Parenting is definitely a learn-as-you-go adventure—a trial by fire, some might say. Fortunately, there are moms and dads who have gone before us, and figured out a few things along the way. Even better, some of those parents are willing to share their wisdom in the form of tips and tricks to make everything from doctor appointments to hiding candy just a little bit easier.
Here are 14 of the best parenting tricks the internet has to offer.
1. The perfect place to install hooks
The ways that command hooks can improve your life are endless, but by placing one on the back of a high chair, as Melissa did in this Instagram post, you’ll always have a bib when you need one. There is, however, no guarantee on its cleanliness:
2. Budget-friendly theme party cups
One pack of stickers, along with one package of cheap paper cups equals themed cups for everyone with money left in your wallet.
3. No more sticky hands
4. Slow-drip Popsicles
These melty messes require more than one trick to keep your sanity during the summer. Poofy Cheeks suggests adding some Jello to your popsicles to harden them up. This will keep them from ending up all over hands, faces and floors — for at least a little longer than usual.
5. Make your own sprinkler
6. DIY slushies
Girl Inspired has a terrific idea for a picnic treat. Freeze juice boxes for six hours. If you cut them open and eat right out of the box, there won’t even be any cleanup for this one. While you’re at it, you may as well mix up an adult version for yourself.
7. Best hiding spot ever
The kids would never even dream of searching out frozen veggies for snacks. That’s exactly what makes their old bags the perfect hiding place for your own personal stash of treats.
8. Doctor’s office decor
Next time you head to the doctor’s office, bring along some crayons or markers for the kids. That disposable paper on the exam table is a perfect blank canvas for bored or anxious kiddos, as Mary Ruth’s Instagram post shows:
9. Easy-to-eat watermelon
Tradition is not always the best reason for doing things. But by changing up the way you cut your watermelon, you make it easier for little hands to grab hold of it, which may even result in the consumption of more fruit. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to get these manageable pieces from the Girl Who Ate Everything.
10. Say no to bubble wand madness
This is one of those tricks you hear about and feel foolish for never thinking of yourself. It is such a simple fix to something that has caused endless frustration for so many of us. Find a clip of any variety wide enough not to fall into a bottle of bubbles. Now clip it onto the end of the bubble wand and you will never again be fishing through the slimy bubbles trying to get a hold on it.
11. Pool noodle baby-proofing
There are probably hundreds of ways to use pool noodles other than in the pool. Many of them are genius. This one lives up to expectations for quick, useful things to do with a pool noodle. Just cut it to fit the area you are trying to cushion, and then slice and slide. The best feature is they can easily be removed when you’re having company over and don’t want your entire house to look like a play room.
12. Paint the fences…with water
Paint brushes should be used to paint with water, as Happy Hooligans points out, but actual paint is optional. This fun summer activity offers the potential for hours of entertainment. By the time they finish one section the first should be dry so they can start all over again.
13. Emergency snack supply
Turn an empty wipes container into an emergency snack stash. When kids get hangry, you’re just asking for trouble. Always keep one of these handy-dandy containers loaded with your littles favorite nibbles.
14. Put the apple slicer to work
This product has been limited by its name. Don’t allow this injustice to continue to occur in your home. Onions, pears, peaches — pretty much anything that fits in the outer circle—can and should be sliced with this tool, as Karla’s Instagram post points out: