When you’re a busy parent, you learn to appreciate each day’s small triumphs. It might be finally finding a sippy cup that doesn’t leak, getting your picky eater to try a new food or finding a way to make the bedtime routine go a little more smoothly.
In honor of National Parents’ Day on July 28 – or, really, any time of year – Metro Parent wants to help you have more of these small “aha” moments. We compiled this list of 10 of the coolest parenting “life hacks” we could find – the sort of tips and tricks that just might make your day a little easier and slightly less stressful.
Have some favorite parenting hacks to add? Tell us in the comments!
1. Painter’s tape tricks
Spilled a whole box of cereal? Let your kids help this time by using blue painter’s tape to mark a box showing where they should sweep the mess. Toys overflowing into the dining room? Use the tape to outline a clear “toy zone.”
2. Glitter fairy
Is the Tooth Fairy running late? Keep a bottle of glitter or glitter spray in an out-of-reach drawer and use it whenever you need something to look a bit more magical, like tooth fairy money or gifts.
3. Monster spray
Don’t let monsters under the bed keep your little one (and subsequently mom and dad) awake. Make a “monster spray” using an old spray bottle to give your young kids peace of mind.
4. “Push me!”
“Just a few pushes” on the swing is never just a few, right? Tie a rope to the swing, take a seat and let everyone relax a bit.
5. No more drippy popsicles
Popsicles are great, especially during the summer, but they melt almost instantly (usually over your favorite outfit or rug). Use a cupcake liner or the lid of a coffee cup to catch the drips.
6. The right foot?
Follow this toddler tip for little ones who are prone to putting their shoes on the wrong feet. Just cut a sticker in half and place one side in each shoe.
7. Extra dishwasher uses
You might be surprised by what you can clean in the dishwasher, including kids’ shoes, toys, sports gear, brushes and more.
8. Use your noodle
Pool noodles can be used to help keep your kids from falling off their beds, to make your trampoline safer or to protect little ones from slamming their fingers in a door.
9. Trace your steps
Some kids hate standing still to have their feet measured, while others just don’t like waiting around while you shop for shoes. Trace your child’s feet at home instead so you can have them measured without the fuss.
10. Cut down on cups
Kids always seem to need a new cup for every serving of juice. Cut down on your daily cup usage by gluing magnets to a few cups and keeping one on the fridge throughout the day.
This post was originally published in 2016 and is updated regularly.