Sure, being a parent is incredibly rewarding, but let’s face it, with all that we juggle during the day — every single day — we parents could all use a shortcut or two to simplify our lives.
Here are 30 simple parenting tricks to help make life a little easier and more fun for you and your kids. These are simple, unconventional solutions to kid/parenting related challenges that I’ve collected and tested myself through the years.
The chores-to-game trick alone is priceless in my book, and it taught my child to pick up after himself without any grief.
I’ve also included my favorite “Why didn’t I think of that!” tricks for learning, playtime, eating, travel, organizing, and health.
1. Have your child sit on a stability ball while doing homework. They’ll think it’s fun and not even know that it’s also helping them to concentrate.
2. Use empty lotion bottles as faucet extenders to encourage little ones to wash their hands on their own. (One of my favorite parenting hacks!)
3. A cheap shower caddy makes a great place to hold food and drinks in the car!
4. Use an inflatable pool as a baby playpen.
5. Create a mural by using an old sheet and laying it out on your lawn during painting.
6. Keep the kids from locking themselves in the bathroom by using a rubber band like this.
7. Teach kids to put their shoes on the correct feet by cutting a fun character sticker in half and placing them on the insides of their shoes. Kids will have fun matching up the stickers when putting on their shoes.
8. Prevent your kids from wasting plastic cups or leaving them lying around the house with these DIY magnetic cups!
9. A pool noodle cut long ways can be attached to the door to prevent slamming and little fingers from getting caught.
10. Scare away monsters with this “No Monsters Spray”. Decorate a spray bottle with monster stickers and when your little one gets scared in the night, you can spray away the scares, or they can even do it themselves!
11. Save your car’s cup holders by lining them with reusable muffin cups.
12. Turn chores into a fun game. (I’ve had great success with this one!)
13. Add a lint roller to your craft room. It’s great for picking up little messes like glitter!
14. Teach your child to hold a pencil the right way using just a wad of tissue with this trick!
15. Make splinter removals less painful. Put a paste of baking soda and water on the splinter and leave for a few minutes. The baking soda will push the splinter out for easy removal.
16. No-mess painting for the littles! Add three dollops of different colored paint into a resealable plastic zip lock bag and tape to a window so your baby can create all kinds of colorful designs without the mess.
17. Use puffy fabric paint to paint a grip on the bottom of your toddlers socks.
18. Make a week’s worth of baby food ahead by freezing baby sized portions in an ice tray.
19. Make your kids’ coughs disappear. Lather some VapoRub on her feet and cover them with thick socks. I read about this all over the web so I tried it on myself and it worked. And it worked for my son’s cough just as well.
20. Limit soap waste by twisting rubber bands around the pump, making it impossible to push all the way down and dispense too much soap.
21. Soothe sunburns by filling an ice tray with aloe and use the frozen aloe cubes to treat the skin.
22. Keep pacifiers clean in your baby bag or purse by putting them “sauce to go” containers.
23. Organize wrapping paper by cutting a toilet roll through the middle and wrapping it around wrapping paper to prevent it from unrolling.
24. Use a little tape and place it between the handles of nail clippers to catch toenail clippings.
25. Poke the bottom of popsicle sticks through a muffin cup to catch the melting ice and keep your kids hands from getting dirty.
26. Keep bugs out of juice by cutting a hole for a straw in a muffin cup and placing it upside down onto a glass. Poke a straw through it so it looks like a juice box and no bugs can get inside.
27. Create a kid-sized hammock by tying a sheet around your kitchen table creating a small pocket that a small child can curl up in.
28. Keep your toiletries from ruining your clothes by unscrewing lid, add a small square of plastic wrap and screw the top back on.
29. Get your teenager to clean their room by leaving money in a hidden spot. Their room will be clean in no time.
30. Rub away a headache by massaging the spot between the thumb and pointer finger until the pain disappears. I use this trick all the time and it really works.
For more from Carmen Sakurai, visit her blog Ninja Mom Diaries and her Facebook page.