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Whether you’re a parent to one or multiple kids, it’s a widely shared opinion that raising children is one of the hardest jobs around. And parenting does not come with instructions or a user manual. We’re all just sort of trying to figure things out as we go along. But luckily this generation of parents also has the Internet. And on the Internet, resourceful parents share some of their best-kept parenting hacks for nailing this whole kid-raising thing.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any parenting hacks for how to get your infant to sleep through the night or how to stop your preschooler from bringing home every virus known to man. But we do have a few parenting hacks to make everyday life just a little bit easier. From feeding tricks to laundry tips to childproofing ideas, this list has parenting hacks for almost every phase you’re in.
If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed with your role as a parent, just remember that the life-changing hack you’re about to use was invented by a parent in the same situation you’re in. You are not alone, and others have been there and survived.
So the next time you find yourself Googling how to protect your child’s mattress from yet another nighttime accident, remember that many of us have been there and this is only temporary. For more hacks (parenting and otherwise), download The Krazy Coupon Lady app.
1. Prevent kids from falling out of bed with a pool noodle.
Place a pool noodle along the edge of your child’s bed and under the fitted sheet. It’ll act as a soft barrier to keep them from rolling off the bed in the middle of the night so your little one will rest easy, and so will you.
2. Limit kids’ soap use with a rubber band.
The rubber band acts as a stopper for the pump so instead of getting a hefty glob of soap, kids get a much more manageable dollop to wash their hands.
3. Make sure your babysitter always has instructions and emergency contact info with this free template.
Print out this free template and place it in a frame. Every time a babysitter watches your kids, use a dry-erase marker to leave care instructions and emergency contact information.
4. Sort laundry faster with dots on clothing labels.
Utilize permanent marker dots to easily sort clean clothes before folding and putting them away. You can stick with one color marker; just use one dot for your first child and two dots for your second child, and so on.
5. Childproof cabinet doors with hair ties.
Use cheap hair ties as a quick and easy door stopper for little hands. By looping the two door handles together, kids can’t get into the cabinet easily and you can keep your not-so-kid-friendly items secured. This is not completely danger-proof, so we don’t recommend using it for cupboards containing hazardous things like cleaners.
6. Use Command hooks and a hair tie to childproof your fridge.
You can use the hair tie trick on your refrigerator, too! Just use some Command hooks to give a spot to loop the hair tie and keep your french door refrigerator closed.
7. Dip a Dum Dum lollipop in cough syrup if your kid hates the taste of medicine.
If you struggle with getting your kids to take their medicine in syringes or cups, you can use a lollipop to help your child get their dose. Dum Dums work best because they’re small and easy to dunk in a small medicine measuring cup.
8. Shop for shoes easily by tracing your kid’s feet.
If your child hates to try on shoes — and you hate trying to make it happen — trace their feet before heading to the store. You can simply set the new shoe over your foot drawing to ensure they’ll fit correctly. This DSW shoe-buying guide is a big help, too.
9. Use hot glue to add grip to the bottom of slippery shoes.
If your child’s shoes don’t have much tread and you’re worried about slipping, try using hot glue on the bottom of the shoe to create friction and a DIY tread. Draw fun shapes or designs so your kids are excited about the new sole addition.
10. Let neighborhood friends know when your kids are free to play with a door sign.
This is the perfect solution for families who have neighborhood kids always knocking and asking if their friends can come out to play — especially during homework or dinner time. Print out this free template or make your own. Use colorful graphics to help young kids understand the sign.
11. Get your kids to love eating fruits and veggies with sprinkles.
Persuade reluctant kids to finish the veggies and fruit on their plates with sprinkles! Parmesan or shredded cheese sometimes works, too, though it isn’t as colorful.
12. Slice the crusts off sandwiches with a pizza cutter.
A pizza cutter is the most underrated kitchen tool for parents of young kids. It’s got tons of parenting hacks and uses. Use it to cut the crusts off sandwiches, slice thin pieces of fruit, cut spaghetti into more manageable bites — the list goes on.
13. Protect car seats from snack-time spills with a fitted sheet.
Nothing is more anxiety-inducing than getting your toddler into a freshly cleaned car with a snack. The crumbs and spills are inevitable. Protect your seats with an affordable fitted sheet. This hack also protects seats from car seat wear and tear.
14. Make reaching the faucet easier for toddlers with a DIY faucet extender.
Cut off the narrow lid on top of a bubble bath bottle for your faucet and then make a channel for the water. The plastic around the lid is thicker, so it may be a little harder to cut through. Also, depending on your faucet and how curved the spout is, you may have to adjust the extender’s holes or use a different style bottle so it stays on.
15. Potty train boys by putting cereal in the toilet and having them aim at the pieces.
Keep those liquids where they belong by giving your son something to aim at. Not only will this hopefully keep the mess contained, but it might also help reduce accidents when your child has a fun game to play while going potty.
16. Use an old shower curtain liner to accident-proof a bed mattress.
Rather than buying an expensive mattress protector that can run from $20 – $40, spend less than $5 on a shower curtain to use under the fitted sheet for mattress protection.
17. Give kids their own spot to sleep in a hotel room by changing the direction of a bed’s pillows.
One of our favorite family travel hacks, rearrange the bed using pillows to give children their own sleeping space on the same bed. Nobody wants to book an expensive extra room, so use this tip to make the most of the space you already have.
18. Fill a binder with printables, games, and other fun things for kids to do on the road or plane.
Another ingenious tip for family travel: put together a binder with free printables for your child to do in the car or on the plane during a long trip. Bring a zippered bag for crayons and other accessories. This is an easy way to keep them busy without taking up precious space in your carry-on luggage.
19. Have your kids use an old lotion or soap bottle as a water balloon pump.
No more wasted water! Try using an old lotion or soap pump bottle filled with water to fill water balloons. The smaller spout makes it easier for tiny hands to control the balloon and the water.
20. Prevent mold from forming in kids’ water toys by plugging the hole with hot glue.
Trapped water in kids’ bath toys can cause a yucky mess that is really hard to clean. Rather than cleaning these toys every few weeks, close the hole completely with a dollop of hot glue.
21. Shield kids’ hands from sparkler burns with a plastic cup.
During summer celebrations, use a plastic cup as a shield when older kids are using sparklers. This protects their hands from burns by keeping a barrier between them and the hot part of the sparkler.
22. Freeze difficult to wash stuffed animals and pillows to kill dust mites or pests.
If your child’s favorite stuffie has strict do not wash instructions, try placing it in the freezer in a large bag to kill dust mites or other pests. Place it in the freezer for at least 24 hours to kill any dust mites.
23. Clean and disinfect toys, brushes, and flip-flops in the dishwasher.
Your dishwasher is one of the handiest tools in your kitchen. Yes, it washes last night’s dinner dishes so you don’t have to — but it can also clean and sanitize toys, brushes, and even waterproof shoes.
24. Keep doors from locking with rubber bands.
One of the biggest fears for parents is having their children lock themselves into a room without a key. Use rubber bands to stop the door from latching and you won’t have to worry about this one anymore.
25. Transform an old shower curtain liner into an art smock.
Start by trimming a long rectangular section from an old shower curtain liner (make sure it’s big enough to cover at least the front of your child’s clothing). Then cut a hole that’s just large enough to slip over your child’s head. To help your child’s new smock stay on, cut a “belt” from the remaining liner and tie it around his or her waist.