So, I think we can all agree that parenting’s just kinda tough. Clothing, feeding, and caring for a tiny person (or two, or three, or more) is hard enough, but add in teaching her all the things she needs to know while navigating a landmine of legos and Barbie shoes and you now have a herculean task. Over my 15 years of parenting experience, I’ve discovered some products that are the ultimate parenting hacks: products that help get kids to bed, help keep them there longer, solve the constant “I need a cup” problem, convince them to eat dinner, make hand washing easier, and more. Seriously, one more hack to help older kids figure out how to stop losing their homework and we’re golden. If only I’d known about all of these with my first child!
Read on for the very best parenting hacks, aka products that can make your life as a mom or dad about a hundred time easier. (Please note: all links are affiliate links to Amazon. Prices listed are current as of post publication date, but Amazon prices tend to change.)
1. Make bath time simpler with the Skip Hop Moby Waterfall Bath Rinser ($10). Any parent knows rinsing shampoo out of a child’s hair is fraught with danger: let even the tiniest bit make it’s way into her eyes and she’ll be screaming bloody murder. Then have fun trying to convince her to do it again the next night! This clever scoop has a soft rubber lip that fits against a child’s forehead and funnels water away from her face, allowing for tear-free rinses. Note: works best with toddler age and up; may be a little too big for use on younger babies.
2. End the dinner struggles with the Dinner Winner Kid’s Tray (usually $12; but when it becomes unavailable from Amazon the price goes way up. If it’s listed at something ridiculous like $40 just check back a few days later!). I cannot tell you how many tricks, bribes, and negotiations we tried with my picky eaters. Eventually we gave up and told them if they weren’t going to eat what I’d cooked they could have fruit, veggies, or yogurt and nothing else…and eventually they started eating more. But I have a suspicion that if we’d just had these trays dinnertime could have been SO MUCH EASIER!
3. Solve the bedtime fights with Projectables Frozen Night Light ($15). My daughter just got this for Christmas, and it’s a hit! Instead of just being a standard night light with a frozen picture on it, it actually projects an image from the movie onto the ceiling or wall in her room! There are six different images to choose from and deciding which one she wants to turn on actually makes her excited to head to bed. Plus, when she’s worried she’ll have a bad dream she can think about her favorite princess “friends”.
4. End the 5 am wakeup call with this Stoplight Alarm Clock ($30). You set it so the red light shows when it’s time to stay in bed, and it turns to green when it’s ok to get up in the morning. I’m sure there are kids who will ignore the light and come out whenever they feel like it, but from the reviews it sounds like this clock has ended a lot of early morning wakeup calls for parents.
5. Avoid the torture that is stepping on a lego in the middle of the night with this Floor Mat/Storage Bag ($17). It lays flat for kids to play on, then can simply be cinched up when they’re done, corralling all those little bricks before they can destroy your bare feet.
6. Keep kids from getting their food all over the table at restaurants (and germs all over their food) with these Disposable Stick-on Placemats ($23 for 50). I LOVE these handy little things! At restaurants I would put the food directly on the placemat (no more risk of plates getting tossed on the floor) and when we were done, it’s easy to just pull up the placemat and throw away all the mess. In addition, looking at the familiar characters can help keep little ones occupied while you’re waiting for your food.
7. End the constant requests for help getting a drink (and the never-ending washing of cups) with these GENIUS Puj PhillUp cups that attach right to your fridge ($35 for 4). They’re a little pricey for cups, but I have a feeling they’d be worth their weight in gold!
8. Keep kids warm or cool in the car with the Noggle heat or A/C extender ($40). The Noggle hooks into an air vent and then delivers the warm or cool air directly to your child in the backseat. I wish I’d had one of these when we lived in Memphis! During the summers my boys would actually have sweat running down their poor faces in the car because the air conditioning never quite made it back to them.
9. Make feeding your baby easy anywhere with the Regalo Portable Hook On High Chair ($18). These are intended for portable use, but I got two when we had the twins and never used a (big, ugly) standard high chair again, even in my own kitchen. They save space and allow your little one to sit right next to you at the table. I always kept one hooked onto my kitchen island to put my baby in while I made dinner – she could sit and play with toys instead of crawling around at my feet while I cooked!
10. Make hand washing simpler for everyone with the Aqueduck Faucet Extender ($10). With the extender kids can actually reach the water! And make teeth brushing simpler with the Dreamfarm Tapi Fountain Tap ($10). Water flows through it like normal, until you squeeze the bottom, which changes it into a drinking fountain!
11. Finally, help little ones with colds breathe easier with the Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator (aka the SnotSucker – $15). Yep, it’s totally gross when you think about how it works – you put one end of the tube in baby’s nose and suck the other end to clear her nasal passages. However, the filters inside ensure you will never, ever, end up with snot or germs in your mouth and it’s FIVE THOUSAND times easier to use than those little blue nasal aspirators they give you at the hospital. Plus it works a lot better and isn’t nearly as distressing for the baby. The first time you’re worried your baby can’t breathe because she’s all stuffed up, you’re going to wish you had one of these!
So tell me, what are your favoring parenting products or hacks? Let us all know in the comments!