There is no getting around it, working from home as a mom or a dad can be an extremely hard shift. When we are not busy directly caring for our wee ones, we’re buzzing around cleaning up after them or undertaking other arduous tasks to keep the little lovelies safe and secure. All too often, we are working so hard it can be difficult to get some objectivity and see where we could be working smarter. So, to make life easier for any overstretched guardians or carers, we have compiled this list of 40 handy hacks to take the pain out of parenting.
40. Beads meet a sticky end
If your kid enjoys crafting, you’ll probably know all too well how little beads can get everywhere. Not only do they make a mess, but they can be fiddly to pick up off the floor and other surfaces. Make light work of clean-up time by utilizing a piece of tape to easily lift these small items in a flash.
39. Frozen aloe
Of course, it’s advisable to prevent sunburn at all costs, and this nifty trick will soothe the skin of any family member who gets caught out. Simply mix aloe vera gel with some water and freeze ahead of time in ice tube trays. Just rub one along the affected area the next time you’ve had too much sun, and breathe a sigh of relief.
38. Soothing oatmeal bath
Believe it or not, oatmeal can be used to provide relief for a number of skin ailments – including eczema. The store cupboard staple can ease itching and inflamed skin when ground up and scooped into the bath. Or, to prevent your drains from blocking, just scoop some oats into a sock. Then secure this over the faucet using a hair tie so that the water runs through the grains and into the tub.
37. DIY teething rings
The teething stage can be tough on our little ones, but there’s no need to buy new plastic gadgets that could potentially be made from harmful chemicals. Instead, simply wet a baby washcloth, roll it up and curl it into a muffin tin to freeze. After half an hour, you’ll be left with a DIY teething ring to alleviate your child’s throbbing gums.
36. Make tidying toys child’s play
Shoe organizers can be used to sort all kinds of household items, but parents might find them useful when it comes to storing their children’s things. The handy pockets can be filled with everything from cuddly toys to craft supplies and hung behind a door to keep them out of the way.
35. Put packed lunches on ice
Consider adding an icy bottle of water to your children’s packed lunches when temperatures start to rise. Not only will it encourage your kids to stay hydrated, but it will also keep their food cool. Just freeze a half-filled bottle of water overnight and top it up in the morning before placing it in your little one’s lunch box.
34. Silence squeaky floors
If squeaky wood floors are driving you mad – or even worse, waking your kids up at night – try a sprinkle of baby powder. It may sound weird, but apparently pouring some talc on the problem area and sweeping it into the cracks you can stifle creaks in seconds. Give it a try and see the difference for yourself.
33. Prevent peeing with a wipe
This could be the ultimate hack for the parents of newborns. If your infant often pees during changing time, try rubbing a baby wipe on their stomach before you remove their old diaper to encourage them to go once more. You can then put a new one on without the fear of an accident occurring.
32. Buy a backup toy
Many kids have a favorite cuddly friend, but you might want to buy a second one if your child has a toy that they simply can’t bear to part with. That way, if the original gets lost or damaged beyond repair, you can sneakily switch it for the new one – saving a lot of anguish for your little one and no doubt yourself.
31. DIY door bumper
Unfortunately, even the doors in your home can prove a hazard for young children. So, make a DIY bumper using an old pool noodle to prevent your kids’ fingers from getting trapped in entryways. Simply cut a short length of the swimming aid and slice it lengthways. That way, it should slide comfortably over the edge of the door – saving digits and plenty of tears.
30. Make a monster spray
We may have just the answer if your youngsters are afraid of what might be lurking in the dark. Buy a simple spray bottle in the dollar bin section and add some essential oils like lavender to induce a relaxing night’s sleep. Then label it a “monster spray” for the little ones and squirt it around their room before bed.
29. Get your baby’s diaper size right
New parents might wonder how they’re supposed to know when their baby needs the next diaper size up. Well, some are printed with size indicators on them, if you know where to look. Companies will typically recommend buying bigger diapers when the tabs that secure them fall on a certain color when properly fastened.
28. Freeze individual baby food portions
To save time, why not bulk cook your homemade baby food and freeze it into individual meals? Simply spoon puréed portions into an ice tray or muffin tin and stick them in the freezer until they’re needed. Just remember to date and label the food and use it within three months, registered dietitian Jill Castle told Parents magazine.
27. Use a rubber duck to help with hygiene
Many of us already know that you’re supposed to wash your hands for 20 seconds to ensure that they’re really clean. But how do you get kids to stand at the sink and rinse for that long? Well, you could use a rubber ducky. Simply ask your kid to give the toy animal a bath with soap, and the fun task should make the allotted time pass in a flash.
26. Fix a stuck zipper
Every so often, your kid’s zipper can get stuck – leaving them trapped in their coat or jacket no matter how hard you pull. Though before you reach for the scissors, try rubbing some candle wax on the teeth where the zipper is wedged. This should lubricate the mechanism somewhat and allow the components to slide as normal.
25. Painless band-aid removal
Band-aids are a lifesaver for many families when it comes to patching up cuts and scrapes. The problem is, removing them can seemingly be more traumatic than the injury they’re covering. So to make band-aid removal easier, use a cotton bud soaked in vegetable or baby oil and place that over the top to effectively dissolve the adhesive.
24. Secure your baby’s arms at changing time
Changing time can be messy enough without adding your baby’s flailing arms into the mix. To prevent their limbs from getting in the way, use the poppers on their onesie to secure their hands by buttoning them over their shoulder from the back to the front. That way, you can change their diaper without any extra help.
23. Bulk buy kid’s presents
It’s quite possible that your kids have a better social life than you. However, with endless parties and friends comes the commitment of many presents. One way to remedy this is bulkbuying children’s gifts when they go on sale to avoid being caught out with nothing to give. That way, you’ll be able to give a present in return when your little one receives an unexpected gift.
22. Makeshift crayon container
Kids get bored easily, so it’s a good idea to keep a stash of crayons in your purse at all times. But how do you prevent these from getting crushed and making a mess all over your things? That’s easy: these plastic gum containers are the perfect size for your children’s art supplies. So, try repurposing the packaging rather than throwing them away.
21. Non-drip ice pack
Ice packs come in handy to cool our little ones whether they’re sick or simply too warm. But try the following trick at home before you rush out to buy expensive the varieties. Wet a sponge, pop it in a ziplock bag and stick the whole thing in the freezer. This way, you’ll have a DIY ice pack ready at hand next time the child is in need of a cold compress.
20. Tape off the area
When it comes to sound-making toys, for many children it is a case of the noisier the better, which can drive mom and dad to distraction. So, in order to maintain parental sanity – and a degree of peace around the house – consider covering the speakers on your kid’s all-singing-and-dancing devices with a little tape to dim the sound.
19. Avoid catching them sticky fingered
When the weather heats up, there is nothing better than an ice-cold treat to help your kids cool off. However, handing them a sticky, melting mass on a hot summer’s afternoon just leads to dirty hands. So, to save your fixtures and fittings from the worst of the paw prints, affix these clever cupcake liners to catch the offending drips.
18. Take the sparkle out of your life
Whatever strange substance they make glitter from, it certainly seems to have the magical ability to get absolutely everywhere. And while a wee bit of sparkle is undeniably pretty, no parent wants their home to resemble a unicorn’s lair. Consequently, it is vital to attend to glitter spillages at source as soon as the disaster happens. And one of the best tools for this rapid-response household clean-up is the humble lint roller.
17. Seal the deal with your bath-time buddies
Floating bath toys can be a weapon of great distraction in the battle to wash your child’s hair. But over time, your rubber ally will collect excess soap, scum and stale water inside – eventually causing them to go moldy. To prevent this from happening, simply cover up the hole in the bottom of the toy using a glue gun.
16. Encourage cleanliness, don’t faucet
When a child is unable to comfortably reach under the faucet it can be hugely difficult to encourage the little one to wash their hands. Eliminate this problem by cutting up an old lotion bottle and fashioning it into a nifty extender. That way, any excuse from your kids as to why their hands are not perfectly clean will come up a little short.
15. Pencil in a solution for getting a grip
Holding a big pencil properly and making it work obediently can be hugely difficult for small hands. Thankfully, however, all you really need is a rubber band to help your child master this skill. Simply make a figure of eight with the band and place one loop around the little one’s wrist. Then wrap the other loop around the pencil, and help your kid get it write.
14. Go dotty to stay sane while doing laundry
Sorting the laundry can be tough when you have multiple kids who are all of a confusingly similar age. And valuable time can be wasted worrying about whose little shirt is whose. But before you splash out on expensive name tags, consider using this simple dot strategy for identifying your laundry. Using a pen, mark one dot on your eldest kid’s stuff, two dots for your second child and so on down the washing line.
13. Superhero help with getting left and right right
Determining which shoe goes on which foot can be a tricky task for some tots to master. To guide them on their way, firstly freak them out by cutting a sticker of one of their favorite cartoon characters in half. When the crying has calmed down a little, place each separate sticker half inside the left and right of the sniveling child’s shoes. Now, watch their smiles emerge through the tears as the cartoon favorite is made whole again when the shoes are correctly placed together.
12. Ensure you secure your electricals
Needless to say, children and electricity simply do not mix. So, to prevent any hair-raising accidents in your family home, place a padlock through the electrical prongs on any unused appliances. That way your little ones can’t play with anything too shocking even if they were tempted to in the first place.
11. Your first job? Make a chore chart
No home runs by itself, and housework seems to multiply tenfold when you introduce children into the domestic mix. However, assigning them some simple chores by way of an easy-to-read chart means that junior members of the household can really pull their weight. Erm, not sure we have a sticker for that particular task…
10. Clean up at bath time
Make kiddy cleaning more convenient in the bath by containing your baby and its bits and pieces in a laundry basket. The holes in its sides will enable water to flow through easily, but the structure will create a barrier for your tot and their essential accessories. Hopefully, this will result in you being able to get on with the task in hand – rather than having to retrieve sail-away toys every ten seconds. It also means that you will have the baby right where you want them while you successfully clean up.
9. Rubber-band boon to open-door policy
The humble rubber band is capable of all manner of amazingly ingenious usages. One perhaps hitherto hidden property is its ability to prevent kids from getting locked in the bathroom. To give little hands the power to make any size of door swing open, loop each end of a band around the opposing handles. Then, ensure that the rubber covers the latch so it cannot click into the lock.
8. Score some peace of mind with this helpful little number
Away from the home, losing a tiny child in a crowded place is right up there with any parent’s worst nightmares. And this must be especially true if the wandering wee one is too young to remember complex contact information. But in the unhappy case of the unimaginable ever happening, arm your child with a bracelet which makes a feature of your phone number. Even if it is hopefully never needed for the purpose you intended, this contact jewelry should at least give you some peace of mind.
7. Get the little suckers to self-dose
No child ever enjoys taking their medicine. However, try this trick if your sick son or daughter flat-out refuses to open wide. All you need to do is open up a pacifier and insert a medicine dropper behind the teat. Then you can sneak any amount of a healing liquid directly into the patient’s mouth as they self-soothe.
6. Make quick work of the kids’ menu with a pizza cutter
Given their small mouths and small digestive systems, some children need to consume their food in mini-bite-sized chunks. And cutting the kids’ menu down to size can take a massive part out of a parent’s day. So, for any mom or dad looking to save time hacking up food, seek out a pizza cutter and glide your way to good-sized fork-fulls.
5. Help sleepy kids to float away safely with a pool noodle
As they transition from a crib to a more grown-up sleeping berth, younger children may find themselves falling out of bed a number of times. To avoid anything going bump in the night, parents should take their cue from the pool. Make sure everyone sleeps through by placing a pool noodle under a fitted sheet along the infant’s bed. This way, the swimming accessory creates a protective barrier for baby and lets them float way to the land of nod safely.
4. Wrap superstar steps up to the rescue when things get crafty
Press’n Seal plastic food wrap was invented to keep groceries fresh and free from contamination. But at craft time, this handy consumer item can also keep your kid’s clothes free of paint, glue and glitter. Therefore, the next time your child is feeling creative, make sure they are wrapped in the sticky plastic so you can simply peel off the almighty mess in a moment.
3. Wine can be a good idea
After you have carried your bottles home from the liquor store, why not soften your sense of guilt by transforming your wine carrier into a diaper caddy? The separate, sturdy compartments are ideal for storing all manner of baby paraphernalia. And – as one excited dad once pointed out on Instagram – there may even be space for a cheeky beer.
2. Get the best results with a crib sheet
Fresh air is good for all of us, but a baby’s delicate skin needs careful protection outside from the powerful rays of the sun. To achieve this while al fresco with your little one, simply place a handy crib sheet over their playpen. This way, infants can happily enjoy the great outdoors without risking their perfect complexions.
1. Dishwasher freshener for funky old toys
Given that they practically live on the floor, toys can become a breeding ground for all kinds of harmful germs. So, in order to protect our children’s health, it is important to clean their play things every now and again. But rather than wiping each item over individually, just put them all in the dishwasher and watch their healthy sparkle return in one cycle.