So many books cover the ways to prepare for motherhood, while others teach us how to raise happy, healthy babies into adults. Sometimes, though, what we need is just one simple hack to make the day less messy and much easier. That’s why we’ve gathered 40 great ones for you to try.
40. Sticker shoe helpers
Toddlers love to do things by themselves, but they often have difficulty putting their shoes on – it’s tough to decipher between their left and right shoes, after all. A sticker can solve that problem for both of you. Just cut it in half and place a piece on each shoe’s sole so that when the right shoe is in the right position, the sticker matches.
39. Easy medicine administration
It’s hard enough to get a child or a teenager to take their medicine – a baby is a whole other story. Your pediatrician might arm you with a tiny cup or syringe, but this trick will do you one better. Measure out the dose your baby needs, and then pour it into a bottle nipple. Your baby will instinctively slurp it all up without any fuss or mess. Mom win.
38. Yes you cone
As much as you love seeing your little one happily enjoying ice cream, the thought of giving them a cone of the cold stuff can make you cringe. Stop them from dribbling everywhere by cutting a cone-sized hole in the middle of a paper plate. They can still hold and lick their cone as normal, and the plate will catch all the drips. FYI, you can do the same with cupcake liners and popsicles.
37. Pancake + pizza cutter = perfection
Kids and kids-at-heart love pancakes. But if you’ve ever whipped up a griddle full of hotcakes for your brood, you know how long it takes to cut up everyone’s breakfast with a knife and fork. Next time, grab your pizza cutter to glide through a full stack of flapjacks with ease. You might even get to eat yours while they’re still hot, thanks to this hack.
36. Reincarnate broken crayons
Toddlers are not known for their delicate nature. As such, they’ve probably left a sea of broken crayons in their wake. You don’t have to toss the waxy odds and ends, though. Instead, coat a muffin tin with cooking spray, and fill each hole with unwrapped crayons, sorted by color groups if you fancy. Bake them for seven or eight minutes at 275 degrees to melt the broken crayons into big, new ones.
35. “Are we there yet?” no more
“Are we there yet?” Your little ones love this question and, no matter how much patience you have, it can be rough to hear it over and over on a long-haul road trip. So create a visual that allows them to track your journey without having to ask. This one shows a car moving between states, just as the family are.
34. Stop sticky hands
Toddlers tend to be… particular about the way their food is served. Perhaps they request an apple sans peel, but they also hate having sticky hands. If so, here’s your hack – pop two corn-on-the-cob holders into the peeled apple and they can eat without any tacky repercussions.
33. Baby bath basket
Your toddler loves to play in the tub – until their favorite toy floats away. Save yourself the waterworks by popping a laundry basket into the tub, then placing your little one inside of the basket. It will keep all of their toys contained, and it will stop them from bumping their head on the faucet or side of the tub, to boot. Of course, tub supervision is always required, even with a bath basket in place.
32. Toddler-friendly wallet
When you’re toting your child around a store in a cart, chances are that they find a way into your purse – and into your wallet. They’re entertained by its contents, which is great for you, but they’ll also move and drop your cards, cash and other important stuff. So grab an old wallet from your collection and fill it with expired cards, fabric swatches, paper and other materials to keep them busy in a better way.
31. Snow smart
No matter how much your kiddo loves to play in the snow, they hate it when you bundle them up in layers and layers of warm clothes. Here’s the perfect solution to keep everyone happy – and warm. Grab a sand or water table or even an extra-large plastic container, fill the compartments with snow and bring it inside for a snow day in a temperature-controlled environment.
30. A cap for your stroller wheels
Without a porch, garage or storage locker outside, you might have to bring your toddler’s stroller inside, which means all of the dirt on its wheels is coming inside too. Next time, grab enough shower caps to cover each set of wheels. Put them on and then bring your stroller into the house with its dirty wheels contained.
29. A sweet ice pack
Blogger Amanda Mushro found that ice packs were too cold and too leaky for her children’s boo-boos. Her solution? Freezing a couple sandwich bags full of marshmallows. The squishy sweets never freeze all the way through, so they’re just cold enough. Plus, the marshmallows stay cushy, soft and malleable, so they’ll mold to an injury of any shape.
28. Breakfast-y baubles
Mom-of-two Jessica Beatty shared her ingenious way to keep her daughter happy while the pair went on a shopping trip. “Cheerio necklace for the win yet again,” she wrote on Instagram. Simply string up your child’s favorite cereal, and tie the breakfast-inspired chain around their neck for easy snacking while you shop.
27. Look hula’s walking
The youngest of toddlers might still be crawling. Help them onto their feet with this ingenious hack. While you hold the top of a hula hoop, they hold the bottom for support while they walk. Their legs get stronger, and you don’t have to hunch your back to help them move. Ta-da!
26. Coloring box
It’s a well-known fact that kids love to play in boxes. They also love to color. So put the two together, and let your toddler color the inside of an empty cardboard box. They’ll have a blast covering every square inch of the cube, and you’ll be happy that they’re coloring in a contained, easy-to-clean-up space.
25. … Or snack box
Another quick-thinking mom named Kresta wrote on Instagram that she “was so tired of picking up Cheerios and fishies everywhere” that she came up with this hack. She grabbed a cardboard box, put her son inside and then gave him his snacks. Any crumbs fell inside of the box, thus preventing her dreaded clean-up sessions.
24. It’s in the bag
It can be fun to watch your toddler smash through a plate of spaghetti… until you remember that you have to clean it up. Before particularly messy meals, wrap the bottom of your baby’s high chair in a trash bag so that you can quickly clean up any dropped noodles, flung forks etc.
23. Life’s a beach
There’s nothing better than a day spent with your little family at the beach… that is, until your toddler’s diaper fills all the way up with sand. Avoid this coastal discomfort by bringing a fitted sheet along with you on your next beach getaway. Wrap its corners around four sturdy items, such as your beach bag or cooler. Your baby will stay sand-free in their soft playpen.
22. Seat pro-tee-ctor
In a rear-facing car seat, your toddler’s feet are within kicking distance of the seat backs in front of them. And if they track mud or snow in on their shoes, those kicks can do some serious damage to your car’s interior. So dress the seat in an old T-shirt to protect it from any stains that they could cause.
21. Leak-free sippy cup? That’s crazy
A sippy cup helps prepare your toddler to become a big kid who drinks out of a lid-free glass. Still, they’re learning – and susceptible to dropping and spilling their beverages. Take this ingenious precaution to prevent extra-large clean-ups. Put a twirly crazy straw upside-down in the cup, and place the lid over it as usual. The straws kinks make spills and straw removal nearly impossible for your kiddo.
20. Crafty tray
Letting your little one explore their creativity can get messy. This trick might be something you rely on well into their tweens to ensure that artwork doesn’t get everywhere. Wrap a cookie sheet in aluminum foil, and place the craft inside. Not only will it prevent spills and major messes, but it’ll make clean-up a breeze.
19. Shoe smart
Bottles, nipples, lids, funnels… it takes a lot of accessories to feed your baby. And if you’ve ever tried placing all of them in a cabinet or drawer, you know how disorganized that can be. So grab a shoe organizer, and sort accessories into each pouch for the easiest bottle assembly ever.
18. Fork it over
Your toddler has likely begun to dabble in self-feeding. Still, meals enjoyed on the town may require you to step in and feed them, whether to speed things up or keep things clean. In case you don’t have a baby spoon on hand, the handle of a grown-up fork will work in a pinch.
17. Burrito-bundle baby clothes
It’s hard to believe that this compact cylinder contains an entire toddler’s outfit. But with careful folding, you can bundle pants, socks and accessories inside of a onesie, securing it all together with the snaps at the bottom of the garment. When it’s time to dress your little one, just grab a clothes burrito and get it done.
16. Peek-a-boo plug
Baby wipes were already mom’s best friend – and this hack makes the bond even stronger. Facebook user Brittany Kurtz shared her ingenious way of repurposing the top of her wipes packs. The adhesive, snap-shut top made the perfect cover for electrical outlets, she realized. Kurtz said she still put covers on the plugs too, but found that the doors kept sockets “out of [sight], out of mind.”
15. There’s a filter for that
Potty training is yet another milestone ahead of your toddler. While it will certainly bring relief – no more diaper changes! – you’ll still have to empty the training potty with each use. Make that job easier by popping a coffee filter into the bowl. When your toddler’s finished, you just have to trash the filled filter.
14. Club in the tub
To assuage a fussy bather, you’ve tried it all. Even if tub toys, prizes or even bubble baths fail, you’re not out of options. One brilliant mom cracked a few glow sticks and placed them in the tub to transform bath time into party time. Your toddler will love it.
13. Defense against a snack attack
A toddler’s palate can be finicky, to say the least, and you hate to be caught without the treat they crave. So on your next long-haul trip, grab a craft box and fill the different compartments with a myriad of snacks. Salty, sweet, crunchy, squishy – it’ll all fit, and you’ll be prepared for (just about) anything.
12. Hook yourself up
We can’t say it enough – toddlers are messy eaters. Sometimes, one bib won’t be enough to keep their clothes (relatively) clean throughout a meal, so keep extras at the ready with this handy hack. All you have to do is apply an adhesive hook to the back of the high chair, hang a few bibs, and you’re done.
11. Make mark of their meds
Prescription medication comes with stringent dosages and timings to promote proper healing, but with a longer course of treatment, it’s tough to remember when you last gave your toddler a helping. Next time this happens, grab a permanent marker and keep track of daily dosages right on the bottle so you don’t skip a day or double-dose.
10. Wash and win
As your toddler potty trains, they’ll also learn the importance of washing their hands. To make sure they stick to the sanitizing routine, place a toy inside of the soap dispenser. With proper handwashing, your little one will eventually use up all the soap, at which point they get a small toy as a reward.
9. Find footie footing
Footie pajamas are extra adorable when worn by a toddler, but fabric-covered feet can cause slips, falls and boo-boos. With a bottle of puffy paint or a hot glue gun, though, you can easily add tread to the soles of your child’s PJs. Now, back to looking cute in their cuddliest clothes.
8. Baskets full of bath toys
Tension rods typically hold shower curtains, but we can get creative for the sake of our babies’ bathtimes. Place a tension rod just above the bathtub and hang baskets from it. Use each container to hold toys, shampoo, soap etc., and keep your kiddos’ stuff organized and easy to reach.
7. Chill while cutting teeth
A baby’s teeth typically appear when they’re four to six months old, so this is a slightly pre-toddler tip – however, it’s too brilliant not to share. Emelia Jackson suggested on Facebook that her fellow moms try freezing water within their babies’ pacifiers for instant teething relief. She also advised them to choose a pacifier without a hole so that the baby wouldn’t end up drinking excess water in the process.
6. Hands-free toy wash
Unsurprisingly, your toddler’s toys collect germs, thus requiring you to wash them every so often to sanitize them. Make it easy on yourself by tossing durable toys – think hard plastic ones – into the dishwasher with either a half-cup of vinegar or traditional cleaning solutions. Then, press start and relax as your appliance does the hard work for you.
5. Make mobile baby centers
Mom Lauren McCoy shared one of her best baby hacks via Instagram, saying how tough it is on new moms to run up and down the stairs when their babies need something. That struggle inspired her to come up with her idea of placing baskets around the house that contain the essentials – diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks, etc. That way, she’s never too far from what she will, undoubtedly, eventually need.
4. Unlock all doors
Once toddlers learn a new trick, they’re sure to show it off as often as possible. Let’s say your little one has learned to lock their bedroom door and does so regularly. You can fix it with this fabricky gadget called the Latchy Catchy, which not only stops locks from engaging, but softens the sound of slammed doors too.
3. Fire up the sandbox
When not in use for its true purpose, a backyard fire pit or even a low planter makes a perfect sandbox for toddlers. And when it’s time to start lighting the flames or planting flowers, it’s beyond simple to clean up – just sift out all of the plastic toys and dump out the sand.
2. Build a bubble base
Instagram user Janni Johansen dubbed this the “bubble-water-no-spill-device.” No matter how clunky that name may be, her invention is brilliant. With a bit of Play-Doh, she was able to stabilize the base of her son’s bubbles, thus preventing a sudsy spill – you can easily do the same.
1. Keep ’em in line
Toddlers aren’t the best at rationing supplies. This is never clearer than when they reach for toilet paper – they typically pull way more than what’s necessary. So one mom created a handy wall guide to show her children how long was too long in the realm of TP. This simple visual will help tremendously in the potty-training-and-etiquette process.