Parenting is hard. Don't get me wrong; being a parent is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. But all parents will be sleepless and covered in spit up and snot for a few years. At least.
New parents especially need all the help they can get. These every-day heroes deserve to have their lives made easy for them.
The parenting hacks below are so simple and so effective, you won't believe you ever got through your days without them.
Cardboard Box Creativity
via: ImgurNeed an easy way to keep your kid from writing on the walls? Need an easy way to keep track of where your kid is? Well, this strategy will kill both problems with one hack. Put him in a cardboard box, hand him some crayons, and you're golden for hours.
via: ImgurCut a sticker in half and place each half in one of your child's shoes to help them keep pairs together and know which one goes on which foot! She may never learn the difference between left and right, but it'll save you some time, and that's what this is really about.
via: ImgurIf your baby is having trouble staying still for portraits, use mama or papa as a baby platform! It's foolproof, plus you can probably fit in a quick nap.
Paint the Fence
via: ImgurKeep your kid occupied for hours with a little white lie. Tell him you need the fence painted, then give him a pail of water and a brush. He'll feel like he's helping!
Glow Stick Bath Time
via: ImgurAdd glow sticks to the bathtub to make bath time more fun! Though I don't know why you would have to make bath time more fun. It's the best.
Find the Keys
via: ImgurIf you can't find your car keys or your sunglasses, don't stress yourself out looking for them all by yourself! Employ your small army of free slaves* to help you look. Make it a game. Whoever finds the missing object(s) gets a prize (assuming you can keep track of it). *children
via: ImgurIf you have multiple little ones, back-seat fighting is a real issue. If it's out of control, use foam or cardboard dividers to keep the peace.
via: ImgurMonster spray really works. Fill a spray bottle with water (or Febreze!) and slap a fun label on it. Monsters will no longer haunt the closets or under-beds of your little ones. (Also maybe don't let them watch Monsters, Inc. until they're over this little phase.)
via: ImgurVelcro the ends of your rug down to the floor to keep your little tyke from tripping. This is also a great hack for clumsy adults.
A Fan of Forts
via: ImgurMake a fort with a fitted sheet and a fan! It's a bubble of fun! Plus, it's really cool.
What Time Is It?
via: ImgurUse a color-coded clock to help your kids learn time management skills. Like many other hacks on this list, I know a few adults who could use this themselves.
Hidden Candy Trick
via: ImgurHiding candy in a vegetable bag is an age-old trick that can be used to keep the goods from all manner of curious snoopers. The risk you take with this one is forgetting that you hid candy and not remembering it's there when one of those (quite frequent) candy emergencies pop up.
Reusable Babysitter Info Board
via: ImgurUse a picture frame or a piece of laminated paper to create a reusable form for nights when you need a babysitter. It'll have all the info the neighbor's teenage daughter will need to ensure she doesn't bother you on your first date night in six months.
via: ImgurUse those cool plastic ball toys to make an easily graspable bottle for your baby. It will especially come in handy on car rides when there isn't another adult in the back seat.
via: ImgurDon't throw away that empty lotion bottle! Cut out the bottom and side and use it as a sink extender. No more reaching on tippy toes or falling off step stools for your little girl or guy.
Baby Eye Shower Cap
via: ImgurThis little shower cap is the perfect way to keep water out of your baby's eyes during bath time. Not to mention it's super adorable.
via: ImgurUse a fitted sheet to keep your kid shaded during outdoor playtime! As you'll see in the next couple of hacks, bed sheets are more versatile than you may think...
via: ImgurA fitted sheet creates a perfect sand-free zone on beach days! All you need are some heavy objects to anchor each corner, and with all your new-parent supplies, that shouldn't be a problem.
via: ImgurTie a flat sheet around a table to create a makeshift hammock! Your little munchkin can entertain him or herself while you read this list and take copious notes.
via: ImgurChores can be fun if they're disguised as games. Tape a square to the floor for sweeping or see who can pick up their toys the fastest. Trickery is totally acceptable if it's for the good of the household.
Hot Wheels Parking Garage
via: ImgurUse PVC pipes to make a "parking garage" for your kid's million different Hot Wheels cars. Again, this tricks them into thinking it's fun to put their toys away, and you won't step on the toy cars and curse the heavens anymore.
via: ImgurOn cold or rainy days when a trip to the park isn't possible, use cardboard boxes to convert your staircase into a slide! You might want to fortify the bottom with pillows and blankets to prevent injuries.
via: ImgurIf there's one truth about kids, it's that they can never seem to finish lollipops! Use that plastic egg from that vending machine toy as a lollipop saver and you'll never find a fuzzy leftover pop melted onto the floor of your car again.
"I'm Lost" Temporary Tattoos
via: ImgurNow this is genius. If you're going to be out all day, stamp your kids with temporary tattoos that have your phone number on them. If they get lost, they won't be for long! For the kid who's known to wander off, you might want to put the tattoo on their forehead.
via: ImgurYou'll win "Parent of the Decade" with this cute hack. Make an adult-sized t-shirt with your son or daughter's high school graduation year on it, then take a picture of them in it every year until they graduate. You'll see them grow up (and into that t-shirt) right before your eyes!
Gender Neutral Toys
via: ImgurTruly gender-neutral toys for kids are hard to come by, but it's important not to assume that your little boy wants to play with trucks or your little girls is all about Barbie dolls. So what's an easy solution? Give them everything! Let them tuck their Hot Wheels into baby dolls beds. Gender is a social construct but having fun shouldn't be.
via: ImgurIf your little one grows out of his or her crib, don't fold that bad boy up just yet! You can easily convert it into a chalkboard desk that will provide years of fun.
via: ImgurWhen kids get sick, it can turn your world upside-down. But one thing that can make the whole ordeal a little easier is to track the doses of their medicine on the bottle itself. That way, you're never wondering if you missed a dose and you can concentrate on giving your child whatever he or she needs to feel better.
Scrolling Art Square
via: ImgurUse a scroll of artist's paper to create a never-ending pallet of fun for your kids. This way, they can still draw on the wall without giving you a heart attack.
Beanie Comfort Hand
via: ImgurSometimes your baby will need the comfort of some human touch but you'll realllllllly have to go to the bathroom. In emergencies like this, Beanie Hand will come to the rescue! Fill a glove with beans, sew it shut, and it will provide some much-needed comfort to your little one while you're temporarily unavailable.
Pull-Out Step Stool
via: ImgurSink struggles are real when you're less than four feet tall. This pull-out step is the perfect fix. It's efficient, space-saving and way cool.
Toilet Paper Saver
via: ImgurFor some reason, kids love going crazy with toilet paper. (Have you ever gone crazy with toilet paper? It's super fun.) When they're learning how much TP to use, a "You shall not pass!" sign is an effective teaching tool.
Frozen Mallow Ice Pack
via: ImgurIce packs can be hard and way too cold for sensitive kid skin. A frozen bag of marshmallows is much softer, doesn't get as cold and is much more delicious.
via: ImgurLEGOs are a childhood staple, but because they're so small and there are so many of them, it can be hard to know where they are at all times. Therefore, they get disgusting. But now, there's an insanely easy way to wash your kids' LEGOs. Gather them in a laundry wash bag (maybe leave your bras for the next load), and run them in the washing machine. Voila!
via: ImgurUse fabric paint to make socks stylish and non-slip! Finally, your little superhero will be able to run around the hardwood floor without worrying about falling. I wish my parents did this when I was little! Then maybe I wouldn't have that scar from the stitches I got when I slipped and fell chin first onto the floor.
Open Door Policy
via: ImgurUse rubber bands to prevent doors from locking without your consent. Finally, a use for the 5 million loose rubber bands you have in drawers all over your house.
Untangle Barbie's Hair
via: ImgurUse a mixture of water, dish soap and hair conditioner to easily detangle Barbie's hair. (This mixture also cleans her hair, which is a bonus.)
Pool Noodle Protection
via: ImgurUse pool noodles to protect your kids from every sharp corner, every errant piece of metal, every hazard in harm's way. Pool noodles are a true miracle product.
Pool Noodle Finger Saver
via: ImgurKeep kids' fingers from slamming in the door with — you guessed it — a pool noodle! Parents should really bow down to these foamy finger savers.
Pool Noodle Bed Buffer
via: Bored PandaPool noodles prove themselves essential here once again. Stick one under your kid's bed sheet and it will act as a guardrail that will keep your little one from rolling out of bed at night!
via: ImgurUse a hamper to keep toys within arm's reach in the bathtub. There's nothing worse than a rubber duckie that's escaped your grasp.
via: ImgurA coffee lid makes a great on-the-go drip guard for popsicles. You might spill your lidless coffee all over yourself, but at least your kid won't be messy.
Exercise Ball Chair
via: ImgurExercise ball chairs can help your child concentrate on homework. OR they can distract your kid and let them bounce all over the house. Either way, physical activity is a positive thing, right?
via: ImgurFor gamer moms and dads, kids wanting to play with you can totally ruin your progress. The solution? Give them unplugged controllers. They'll feel like they're playing and be none the wiser, and you can easily capture that princess and feed her to the dragon or whatever.
via: ImgurUse these adorable pet toothpaste toppers to help your kids remember to brush their teeth. They may not be inclined to brush if there's nothing fun about it. But these silly guys make brushing goofy and hilarious!
DVD Case Coloring Kit
via: ImgurAn old DVD case makes for a great homemade art kit. Make a wrapping paper pocket for colored pencils and supplies and put a pad of paper on the left side. It's perfect!
Wire Hanger Bookshelf
via: Reddit/daedalus_78This dad has got life all figured out. Pour a beer, connect a rope to your kid's swing, sit back and relax. This kid won't have terrible memories of being yanked around by a rope or anything.
via: One Little ProjectGive your kids a yummy summer treat by freezing soda into popsicles. Add gummy bears for an extra fun time (and extra sugar. Always add extra sugar).