Being a parent is one of the world’s toughest jobs, but there is an array of genius hacks out there that will make your life way easier (and make you wonder why you didn’t think of them before.) We asked local moms to tell us their favorites.
“For a fun activity with a personal touch, get your kids to make their own Valentine’s cards for their class. Michaels sells a box of 50 blank, colored cards with envelopes for under $10.” — Lynda Allison
“Instead of having to cajole your kid into writing their name 20 times on every card, which could likely turn into a battle, get a cute name stamp for them to use and they’ll be done faster than you can say, ‘I love you!’” — Christie Luciano
Out and about
“When traveling, pack heavy-duty black garbage bags and packing tape for instant window blackouts, for no-fuss nap times and bedtimes.” — Emily Rotter
“For little emergencies on-the-go, fill a gallon-size reusable bag with napkins, travel wet wipes, and a change of clothes and put it in the glove box. It will come in handy for anything from car sickness to wet clothes to trash.” — Tanya Bieniek Messina
“Keep a small ‘going out to dinner’ bag with coloring books, pencils, small games, and playing cards in the car. This way, when you go to a restaurant with your tribe, you’ll have a great boredom buster to hand.” — Pam Pierce
Around the house
“If you want your kids to do something, but they just won’t listen, use the words ‘Simon Says.’ It works every time.” — Maureen McKeown Tsuchida
“To avoid last-minute panic-buying for the endless stream of kids’ birthday parties, bulk buy gifts in the sales, then wrap and stash, so you can grab one from the pile and go.” — Cathy DuRei
“Keep nightmares away by spraying Monster Repellent Spray (use linen spray) under the bed at bedtime, so your wee ones can have a restful sleep every night.” — Lilliana Diaz Pedrosa
“Fed up of finding cups lying all over the house? Give each kid their own cup, attach a magnet and stick them on the fridge.” — Chantel Waterbury
“Keep a lint roller in your arts and crafts box. Next time your kids spill glitter (because you know they’re going to), you can clear it up in no time.” — Mara LoConte
“Keep hunger at bay before dinnertime by making healthy snack bowls filled with fruit, veggies, cheese, and popcorn for your kids to munch on.” — Robin Levine Shainberg
“If your child takes cover at the sight of vegetables, puree or grate them and hide them in the meals you make. They’ll never even notice. Yummy combinations include zucchini or carrots with pasta sauces and cauliflower with mashed potatoes.” — Rachelle Rayner
“If you’re too busy to cook every day — and let’s face it most of us are — batch cooking is a game-changer. Prepare large quantities of what dish you’re making and freeze in smaller portions, so you can whip one out of the freezer for a speedy, home-cooked meal.” — Anike Wariebi
More Amazing Hacks
• Mornings can be chaotic with kids, but they don’t need to be. Download a free weekly schedule template online, fill it out and stick it on the wall. This way each child knows to do before they leave the house. Have a check-off column for what they need to take with them, ie: their backpack, lunch, afterschool activity items.
• Are you tired of hunting for your kids’ hats, gloves, and scarves? Find everything you need in an instant by filling the pockets of an over-the-door shoe organizer with all their winter accessories.
• For a super-easy way to get your kid to put their coat on, put it on the floor with the hood at their feet. They simply slide their arms into the armholes and flip it over their head. Bingo!
• Next time your little one has a boo-boo, use a pack of frozen marshmallows as a soft, squishy, and not too cold ice pack.
• Keep those darn bees away from glasses of juice when your kids are playing outside, stick a straw through an upside-down cupcake liner and pop it over the top.
• If your child is bored or irritable, stick them in a warm bubble bath with some toys. Splashing around in those bubbles will get them smiling in no time.