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Three women are posing and laughing with two toddlers. Parenting hacks, kids activities, educational fun.

20+ Best Hacks to Make Your Parenting Job Simpler

Whether you're a first-time parent or an old pro at keeping your child happy, healthy and entertained, you probably benefit from a parenting hack. 

In this article, we're going to get into what a parenting hack is, why you may need one (or 5) in your back pocket, and get into our favorite hacks.

Why not sit your kids down with an entertaining sound book to keep them engaged while you discover more about the beautiful world of parenting hacks?

What is a parenting hack?

A Dad is feeding his toddler. Parenting hacks, kids activities, educational fun.

You've probably come across the word hack on Pinterest or Tiktok, but what exactly does it mean? A hack is any quickfire solution to a tricky problem. The key behind this is that it should be something you can solve with tools readily at your disposal.

In the parenting world, this is anything related to, you guessed it, parenting! They are those tried and true methods and activities that will keep your toddlers and preschoolers engaged and interested in an activity.

Note a hack is different from a tip because a tip is closer to a piece of advice, whereas a hack is a specific technique. For example, my favorite kitchen hack is cutting pizza with kitchen scissors! Much safer than those roller cutters for my clumsy hands.

Why do parents need hacks?

A Mom and her daughter are cooking together. Parenting hacks, kids activities, educational fun.

It takes a whole village to help us raise our children and keep them engaged and safe. Nowadays, all those responsibilities tend to fall to one or two people. Parenting hacks are a way to help toddlers use their energy more effectively and productively. That makes their lives more fun and yours a whole lot easier!

Our Top 20+ Parenting Hacks

A Mom is reading with her two kids. Parenting hacks, kids activities, educational fun.

Did you think we'd only explain what a parenting hack is without giving you our favorite ones?

Walking Without a Stroller

The problem is simple: you need little Timmy to get out of his stroller, but he's decided there's no way, no how he's budging. In that case, you could make the act of walking without a stroller more fun.

For example, 'swing' your toddler around by the arms with another person. Be careful when you do this, as too much force puts a lot of pressure on children's delicate arm sockets. If you're on your own, you can helicopter-swing them around by the arms on your own. Enough fun to leave the stroller at home!

"Can You Push Me Up?" Game

Similar to before, your toddler has decided that they are done walking. Unfortunately, you have left the stroller at home.

Consider telling them that you're just too tired to keep walking too. I wonder if anybody here is strong enough to help push me onward? Oh no, I don't think you're strong enough to do it.

Watch as your toddler is suddenly filled with newfound vigor. They will push you up the street and towards the toy store in no time!

Use Sound Books to Encourage Reading

Not every toddler naturally takes to reading. Some find stories tedious and a little boring.

At Cali's Books, we've made it our mission to make reading fun for everyone. Our sound books make every child realize that the magic of storytelling is emphasized when you couple it with sound. How about singing along to some love-themed nursery rhymes?

One of our favorite books-related hacks is our recordable sound books. Are you going out of town or want your kiddo to have access to grandma's voice on the road? Simply record your voice to go with the books.

Sing Commands

Toddlers are notorious for testing out boundaries by refusing to obey every now and then. However, some commands are so important that it can be a good idea to make them fun.

Enter the magic of singing commands. Rather than shouting at your child to stop as they run towards crossing the road, have some commands that you practice ahead of time. For example, when mama sings, "Take my haaaannnnddd" the toddler is instructed to sing back, "Here's my haaaand!"

Clean Up Made Easy with Photos

Is getting your toddler to tidy away their legos a struggle?

Combine the act of cleaning up with taking a picture of your child's newest creation. That way, they know their playtime has been valued, and it's always associated with a positive.

Email Photos to Santa

I've been there, trying to get our own chores done at Target when our children want to put every toy in the cart to come home with them.

Toys are special, and we can't have them all at once. Instead, ask them to take a photo of the things they want and promise to email them to Santa for his consideration. Your child will love getting involved with taking the pictures just right so Santa can find their toys again.

Hunting Game

Are you as notorious as I am for losing your glasses or car keys? Get the whole family involved in finding them, from your toddlers to your parents. 

It's good fun and speeds up the process of getting out of the house as other people may look in places you wouldn't have considered. I once found my glasses in a toy box!

Cover the Doorknobs and Furniture Corners

If your kids are like mine, they might be running everywhere all the time. It’s can get dangerous pretty quickly. That’s why I make sure that anything they can bump into is covered.

Funny Journey to Your Room

I think we’ve all had this issue before: dealing with kids who don’t want to relocate to their room. Find a way to make it fun! Imitate different animals on the way to their bedroom: jump like a frog or crawl like a caterpillar.

Painting the Fence with Water

It’s nice to have your kids helping around, but sometimes it’s not actually very helpful. My solution is to give them something to do that’s harmless. For example, painting the fence with water.

Use their Age to Do Chores

When children don’t want to contribute to chores, it can be easy to fall into the reward giving trick. However, it’s not a very sustainable approach, so why not turn it into a game? Tell them to only do as many things or tidy up as many items as their age is. They will definitely do more when they get started.

Build Them Superheroes

Here’s another situation you might be familiar with: when children cannot sit still at a restaurant. Get them to focus on crafting activities such as turning cardboard cup sleeves into spy goggles or superhero arm cuffs.

Edible Paints

You’ll notice that your toddlers may want to taste their toys and just about anything they can fit into their mouth… How about creating edible paints by mixing yogurt with food coloring? This way your little ones can explore safely!

Hide Their Toys

What if your kids don’t want to play with their toys after a while? Hide their toys secretly and show them back after 3-4 weeks. Chances are that they’ll be engaged with the old toys again.

Clean Toys in a Dishwasher

Toys can get dirty easily. A trick to save time is rinse the non-electric toys with water and put them in my dishwasher. Give them a good washing and they’ll be ready for your kids to play with!

Organize Toys Creatively

When play gets messy and toys are all over the place, I try to make tidying up easy. Get creative and organize play-doh in a carousel for K-cups, get a small organizer for Lego bricks, get a knife magnet holder to keep their metal toys in order or use the shoe storage bag to sort Lego bricks.

Reverse the Order of Their Foods

This is a neat little trick I learned the hard way. If your toddlers love things that make their meals a little messy, like ketchup, you might think about reversing the order of preparation. For example, when they eat a hotdog, put ketchup in before the sausage (not on top).

Color Code Your Kids

When going to a zoo or museum, young kids may run away. To avoid this, you can dress them all up in the same colors to spot them easily.

Window Stickers

This is the best hack for travelling families! Toddlers can be very fussy when traveling by plane or bus. Get window stickers for them to play with: stick, unstick, move them around.

Keep a Cheap Potty and Some Diapers in the Car

Have you ever had a potty emergency? Especially if you have young kids who may need to go to the toilet immediately. Put a diaper inside the potty and have them do the job without any mess.

Clean Up With Music

Another hack to get your kids to tidy up is to play music while they’re doing so!

Fast-paced songs like the “Mission Impossible” soundtrack works pretty well in getting them motivated.

Cut Apples and Other Fruit in the Form of French Fries

A common problem with toddlers is that it’s difficult to encourage healthy eating habits. If your kids won’t eat fruit or veggies, cut apples or carrots in the form of French fries.

Using Everyday Objects

Arts and crafts can become boring when the activity is too repetitive. How about using everyday objects to build fun tools or toys? Get a DVD case and transform it into a pencil case!

Final Thoughts

My favorite part of these parenting hacks is that they reintroduce us to gentle parenting when we feel our most frazzled. Sometimes all we need is a little push to turn our lives into games, whether you're Montessori parents or not.

I'm off to enjoy quality time with my kids and an excellent interactive book now!
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Cali's Books, founder, about us, why I love books, children's books

Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books

“I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”

I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!

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