13 Hacks Every Parent Should Know

bite size jelly toast made with cookie cutter

If you are a mom with young children, then you understand how challenging it can be to have an orderly home--toys get thrown astray, carpets become soiled, walls become their favorite canvas to draw on, and minor boo-boos occur. Dealing with these and other issues that arise can be exasperating. However, it doesn't have to be. Life hacks are designed to help you manage your time and daily activities in a more efficient way. Here are 13 that will make life so much easier:

Life Hacks That Are Sure to Make Your Life Easier

1. No-mess painting for babies and toddlers.

Add a bit of different colored paint into a large Ziplock bag, seal it and tape it to the table. Your little artists can make all kinds of designs using their finger. Best part? No mess.

kid covered in paint

2. Buy yourself some time with crayons and a big box.

The No. 2 top toy of all time is unbelievably simple. A cardboard box, plus crayons, equals lots of time for you to get some things done! Or, you know, a game on your phone.

3. Make an indoor table hammock.

Using a baby-wearing wrap or a twin sheet, tie it around your dining room table and secure it with a square knot on top. Figuring out how to get in and out might be the most fun of all for your toddler.

Keep it low to the floor in case of tumbles, and make sure you have a sturdy wooden table.

4. Remove permanent marker and crayon from most surfaces with toothpaste.

Using regular toothpaste, squeeze a small amount onto your finger and rub it in circular motions over the marks. Wipe it off. Voila!

5. Try vinegar for minor burns.

Dilute the vinegar with equal parts water, and soak a small cloth in the solution. Apply the vinegar water to the burn until the skin feels cool. Apply it immediately after the burn and it will ease the pain and prevent a blister. If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, honey – which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties – will also soothe a minor burn.

6. Use a pool noodle as a door stopper.

Cut about 8 inches off a pool noodle and then cut a wedge out of it. Attach it to a door (high enough that your child can’t reach it) to prevent little fingers from getting smashed.

apple slices with peanut butter dip

7. Keep apple slices from getting brown.

Put the apple slices in a food storage container, sprinkle salt over the pieces, add some water and let them soak for a few minutes. Drain the water and give the slices a quick rinse in fresh water to wash away the salty taste.

8. Use Velcro to keep rugs from sliding.

Attach strips of adhesive Velcro to your floor and the underside of your rugs. This will keep your rugs in place and prevent your energetic kiddos from slipping when they’re doing laps around the house.

9. Make really big bubbles with a water bottle.

Cut the bottom from a water bottle. Dip this end in your bubble solution and blow through the mouth of the bottle to make really big bubbles.

10. Put frozen water balloons in your cooler.

Before your next kid’s party, fill several water balloons with water and stick them in the freezer. Use these in your cooler instead of ice, and never have soggy juice boxes again! Bonus: your kids can play with the water balloons the next day once the ice has melted.

11. Organize your coloring books with a dish drying rack.

A drying rack is just the right size for coloring and activity books, and its caddy can hold markers, crayons, and more.

12. Use a cookie cutter to create fun, kid-sized bites.

After you've prepared pancakes, take a cookie cutter and place it in the center of the pancake. Press it down until you've cut through the pancake. Pull the cookie cutter off and extract your creation. Serve it plain or put your imagination further to work by placing jam in such a way that it highlights the shape. For instance, if you use three round cutters--two small and of the same size and one larger one--you have a mouse. You can place the jam or slices of fruit on top to make a face. Now, how cool is that?

13. Make an edible freezer pack.

Ever notice how much space those bulky freezer packs take up in your child’s lunch box? Instead, toss grapes in a Ziploc bag and freeze them overnight. Put them in with lunch, and they’ll do double duty as freezer pack and healthy snack!