Bringing up a child: it’s one of life’s biggest challenges. From keeping little ones entertained to cleaning up after them, there’s always something to do. With these ingenious parenting hacks, however, you can buy yourself some valuable time, and your kid will be none the wiser.
20. The bottle cage
This is a game changer for the toddler who wants to hold a bottle but, because of those little fingers, can’t quite manage it. Remove one of the segments from this toy ball to create a makeshift cage that your baby can hold with ease.
19. The inflatable playpen
Contain mess and keep your kids safe with this simple hack. Just put up a small inflatable pool in your living room and toss in some blankets and toys; your kids will be contained and entertained for hours.
18 .The in-car organizer
These handy shoe hangers can be used to store far more than footwear. Hang one over the driver’s seat, or the front passenger seat, in the car and say hello to an impressive amount of organized storage space.
17. The shaded outdoor playpen
This is a clever way of using items you probably already have. Putting a crib sheet over your child’s outdoor playpen will protect your little one from bugs and the sun’s potentially harmful rays.
16. Keep pacifiers in sauce containers
Anyone who’s had a Chinese takeout has probably thrown away dozens of these little sauce containers. But if you give them a good wash you suddenly have somewhere clean and convenient to store your tot’s pacifiers.
15. The shutting-door preventer
Take a small section of fabric and position it between both door knobs. Your child will never lock themselves in their room again, meaning you’ll never again have to work out how to rescue them.
14. The DIY travel tray
Take one large cookie sheet and some leftover fabric, et voilà, you have the key ingredients for a do-it-yourself, car-friendly travel tray. Your little one can eat from it, play from it or watch stuff from it, which is perfect for those long drives.
13. Wash toys in a mesh bag
Small plastic toys can be nightmare to clean. But if they’re placed into a mesh bag, which itself is put into the washing machine or dishwasher, they can all be washed at the same time – without any going missing.
12. The popsicle drip catcher
When popsicles melt two things happen: your child’s fingers get sticky and their clothes get messy. But if you thread a cupcake liner beneath the ice pop the drips will be effortlessly caught.
11. Make cups spill-proof with Press’n Seal
Kids, who aren’t the steadiest on their feet, always spill their drinks. But spillages can be prevented by placing a section of Press’n Seal wrap over their cup. Just remember to punch a hole for the straw.
10. Store stuff in wipe containers
Here’s an environmentally friendly trick that will make parenting easier. Reuse empty baby-wipe containers to store toys, food or craft supplies while you’re out and about.
9. Pre-labeled activity sticks
Stop boredom in its tracks with these super-simple activity sticks, which your kids can help to make. When they’re looking for something to do they just need to pull out a stick and, hey presto, their next activity is sorted.
8. The mess-free cardboard coloring box
In a toddler’s eyes the only thing better than drawing on the walls is drawing on an entire room – something that can be achieved if they’re small enough to fit inside a cardboard box. This hack guarantees hours of fun.
7. Stay sand-free at the beach
While it’s impossible to completely escape sandy clothes and feet at the beach, this awesomely simple trick comes close enough. Take a fitted bed sheet, weigh the corners down with your beach gear – diaper bags, coolers, etc. – and dust your feet off on a towel before entering.
6. The woven wrap hammock
Here’s a fun and easy way to give your tot a convenient place to hang out in the kitchen. Take one woven wrap and, with a square knot, tie it around the dining table. The section underneath the table will become a toddler-friendly hammock.
5. The dirty diaper decoy
Props to whoever figured out this beach hack, which is designed to conceal your belongings while you take a paddle. No one will want to pick up your kid’s used diaper – well, unless the beach employs a litter picker.
4. Use tape to secure bubble wands
Bubble wands won’t spill if they’re kept upright, so next time you host a kids’ party place some tape around the legs of outdoor chairs. The wands can be kept here while they’re not being used, and they won’t drip one bit.
3. Let your kids draw on the (outside) walls
It’s one of life’s certainties: if you have kids they will at some point draw on the walls. Let them get creative to their heart’s content by hanging a giant chalkboard inside a picture frame on an outside wall beforehand.
2. The highchair bib hook
This is the perfect storage spot for bibs and washcloths. Just stick a self-adhesive hook to the back of your little one’s highchair and reach for as many as you need during mealtime.
1. Turn cleaning into a game
Yes, you can get your young ones to help with the household cleaning. Turn tidying up into a fun game with these “street sweeper” brushes, which are perfectly suited to the little truck lovers in your family.