profile picture of Holly Pevzner
Holly Pevzner
Contributing Writer

The Best Parenting Hacks of 2018

Get ready to have your world rocked! Here’s what a bunch of ingenious moms and dads thought up this year to make life a whole lot easier.

There really is no innovator like a desperate parent. From simple why-didn’t-I-think-of-that tricks to serious game-changer tips, we’ve rounded up the best parenting hacks from around the Web. They’re dreamt up by moms and dads, for moms and dads, so you know they’ve gotta be good.

In this article:
Best parenting hacks of 2018
Best parenting hacks of 2017

Best Parenting Hacks of 2018

From teething tips to sunburn soothing solutions, scroll the best parenting hacks of the year.

1. The Shopping Cart Hack

Texas mama Laura Castrillo broke the internet this year when she shared an amazing trick for getting kids in and out of the grocery cart. Her genius hack is a sure-fire way to avoid straining your back or pulling a muscle you didn’t even know existed. Instead of lugging your adorable toddler over the cart and into the seat, simply lift the panel and let them crawl in. Yep, it’s that easy. “I’ve been doing it with my own kids for about two years now, and it has made shopping with them a lot easier,” Castillo says.

2. The Diaper Safe Hack

Beach days are the best days, but there’s always a question of where to put the valuables when you’re having fun in the sun with the family. In a perfect dream world, the kids will stay right where you parked yourself for the day, and you won’t have to chase them as they head for the water or rocks. But in reality, your kids will be eager to explore. When you’re left with no choice but to leave your beach chair and valuables behind, use a diaper for safekeeping. While it can’t ensure someone with sticky fingers won’t try to snatch it away, there’s a much better chance a seemingly dirty diaper will be left untouched than a overflowing beach bag of stuff.

3. The Bib Holder Hack

So many bibs, so little space. Everyone will gift baby a bib, and while the gesture is certainly appreciated, it’s hard to find enough room to store all those cute coverings. Not to mention, whenever your messy little monster is in need of a bib the most, it’s never at arm’s reach. Rachelle Denise found herself in this dilemma every day, and her husband decided it was finally time to do something about it. He turned the bar on the back of their kid’s high chair into a storage solution for the many bibs in their home.

4. The Changing Table Hack

Ask most new dads about their biggest parenting woe, and many will tell you it’s the lack of changing tables in men’s rooms. So a dad pulled out his toolbox and crafted quite the changing station concoction. The bag opens up and lays securely on your lap, with the strap to the bag wrapping around your waist to prevent it from sliding off. This lets parents change baby almost anywhere. Taking things one step further, when you unfold the table, the part of the bag that holds diapers and wipes lays by your calves for easy access and organization. Click here for full instructions on how you can DIY this ingenious idea.

5. The Slippery Floor Hack

No matter how hard you try to babyproof the house, there’s not an easy fix for slippery floors. Sure, you can lay out carpets throughout the whole house, but what about the kitchen and the bathroom? Good news:l One mom came up with an easy and inexpensive way to prevent baby from falling while they waddle about. All it takes is a touch of 3D fabric paint at the bottom of baby’s onesies, socks or booties. Now you instantly have slip-proof apparel anywhere, anytime.

6. The Sunburn Hack

This summer, Cindie Allen-Stewart shared her secret home remedy for sunburn, and parents completely lost their cool. The mom swears by applying some Menthol foam shaving cream to the skin. But instead of rubbing it in, let it sit on the skin for a little bit. It’ll probably start to feel itchy, but she says that’s a sign it’s working its magic. After a half hour, some of it will have dissolved into the skin. Rinse the rest off in a lukewarm shower or bath. After two days of treatment, the Texas mom says you’ll begin to feel relief.

That said, be sure to read the ingredients on the back of the shaving cream before applying on your kids. If you aren’t sure if your little one will have a reaction to the cream, check with your doctor first to get an expert’s opinion.

7. The Sore Boob Snack Hack

Sore boobs are no joke, and Jayde Donovan swears by her home remedy to relieve breast pain—and hunger pangs. She uses frozen Uncrustables as “boob ice packs.” And, as she says, “after they defrost in your nursing bra, oh look—a delicious treat!” With logic like that, it’s hard to argue her point.

8. The Outlet Cover Hack

Outlets and babies don’t mix, but unfortunately, there’s no way to truly avoid their cohabitating. Luckily, Brittany Kurtz came up with an easy way to prevent baby from sticking their hands in the dangerous openings. The genius parent took to Facebook to share the DIY safety cover, and prepared to be amazed. You know those Huggies wipes you go through like water? The next time you find your supply has run out, pop the plastic oval cover off of the package and place it on top of an outlet in baby’s reach. The lid perfectly fits over the outlet, and requires no drilling, gluing or taping.

9. The Vibrator Sleep Hack

You know how you’ll try almost anything when baby won’t fall asleep? Australian mom Laura Bentley shared a hack her husband found successful. The tool you might have never expected: a pink, plastic vibrator. As unconventional as it may be, it makes sense. Babies tend to fall asleep in the car, lulled by the vibration of the vehicle. Since the post went up, Bentley’s Instagram inbox has been flooded with messages from other sleep-deprived parents thinking of trying the same sleeping hack to soothe their fussy babies. If you try out the trick yourself, keep in mind experts recommend babies sleep with nothing else in the crib. Once baby is finally snoozing and you’re ready to catch a wink yourself, stealthily remove the vibrator and back to sleep you go.

10. The Teething Hack

There’s no ifs, ands or buts: Teething is a terrible time for baby. So when Emelia Jackson shared a tip on how to help little ones make it through teething with as little discomfort as possible, parents everywhere were on board. The mom puts water in her son’s pacifier and leaves it in the freezer for a few hours. When baby’s teething takes a turn for the worse, she pulls out the pacifier to help soothe his gums. If you want to test this one out at home, notice the binky this mama uses doesn’t have a hole at the bottom—meaning there is no way for her son to drink the water.

11. The Shower Hack

Becoming a parent is essentially giving up your freedom to ever shower on your own terms. Your rinse-and-repeat schedule now runs on baby’s time. But what happens when you can’t remember the last time you hopped in the shower, and your hair is shinier than a freshly polished wood floor? Megan of the Hometown Hot Mess has a quick fix for you. She places baby in the shower in a plastic laundry basket while she lathers up. “This boy is going through some serious separation anxiety. If he's awake, though, and I need a shower, this is how it's getting done,” Megan explains. While her little one is preoccupied with splish splashing, she can enjoy a relaxing shower—or as relaxing as it’ll get.

12. The Popsicle Hack

Popsicles are a summertime staple. And as sweet as they can be, they’re even more sticky. Have you ever seen anyone—child or adult—eat the frozen treat without making a mess? Luckily the answer to all those years of grief is simple. Push the stick through a cupcake holder, and voilà! Now, all the mess willland in the cupcake holder, avoiding unwanted sticky hands, stained clothes and dirty floors.

Best Parenting Hacks of 2017

While they may be a year old, these all-star parenting hacks are still just as golden.

1. The Diaper-Bag Hack

You would think that children’s artist and mom Elizabeth Rasco reinvented the wheel, given the overwhelming attention she received for the hack she posted on Facebook this spring. Here, Rasco upcycled an empty tub of wipes into a portable diaper-changing kit. With two cheap elastic headbands, she secured a bag of baby wipes to the inside lid of that tub of wipes. Yeah, sooo? Well, this not only allowed for easy access to the wipes, but also left room to hide diapers, a disposable changing pad, an extra outfit, and diaper disposal bags. To date, this hack has been shared over 110,000 times, and more than 11,000 people have commented with praise like, “Oh my God, how did we not come up with this? Thank you. Sharing” and “Did this and love it. Perfect for a long walk with no bulky bag.” The word “genius” was bandied about a lot too. “I was very surprised this went viral,” Rasco says. “But I think I really hit a chord because diaper bags are so big and cumbersome. No one wants to deal with chaos when they need something quick.”

2. The Stroller-Tire Hack

Katy Cox, a mom of two in Cornwall, England, needs to stow her stroller in her carpeted hallway and she got really, really sick of scrubbing the dirt and grime its tires left behind. “Then one day while showering, the solution just popped into my head, as things do when you’re showering: Why not use shower caps?!,” she says. She bought some and slid them over the tires before putting the stroller away. It’s ingenious. It’s cheap. “And it’s an absolute perfect fit,” Cox says.

3. The Bottle-Storage Hack

Texas mom Brooke McDaniel tacked a $12 shower caddy up in her pantry to store her babies' bottles and pacifiers. This freed-up space in her kitchen cabinets and made everything easily accessible. “I have two children on bottles and not enough time to wash them six times a day,” she wrote on Facebook this summer. “This [hack] ensures my children will have enough to get through 24 hours with ease.” She was onto something: Her idea has been shared over 123,000 times and has elicited some 19,000 comments. (Cabinet space is that important. For real.)

4. The Parking-Lot Safety Hack

Back in June, Kristen Bell (yes, that Kristen Bell. Of Bad Moms. Mother of two. Wife of Dax Shepard. Her) offered up a smarty-pants safety hack to her 4.1 million Instagram followers. She wrote that when her kids exit her vehicle, she yells “Hands on the circle!” This is the signal for her kids to put their paws on the circular gas cap on the car and wait for Mom’s go-ahead to move. “Thus far, [this has] kept all kiddos safe from any oncoming traffic while I unload the trunk. #momlife #momhacks #mom,” she wrote. We say: #hackwelove

5. The Calm-Your-Baby Hack

New dad Daniel Eisenman nearly broke the Internet when he quickly and effortlessly soothed his baby daughter’s cries in the middle of shooting a Facebook Live video. There he was, snuggling in bed and talking about surfing when baby Divina began to cry. With nary a hesitation, the author and motivational speaker from Encinitas, California, began oming to her. (Like, yoga oming.) She quieted in mere seconds. And it wasn’t a fluke. Eisenman has since posted other videos to Facebook and Instagram oming his little girl to quiet. And fellow parents are loving it. His first video has received 39 million views, and 395,000 shares. (His Insta profile now reads “the OM daddy.”) Eisenman says, “Oming to a baby is, so far, the best way I’ve found to get back to dreaming.” And his fans concur, writing, “[The sound] is mimicking the noise of that in the womb. Loud and steady. This kind [of] stuff really works.”

6. The Hair Dryer/C-section Scar Hack

When Australian mom-of-four Mel Watts wound up with an infected cesarean section scar, she turned to her nursing background for her hack. Each time she’d get out of the shower, she would aim a blow dryer, on the cool setting, at her wound for a few moments until it was dry. In fact, keeping-dry is the best thing you can do to help heal this type of infection, beyond taking antibiotics and following doctor’s orders. “And because c-section scars are often hidden under your deflating stomach, it’s hard to do that,” she says. Watts is quick to emphasize that her hack is all about the cool setting. Heat is in no way recommended.

7. The Toddler Coat Hack

Just as sweata weatha approached, mom-of-two Jess Wilson posted a short Facebook video showing a toddler putting her own jacket on sans grown-up help. Yup, the child simply approached her coat—which was splayed unzipped and wide open on the floor, hood end down—up, slid her arms into the armholes and flipped the jacket over her head. Boom! Not one “But I don’t Wanna Wear A Coat!” complaint. Kiddo independence and parent sanity saved in one easy hack that’s been viewed 487,000 times and shared by just under 4,000 people. Resonate much?

8. The Hula-Hoop Hack

Tall parents, rejoice: You can help baby learn to walk without hunching over, thanks to this dad’s hula-hoop hack posted on YouTube. In the short clip, which over 22,000 people have eye-balled, the dad in question coaxes baby to his feet by having him grasp the bottom of a hula hoop, while dad holds onto the top and takes a stroll down the hall. Smart, smart, smart.

9. The Teething Hack

With teething tablets and gels on the do-not-use list, it’s hard for worried parents to help baby when he’s in pain. Good thing Ohio mom Tasia Blackwell figured out this feel-better-fast hack. She fed her baby boy a milksicle, a popsicle made from breastmilk. “It helps with his teething pain and helps fill up his tummy,” she wrote on Facebook. (Once frozen, Blackwell stores each pop individually in breast milk storage bags.) After one of her friends wrote, “Can I share this? It's a great idea!!” the post was shared over 300,000 times. Blackwell writes, “If I can help make anything easier for a mom, I'm with it!” Oh, and, formula-feeders: you can do the same with formula, naturally. Either way, don’t leave baby alone with popsicle, of course.

10. The Teether-To-Go Hack

Because parents of teething babies need all the help they can get, here’s another one: Father-of-one Jesse Hagen, from Queens, New York, quickly figured out that ice-cold teething toys soothed his baby boy’s gums. But he was stumped over what to do when he was out and about. Then one steamy day, when Hagen was filling his Klean Kanteen with cold, ice-cube laden water, it dawned on him to leave a little room and keep his son’s child teethers cold in there too. “This seemed like a good way to replicate the cooling effect on-the-go,” he says. And he was right.

Photo: Courtesy of Diaper Genie

11. The Diaper Genie Hack

Smelly diapers are bad. Paying top dollar to dispose of said smelly diapers so no one has to actually smell them, is worse. Enter: Jesse Lawyer, the dad who found a solution. After Lawyer finished a supply of Diaper Genie bags, he kept the blue plastic ring they were stowed in. Instead of shelling out more dollars on another refill, he used the ring to properly secure a standard trash bag in the diaper pail. While regular trash bags are generally un-scented, the Diaper Genie still worked to lock in nose-plugging odors. Plus: money saved!

Photo: Courtesy of Courtney Frew

12. The Bath Hack

Slide an old pillowcase over a dollar-store pool noodle and —voilà!—you’ve got Australian mom Courtney Frew’s brilliant tub-time hack. “Having a newborn in the bath is hard enough,” Frew told the Daily Mail. “'But [baby] loves how the pillowcase naturally supports her body like her rocker. And I can comfortably wash her and pour water over her body while she splashes and kicks around.” (Is there literally no end to the wonder of the pool noodle?)

13. The Marshmallow Boo-boo Hack

Kids fall and bang into things—a lot. But Amanda Mushro, the mom-of-two behind the blog Questionable Choices in Parenting, doesn’t stock her freezer with ice packs. (“[They] can be too cold, leak everywhere, and be uncomfortable on their skin,” she writes.) Instead, Mushro places marshmallows into plastic sandwich bags and freezes them. “The boo-boo pack gets two thumbs up from my kids because the marshmallows get cold—but not freezing. Plus they stay soft and squishy so they feel great on the skin and wrap around elbows and knees,” she writes. The best part? The kids can nab a sweet treat from the bag once they’ve wiped their tears away.

14. The Car-Seat Hack

Apparently, we’ve all been carrying infant car seats wrong. In her wildly popular Facebook post (5.3 million views and counting), Emily Puente, a chiropractor and pregnant mom-of-two in Mansfield, Texas, demonstrated an easier-on-the-back-shoulders-and-hips way to do it. Here, she turned the car seat to face her, and instead of resting the handle in the crook of her elbow, she maneuvered her hand and grasped the bottom of the seat where the handle attaches to the base. “As soon I switch to this, it’s a completely different change in how I'm using my body to... distribute this weight from this carrier,” she says. Hear that? That’s thousands of parents slapping their foreheads in why-didn’t-I-do-that disbelief.

15. The Toothbrush Hack

Back in December, Kayla Ferreira, a crochet artist and mom of two from Cambridge Ontario, gave her 6-year-old daughter a gift box featuring six Dory-themed toothbrushes. “I’m thinking: Great! I'm done for the year for toothbrushes,” she says. But a few months later, they were all gone. “[She] always throws out her toothbrush too early,” Ferreira wrote on Instagram. To sidestep future waste, Ferreira now labels new toothbrushes with an expiration date. “We are sticking to the change-your-brush-every-three-months rule,” she wrote. “So I used month 3, 6, 9, and 12 and put a symbol on each!” So far, Ferreira reports her plan is working really well. “My daughter has even been tracking on her calendar a countdown until she can start using the next brush!,” she says.

Published December 2018

PHOTO: Crystal Marie Sing