If anything, kids teach us how to be resourceful and creative—from messes, meltdowns and more. These 12 clever parenting hacks are ones you’ll be so glad you’ve memorized.
Over the years, I’ve come up with some good parenting hacks to make life easier and less stressful. I’ve learned how to avoid meltdowns. Okay, not all of them, but it’s saved us a lot.
And, beyond that, we all know that parenting goes far beyond keeping your kids safe and entertained. I’ve learned that stains should be expected and messes happen literally everywhere, so here are a few of my best parenting hacks to keep you sane, your kids happier and your house liveable!
12 Extremely Clever Parenting Hacks You Should Absolutely Know
How to Remove Tomato Stains
We all know that when kids eat, messes are common, especially with messy foods. And why is it that messy foods seem to be their favorites?
If your kids love pasta and tomato sauce as much as mine do, then this one will save you time and money honestly because you won’t be tossing out as many stained clothes as you used to.
If they get sauce on their clothes, simply lay them out in the sun, stain side up for a day. The stain will disappear! It’s wild. After that, I spray the area with OxiClean just to be safe. Wash and your clothes will be totally stain free!
How to Quickly Avoid a Meltdown
All too often our mornings start with, “mommy, I don’t want to go to school today!” When I say, “sorry, it’s a school day” a meltdown ensues.
But, if I answer and then change the subject to something fun, like “do you want to go for a scooter ride after breakfast?” or”do you want to help me make pancakes?” he’s quickly forgotten about his faux hate for school and his meltdown changes to excitement.
I always want to explain things to him, but most times this is easier and FAR more effective, because explaining why we go to school and that mom and dad have to work just doesn’t always click in his brain. It doesn’t work every time, but I continue to be pretty impressed with the success rate!
Distractions & Jobs Are Helpful for Everyone
Sometimes just shifting their thoughts can change everything. I also find that my kids love to feel helpful and a part of the family. That means giving them simple, age-appropriate jobs. I love this because it helps with growing their self-esteem and independence. They can channel their energy into something that makes them feel good.
We also use distractions and games to shift behavior. When I was breastfeeding, I would set up mazes for my oldest and we’d pretend the floor was lava so he could be distracted and having fun while I was feeding the baby.
10 Minute Tidy Up
My favorite mom hack for keeping your house somewhat organized and pulled together. Whenever kids go to sleep or down for a nap, set a timer for 10 minutes and clean up as much as you can. It might not be everything, but it keeps things more manageable for sure.
RELATED: 6 Tips for Keeping your Home Tidy
I love doing this before bed at night too because waking up to a clean(ish) home is honestly one of the best things ever! You can also do it with your kids by making it a race! Which brings me to my next hack.
Make It a Game
Why do kids seem to hate cleaning up?! Whenever I turn on a song, or make it a game, my oldest seems to forget he’s cleaning and does it easily. I also use cleaning up as a transition to the next thing. Like, “we can go outside and play AFTER you’ve cleaned up”, or “we can have a snack, but first we need to pick up your toys!” Works like a charm!
Cardboard Boxes are Life
Personally, I prefer to shop online, so we end up with a lot of packages, but instead of just tossing the boxes into the recycling bin, I usually keep them around for at least a few days. Especially the big ones that can be transformed into “cars” or “houses”.
They are great, free entertainment, and when you’re done, you can recycle them! They’re also great for painting on, or parking toy cars in from our experience. Eventually they fall apart or rip, and that’s when I take them out.
Stay on a Schedule
Kids LOVE routine and knowing what to expect. It doesn’t have to be rigid, but if we do the same general routine for mornings and nights, everyone is happier when they know what to expect.
A visual calendar or job chart works great for kids who struggle with transition, this helps them get used to it and they can understand it in a way that makes sense to them.
Meal Plan on Sundays
Dinner time is easily one of the most stressful parts of the day, but if I have a plan and have shopped in advance, the whole week is easier.
I use a simple free printable to write our meals for the week, here’s a similar one, so I stay organized and everyone knows what’s on the menu! We have a few weekly staples like tacos on Tuesday and pizza takeout on Fridays that makes planning every week less daunting.
Door Knob Cover to Keep Toddlers in Their Room
Our biggest fear with moving our oldest to a big boy bed was that he would come out of his room and into ours in the middle of the night or nap time.
Thankfully, he loves his Hatch light and actually sticks to the rules, but I know that not every kid is like that. My PT told me to put a door knob cover on the inside knob so that he couldn’t get out. Sounds harsh, but it teaches them to stay in their room and having the advice come from an expert made me feel better about it.
Use a Toddler Tower to Include Kids in Meal Time
Why is it that 5pm is one of the most challenging hours of the day? I’m often worn out from my day and the kids come home from school exhausted and are quick to lose their patience.
Involving them with meal time is often a game-changer. We bought a toddler tower so they can easily climb up and help. I also grabbed these fun kid-safe knives so they can chop vegetables and feel helpful. It’s also a great way to get them to try new veggies—he always wants to taste everything he chops!
How to Remove Crayon Off Anything
Not too long ago, I noticed one of my children coloring on our white marble table. Not on paper, on the actual table. Later, I found orange crayon on our white walls too. I tried scrubbing with a sponge with no results.
But then remembered I had a Magic Eraser sponge!
I don’t really get why they work so well, but they’re literally magic for getting crayon off of anything! It’s also worked to remove acrylic paint off furniture and any other stain or scribble that I think is permanent!
Another Use for Dog Waste Bags
This is genius for babies who all too often have blowouts or spit up and soak their outfit. You don’t want to toss the outfit if you’re out, but putting it back into your bag without a bag? Gross.
Having a roll of dog waste bags in your diaper bag or stroller will save you. This solves the problem and is cheap!
What genius parenting hacks do you have? Please share in the comments!