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7 Simple Parent Hacks

by Amanda on November 9, 2008
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),1 – 3 year (toddler),Practical Tips

Parent Hacks is one of my favorite websites, because it gives you practical tips to make your life as a parent a little easier. Here are few parent hacks of my own that I have used. I would love to hear some the creative ideas that you have come up with in the comment section.

labelonphoto.JPG 1. Using return address labels on the back of wallet sized photos. I honestly do not want to write Annabelle’s name, age, and date on the back of 30 photos. So I like to print out the information I want on a clear return address label and stick it to the back of the photo. You don’t get any pen imprints or bleed through from writing on the back. It also makes the photos look more professional.

2. Parking next to a cart return when you go shopping. This was a huge help when I had to lug my baby around in a car seat. When I leave the store I like to put my baby in the car first, but I don’t want to leave her alone in the car while I return the cart. Also, you don’t have to carry a car seat or a wiggly toddler very far to get a cart when you arrive.

3. Bringing your ipod and speakers to the park.
I like to take Annabelle to my neighborhood park, but it is usually empty and boring when I go by myself. So one time I brought my ipod and speakers with me. I could still keep my eyes on my daughter and I was able to listen to some good music at the same time. Annabelle would even dance to the music.

4. Giving your little one a snack at the grocery store.
Ideally I would love to grocery shop without Annabelle, but that doesn’t always happen. My problem is keeping her in the shopping cart seat. She likes to stand up. My friend Sarah said that she gave her kids a Dum Dum when she went and that help to occupy them. Annabelle was driving me nuts one day, so I went over the candy aisle and opened a bag of Dum Dums and I gave her one. It occupied her for a while and I was thankful. I saw one of my friends feeding her two little ones eggrolls from the Chinese take-out stand. I have since tried bananas, dried pineapple and opening a bag of bread, but I still keep a few Dum Dums in my bag for when I am desperate.

5. Using 2×4′s to install a pressure mount baby gate onto two banisters without drilling. My husband and I did not want to drill into the banisters at the bottom of our stairs to install a gate, so we used zip ties to attach a 2×4 piece of scrap wood to each of the banisters. After installing the wood, it was really easy to put the baby gate in place.


Okay, these last two are for girls but maybe you could share them with a friend if you don’t have a girl.

6. Pairing dresses that are too short with a pair of pants. My daughter doesn’t grow out of clothes quickly, but sometimes dresses do get too short. I started pairing a dress with a pair of jeans underneath and I love it. I get more life out of her clothes and she looks cute.


7. Put a rubberband around the bottom of a hair clip to keep it in their hair.
I can’t take full credit for this tip. I got it from the nice lady who runs a boutique here in my town. She told me to put a little rubberband on the bottom metal half of the bow to keep it from sliding in the hair. Every time I have done this it has worked.


Do you have any parent hacks that you like to use? Do you have a solution for my problem of keeping my 18 month old safe in a shopping cart? (ha!)

13 Responses to 7 Simple Parent Hacks

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    November 10, 2008 @ 12:49 am

    I always park next to the cart return! It is the best solution even without kids. So far for keeping Brielle entertained since I have no help on leaving her home, I try really hard to make sure I have my list and keep to it, try to stick to 20 items or less for easy/fast checkout (which also makes me stay true to my list, do I really need this), I try and when I know she is going to be hungry and have a good snack that will keep her for a while. I love Veggie Bootie (Veggie popcorn) it keeps her occupied and it is good for her.
    I love dresses with jeans, I really hate too short dresses on Brielle so I love putting leggings(which happen to be in style right now) or jeans it is so cute.

  • Comment by Dawn
    November 10, 2008 @ 7:19 am

    Wow, I totally bought batteries for my small speakers and took my ipod to the park a week ago! Eerie… It was really fun to have music along, both for the park and the walk there & back.

    I wish we had thought of the extra wood for drilling a gate. In our old house, we drilled right into the doorframe. But it sold anyway, so I guess it’s all good. :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Mommy Zabs
    November 10, 2008 @ 8:52 am

    Those are great suggestions… especially the short dress as a shirt…. duh! Should have thought of that. I definitely do the grocery shop one.

    - when you have multiple little ones make them all get out on the same side of a car in a parking lot so that you have better control of them.

    …. I’ll have to think of more.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 10, 2008 @ 9:57 am

    Great suggestions Amanda. I’ve always been using points #2 and #4, but will have to start implementing the address labels, the dress and hair clip ideas. Unfortunately, I don’t have any ideas to help with keeping Ace in the cart. How about bringing a small toy for her to play with in conjunction with a snack? Might buy you some more time. I have to grocery shop with 2 kids and I always use those carts that are shaped like a car or rocket which my kids love. Pretending they are driving through the aisles helps entertain them for a little bit before I have to whip out snacks.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Beth
    November 10, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

    For keeping my little guy entertained (when he’s reached the end of his rope shopping), I pull out a book from my bag. He loves books and is less likely to drop a book on the floor than he is a car. If I’ve forgotten a book for my little book-a-holic, I will simply walk over to the book section of the store (or magazine section) to find something for him to “read”. He’s 3, so reading isn’t really about the words…but he loves to have a book to look at.

    I’ve also made him his own “list”. I cut up the boxes from some of his favorite foods and tell him we have to find them. Or take pictures of produce to make the list. We’ll also talk about which aisle we need to go down — “D, look for aisle 5. That’s where the cereal is.” And he’ll tell me when we get there.

    Ok, I didn’t think I had that many hacks for shopping, but apparently I do. :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jon
    November 10, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed reading these tips! What’s funny is that I do have to take some “daddy” credit in my home for the idea of wearing pants with dresses. My wife never thought of that, and one day I was getting our daughter dressed and I tried it. She looked so cute! :D

    When we do our hardcore grocery shopping, my wife and I go as a team ,and we usually grab two carts. That way one of us can push around our daughter, while the other one pushes around the groceries. Plus we have the extra cart for overflow items (we tend to really stock up once at Walmart at the beginning of the month).

    Another tip I’d like to add is to purchase one of those inexpensive $10 strollers to permanently keep in the car. Even though a full sized stroller is usually better, this way you always have a stroller in a pinch when you weren’t expecting you’d need one.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by LeAnn
    November 10, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

    I always keep a small dry-erase board, a marker, and an eraser or piece of cloth in the bag. It is great entertainment for restaurants, waiting in line, the store, pretty much anywhere. You also don’t end up with a million “masterpieces” to keep up with.

    In the store, I play letter (and now spelling) games with my daughter. I started with just the 3 letters in her name, and now we know the whole alphabet. In each aisle, no matter what we’re actually looking for, she has to find something that has the letter I’ve picked to practice. Once she finds the item, we practice the letter sound and see how many other letters she can ID. She also sometimes draws pictures of the items on my list (on that white board) as I’m looking for them in the store.

  • Comment by Amanda
    November 10, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

    @Trina – Maybe more shorter trips is an option. Its when I go big grocery shopping and it takes an hour that she gets pretty cranky.

    @Dawn – Yeah, I just took my speakers with me like two weeks ago and it definitely made the trip to the park more fun for me! Glad that it is fun for you too, being the music connoisseur that you are.

    @Mommy Zabs – That is a great idea about making them get out on one side. I am going to use that one in the future.

    @Heidi – I have never thought to try one of the fun shaped carts. Maybe that will help and be safer. Or even the red cart additions behind the cart that sit two kids. Both are worth a shot. the standing and whining drive me nuts, when she normally fine for whatever else we do.

    @Beth – Thanks for sharing your parent hacks for shopping! I love the picture list. That is awesome. My 18 month old is too little for it now, but I will try it later. I haven’t tried a book. She may drop that less. She usually drops a toy. Being pregnant, I try to bend over as little as possible!

    @Jon – Thanks for coming by! And kudos to you for figuring out the dress and pants option. Team shopping is a great idea when it can be done. My husband already helps me a lot, so I know he would do it. Also, we keep a small stroller in the car too! The handles are too short for my husband, but it certainly contains the little one.

    @LeAnn – What an awesome idea! To use a whiteboard and working on the alphabet. I bet a small magna doodle would work too. I may have to look into a whiteboard of some sort, even if she colors herself. She can have a bath later. I just need her occupied! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by catmom
    November 11, 2008 @ 2:04 am

    Please, please please don’t bring your speakers to the park. Bring your headphones if you must. I like the park, too, but if I don’t share your taste in music, or if you’re positioned so I can only hear the bass, than it might as well be a jackhammer or a leafblower. And think about the people whose houses are near that playground. Or the person trying to take a nap on the grass. Or even some poor bird trying to attract a mate. I’m sorry – it sounds so lovely and innocent, but this is a seriously thoughtless and self centered thing to do.

  • Comment by Amanda
    November 11, 2008 @ 9:44 am

    @catmom – Thanks for commenting! I like to bring my ipod for the days when no one else is at the park and I am sitting there alone. It gets really boring sitting there by yourself with the limited communication of an 18 month old. I would quietly read a book if that meant I could watch my daughter at the same time, but unfortunately I can’t do that. If ever another family arrives, I do plan on turning off my ipod. But my neighborhood is small and the park doesn’t get that many visitors. Also, I did check and you can’t hear it from the street or houses. Its really only loud enough to hear next to me.

    But I do agree I would be annoyed if someone else was playing annoying music at a busy park!

  • Gravatar November 11, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

    [...] The Mom Crowd » 7 Simple Parent Hacks Great tips, Amanda! I especially love the hair clip hack. [...]

  • Gravatar November 11, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

    Great list! We follow #2 and #4 right now!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jonathan
    November 13, 2008 @ 7:03 am

    Even better parking solution, take you hubbie shopping. He returns the trolley. Even better…you snack in the car while hubbie packs in the kids and then parks trolley!

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