby to quickly provide comfort without rummaging through drawers. This time-saving hack ensures a smoother transition back to sleep and makes those nighttime changes a breeze.
25. Parenting Hack: Plan for the future
Start now by utilizing a qualified tuition plan or a 529 plan. Talk to your employer or financial advisor to set up automatic savings from each paycheck. The earlier you begin, the more you’ll save. State-run tuition savings plans allow parents to spend the savings on predetermined schools, covering tuition, room, board, and expenses like computers and textbooks. Additionally, explore scholarship opportunities as your child reaches high school, including local business and employer-sponsored programs. With proactive planning, you can ease the financial burden of a college education.
Simplify your Parenting with These Clever Parenting Hacks
Parenting hacks can be invaluable tools for simplifying everyday challenges and making life easier for parents and children. From time-saving tricks for diaper changes to creative solutions for bedtime routines, these hacks provide practical strategies to save time, reduce stress, and enhance the overall parenting experience.
Whether streamlining tasks, fostering creativity, or ensuring safety, incorporating these hacks into your parenting repertoire can significantly impact you. I hope you can embrace the power of parenting hacks and discover the joy of finding simple yet effective solutions to everyday parenting dilemmas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a parenting hack?
A parenting hack is a clever solution or shortcut that aims to make parenting tasks easier and more efficient. These hacks can range from ingenious mealtime tricks to clever organization tips, all designed to simplify your role as a parent.
What parenting hack can make potty training more enjoyable for boys?
A simple and fun game can make potty training more enjoyable for boys. The parenting hack involves placing a few Cheerios or Fruit Loops in the toilet bowl and encouraging your little one to aim and “sink” them with their urine stream. This keeps them engaged during the process and helps develop their aim and accuracy. Plus, it’s an easy cleanup—just flush away the cereal when they’re done!
Is there a parenting hack for dealing with poop accidents on the go?
Yes, there is a practical parenting hack for dealing with poop accidents on the go or in urgent situations. You can wrap soiled underwear in a plastic bag and toss them in the trash. This allows for quick and hassle-free cleanup when limited access to laundry facilities or circumstances call for immediate action.
What parenting hack can help keep your child engaged and connected during times of parental absence due to deployment or business trips?
Set up a map and a clock displaying the current time zone of the absent parent. Use pins to mark the locations on the map where they are stationed or visiting. This activity fosters geography skills and teaches children about different time zones. It also helps them understand when it’s an appropriate time to reach out and communicate with their parents. By visually representing their parent’s location and time, this hack can minimize repeated requests to call during inconvenient hours. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep your child engaged and connected during those challenging times of separation.
Is there a parenting hack that can encourage your child to brush their teeth thoroughly?
Yes, a clever parenting hack to encourage thorough tooth brushing involves using catchy toothbrushing songs from YouTube during their brushing routine. Not only will the tunes make toothbrushing more enjoyable, but they also serve as a helpful timer. Most toothbrushing songs are designed to last around two minutes, ensuring your child brushes for the recommended duration.