As parents, we can all use some ideas to make our lives easier (or neater, or more organized). Check out these awesome parent hacks for a few great ways to simplify your life.
I’ve got five years of parenting under my belt and just recently brought the scourge of glitter into my home. It was totally my fault. We had to decorate a drawing of a pumpkin for my daughter’s monthly family project assignment at school. She decided to make the pumpkin a carriage; I decided it needed to sparkle. Anyway, we don’t have a craft room, so I glittered on the dining room table. Oops. Next time, I’ll know to have a lint roller handy because those puppies are magic when it comes to cleaning up glitter.
Did you know there’s a whole book that’s full of nothing but parent hacks? There are 134 of them to be exact. One of them suggests the following: When you’re out shopping and your child starts asking for things, encourage them to take a photo of it to email to Santa. The item stays at the store and you get a wish list. If you’re not into Santa, try taking a picture to “show Dad later.” That’s what I do with my kid. It does usually mean I get to hear a story that ends with “…and Momma said I couldn’t get it,” but at least there are no fits.
How often do you use your pizza cutter at home? If you’re like me, not much—at least not to cut pizza. Get some more use out of this gadget by using it to cut up your child’s food into small pieces; it’s so much easier than a knife. You can also use it to quickly slice sandwiches and quesadillas, and for bread crust removal. Even more awesome? There are kid-friendly pizza cutters with plastic blades and/or covered blades, so the pizza cutter is a nifty way to let your kids help with dinner prep while staying safe in the kitchen.
Are you one of those parents that has to use your best ninja moves to escape the nursery after baby goes to sleep—only to find yourself foiled by that one &*$#% squeak floorboard? Try sprinkling a little bit of baby powder on the squeaky spot and then sweeping the powder into the crack. Bonus baby powder hack: Sprinkle it on sandy skin to brush the sand right off.
None of us likes to think about being separated from our children in a public space, but it happens. When you head out for the day, take a full picture of your children, as Hollie explains in this video. That way, if you become separated—whether at the mall, the grocery store, or Disney World—you have not only a recent image, but a photo of your child in exactly what they are wearing at the time.
I went from having a kid who could lock but not unlock doors to having a four-year-old who thought she was thirteen and was constantly slamming her door and locking us out on purpose. Enter the humble rubber band. Wrap it around the door knobs and over the latch to keep the door from closing securely. Then the kids can twist that little lock all they want; you’ll still be able to open the door. (I’ve seen lovely fabric strips with elastic loops on each end that you can use to keep the latch pressed down, but this quick easy rubber band hack accomplishes the same thing for free.)
You know those mesh lingerie bags you put bras in before tossing them in the washer? (You do use them, right? Don’t make my former bra–selling self come after you!) They’re not just for delicates. Use these handy laundry bags to corral tiny socks—baby socks, kids’ socks, and your own no-show footies—and boom! No more lost socks.
And let’s not forget these Baby Gizmo classics:
Does your child have a hard time getting their shoes on the correct feet? Cut a sticker in half and place one half inside each shoe. They’ll know they have the shoes lined up for the correct feet when the sticker matches!
Whether you’re in the throes of potty training or still dealing with diaper leaks and blowouts, accidents are bound to happen in bed. Layer your child’s bedding to make for quick clean-up during late nights (or very early mornings). Make the bed as usual with a mattress pad—waterproof is your friend—and a fitted sheet. Then layer another mattress pad and another fitted sheet on top. When the mess hits, just remove the top sheet and mattress pad for an instant fresh bed.
And thank you to Urban Dictionary contributor z-trip for the spot-on definition of “hack.”