It takes a village — and some genius hacks — to raise a child.
1. Raise the triangles on the sides of a juice box to make it easier for little kids to lift.
“No more spilling juice everywhere because someone pressed too firmly on the carton.”
2. Childproof cabinet doors using hair ties.
3. Ward off your kid’s nightmares with “nightmare spray.”
“My six-year-old son was having awful nightmares, so I bought a bottle of inexpensive lavender body spray, removed the label, and replaced it with one that read: ‘Nightmare Spray: Guaranteed to Ward Off Closet Monsters, Creepy Crawlies, and Things That Go Bump In the Night!’ A couple sprays and he sleeps like a log.”
— Shannon Eckleberry, Facebook
4. Trick picky eaters into eating their dinner by “replacing it” with another meal.
“I sometimes take my picky eater’s unwanted dinner back to the kitchen and “replace it” with a more desirable one. For example, beef tacos recently came back as chili tortillas. I just made some clanging sounds in the kitchen and rolled them instead of folded.”
— Samantha Weisel, Facebook
5. Remove marker and crayon from most surfaces using toothpaste.
“I lived for years with a Sharpie on my kitchen table before my cousin introduced me to this tip!”
6. Train toddlers to stop on command with the “Stop and Go” game.
“I taught my two-year-old that when I said ‘Go’ we’d run, and when I said ‘Stop’ we’d stop in our tracks. We played this game fairly often, and it made my life SO much easier when he’d run off as toddlers are wont to do. I’d yell ‘Stop,’ and he’d think we were playing and freeze.”
— Allison Marston, Facebook
7. Keep from losing child-sized socks by washing them together in a garment mesh bag.
“I have no idea how many socks we went through before i started doing this. It saves time and money when it comes to pairing them back up.”
8. Trick toddlers who refuse to eat dinner into coming to the table by pretending to eat their food.
“Sometimes, in order to get my 20-month-old to eat his supper, I pretend I’m going to eat his food so he’ll get mad and come to the table!”
— Jennifer Wirsing, Facebook
9. Put post-it notes over the sensors of automatic flushing toilets to keep them from flushing suddenly and scaring your kid.
“The post-it note keeps the sensor from thinking that something is in front of it, and therefore stops any potentially scary flushes!”
10. Use a pizza cutter to quickly cut pancakes into child-sized bites.
“It’s so much easier and faster.”
11. Make a “school lunch station” so your kids can pack their own lunches in the morning.
“There are three bins in my fridge, and the kids can pack their own lunches by choosing an item from each one. One bin is for dairy (cheese, yogurt), one is for fruits and veggies (apple slices, grapes, carrot sticks), and one is for “mains” (pita and hummus, salads, and ingredients for sandwiches). It makes mornings so much easier.”
— Emily Batson Tennent, Facebook
Learn more about a similar idea here.
12. Snap a photo of your kid next to a standard height object (like a door handle) before you go out so that — should you get separated from each other — you’ll have a record of what they look like that day.
“If my kid ever gets lost I don’t need to describe every detail — I have their most recent photo and height scaled.”
— Teresa Balloveras, Facebook
13. Put a key ring on your child’s jacket to make it easier for them to zip up.
“I put a little key ring on my daughter’s school jacket to help her zip it up. It also makes her jacket easier to spot among the others at school.”
— Jenny Cheung, Facebook
14. Deter little kids from complaining about doing things by telling them they’re in a race with their sibling to complete them.
“In order to get my two-year-old buckled into his car seat without complaining, my oldest son and I pretend it’s a race and that we’re going to win first. This makes him race to get buckled up before us. Works every time!”
— Kristina R. Harkins, Facebook
15. Bring Ziploc bags to the movies to make individual popcorn bags for your kids.
“When we go to the movies, I bring two Ziploc bags for my twins. I’ll buy a large popcorn and split it among the two bags (so the kids aren’t fighting over the popcorn bucket), then go get a refill for myself. I’m paying for free refills so why not?”
— Francisco Abarca
16. Put complete outfits into Ziploc bags so smaller kids can pick their own outfits without you having to worry their choices won’t match.
— Shannon Sklar, Facebook
17. Use a colored clock to help your kids understand your day’s schedule.
I got tired of arguing with my three-year-old about what time it was, so I took the face off a cheap clock and colored the paper with the numbers on it. I used “red” for meal times, “blue for” sleep times, etc., then put a sticker on the hour hand so she’d know which one to look at.
Now when she doesn’t want to get ready for her nap or to eat dinner, I tell her to go look at her clock and tell me what color it is. She comes running back saying, ‘It’s in the red!’ And I’ll say, ‘Right. That means it’s dinner time.’ It’s helped explain the concept of time to her, and she loves having a clock of her own.”
— Laura Webster, Facebook
18. Use a baby toothbrush to clean under a toddler’s nails.
“It’s both softer and smaller than regular nail brushes.”
— Lisha Kay Matlock, Facebook
19. Put glow sticks into the bath to encourage dirt-loving kids to take a bath.
“Your kids will play so much in the bath that they’ll get nice and clean.”
— Kelsey Worstell, Facebook
20. Limit power struggles with your kids by never asking open-ended questions.
“I always give kids options like: ‘Do you want broccoli or carrots?’ It cuts down on power struggles like a charm!”
21. Use shoe organizers to organize your kid’s things in the car.
“I have two in the car to store my girls’ toys, sunglasses, crayons, wipes, you name it.”
22. Make PB&J sandwiches less messy by using the jelly pocket method.
“Put a thin layer of peanut butter on each slice of bread and then put the jelly in the middle. The peanut butter acts like a barrier between the bread and the jelly!”
Learn more about this hack here.
23. Keep Lego mini-figures on your key chain to entertain your kid in a pinch.
“If we ever get stuck waiting somewhere I give these mini-figures to my little guy, and he’ll entertain himself for a good twenty minutes at least.”
24. Put diapers, travel wipes, and diaper cream in a gallon-sized storage bag for an easy travel-changing bag.
“I just throw the bag in my purse and go!”
25. Use puppy pads to make cleaning up a middle of the night accident a snap.
“Put two layers of sheets and puppy pads on the mattress (pads, sheet, pads, sheet) so if your kid has an accident in the middle of the night you won’t be scrambling to make the bed again!”