It’s no secret that parenting isn’t easy. Beyond the smiling family, portraits are often two absolutely tuckered-out people who are really just doing their best to keep it together in the midst of juvenile chaos. Let’s face it, kids can be complete time and money vampires, which is why if there’s an easier way to do things, most parents will gladly opt for it.
Luckily, the Internet has become a great resource for parents to share their tricks and tips to make raising rugrats as easy as it possibly can be. The list of responsibilities that come with rearing a child can seem endless at times, but there are things you can do to make that list more attainable.
Here are 24 parenting hacks that will save both your sanity and your bank account.
1. Use a laundry basket to make bath time easier.
Kids are messy, and once they get too big for the sink, the bathtub becomes a regular venture. However, you can make that transition period a much simpler one by using a laundry basket. Bathing your child this way can keep them from slipping all over the place and help keep their toys from floating away.
2. Place plastic wrap over your child’s cup to avoid spills.
Anyone with a kid knows that more juice ends up on the floor than in their child’s mouth. However, the next step after sippy cups doesn’t have to always be so messy. Just apply plastic wrap to a cup and stick a straw in it to avoid big spills.
3. Make putting shoes on the right foot easier.
Getting your kids to put on their shoes is one thing, but getting them to put them on the right foot is much trickier. You can help indicate which shoe is left and which one is right by cutting a sticker in half and placing them on the shoe insoles.
4. Reduce the sound of a child’s toy.
It doesn’t take long for a toy with sound effects or music to start testing your sanity. Luckily, you can help lower the volume even if the toy doesn’t give you that option. Simply apply some tape to the toy’s speaker holes to help reduce the sound.
5. Use a pool noodle to prevent your kid from falling out of bed.
The transition from a crib to a bed isn’t always an easy one. If you have a kid who tends to roll out of bed during the night, you can help keep them safe by using a pool noodle under the sheet to create comfortable barriers.
6. Baby-proof your fireplace with foam mats.
Interlocking foam mats are a staple for kids’ play, but they don’t have to be just on the floor. These high-density foam mats are great for absorbing shock, which makes them perfect for childproofing the unforgiving ledges and corners found around most fireplaces.
7. Keep your kids out of the fridge with a makeshift lock.
Kids manage to find their ways into absolutely everything, but if you want to keep your fridge door closed, all you need is a quick dollar store run. Place two command strips on the fridge out of your child’s reach and use a silicone bracelet to lock it.
8. Make a compact travel coloring kit from a DVD case.
It’s not easy to keep kids entertained on a long car ride, but if you have a couple of old DVD cases around collecting dust, you can convert them into tiny portable drawing stations that’ll have your kids doodling away for (hopefully) hours.
9. Use egg cartons when playing card games.
Card games are a great way to pass the time and have some fun with your kid, but it’s not always easy for them to hold more than one at a time. Egg cartons make for a great tool to keep the cards upright without having them fumble with them.
10. Use frozen marshmallows instead of ice for boo-boos.
Kids are pretty resilient, but every now and then, playtime can come to a screeching halt due to injury. While many parents will resort to an ice pack, freezing marshmallows makes for a soft and not-too-cold alternative to help placate your child.
11. Use a rubber band on soap dispensers for portion control.
If your kid is washing their hands on their own, you’re doing something right, but most parents know that the amount of soap being used is often excessive. You can help enforce portion control by wrapping an elastic band under the pump to limit your soap-happy kid.
12. Keep your kids from locking themselves in rooms.
Every parent has a room that they don’t want their kid getting into, but they also don’t want their kid to get into a room they can’t get out of. Taping back latch bolts can help keep the doors you want to stay open.
13. Make your own carpet racetrack for your kid’s toy cars.
We’re all familiar with the classic road carpet from most of our childhoods, but if you want to keep the fun alive, you can create your own with the help of some masking tape. Simply tape out a design that fits your kid’s toy cars. The possibilities are endless!
14. Use fabric softener to detangle doll hair.
It doesn’t take long for a doll to end up looking like she was just ejected from a tornado. It may seem like the doll’s hair is a write-off, but you can detangle it with a little help of ‘doll hairspray.’ Just mix two tablespoons of fabric softener with water to renew the doll’s hair.
15. Make popsicles less messy with cupcake wrappers.
Popsicles are a great summertime snack to help cool off your child while they enjoy the sun, but these frozen treats can quickly become a dripping mess. To avoid sticky fingers, place a cupcake wrapper around the stick to catch all that melts.
16. Weather-proof your kids’ play table.
Most of these play tables end up outside and it doesn’t take very long before they end up looking worn from the weather. However, you can make this outdoor picnic table last and add your own stylistic touch by using oilcloth to make it water-resistant.
17. Organize Play-Doh with a K-Cup carousel. There is certainly no shortage of children’s toys, but there is definitely a lack of things to help organize them. However, you can make use of a K-Cup carousel to help coordinate and display your children’s Play-Doh containers to give this toy an organized home.
18. Store LEGO bricks in a shoe storage bag.
Transparent shoe storage bags can make for a great way to store loose toys like LEGO bricks. Not only will this handy storage tool help you keep pieces off of the floor, it also gives you a way to organize them by color for easier play.
19. Use a laundry bag to keep baby socks together.
Even adult socks tend to go missing in the laundry machine so you can only imagine how hard it is to find tiny baby socks. However, you can keep them together by placing them in a laundry bag before sending them for a wash.
20. Clean up glitter and other tiny craft pieces with a lint roller.
Craft time is a great way to let kids embrace their creativity and keep them entertained, but the clean up after can be a real pain. Luckily, lint rollers can make picking up little things like glitter much easier.
21. Clean toys in the dishwasher.
You really never know where a kid’s toy ends up going, which makes it important to keep them germ-free, but washing each one individually can be really time-consuming. Luckily, you can just throw plastic and rubber toys in the dishwasher with 1.5 cups of vinegar to get them squeaky clean.
22. Use coffee filters to make cleaning training potties easier.
Training potties are a great tool to prepare kids for a real toilet, but unfortunately for parents, they don’t flush. However, you can place a coffee filter in the bottom of the potty to make cleaning up number twos a much easier task.
23. Make your razors childproof with the help of pill bottles.
Despite trying your best to keep dangerous things like razors out of reach, kids somehow manage to find ways to get them. You can make sure their hands stay safe by creating a makeshift protector using an empty pill bottle.
24. Keep multiple pacifiers in the crib to avoid nightly freakouts.
Many parents have lost count of how many times they’ve been woken up to go replace their baby’s soother. You can help prevent this by simply placing multiple pacifiers in the crib with them so there’s one always within reach.