The top parenting hacks that will change your life

As a parent, it can be extremely hard to keep everything together without losing your sanity. So how do some people do it and make it look easy? The answer is shortcuts — or parenting hacks — that will ultimately give you some time back and lead to less stress.

Get everything ready the night before.

Lay out school clothes, pack lunch, fill your child’s backpack and leave it by the door.

Batch cook on Sundays.

We can all attest to the fact that nothing is more stressful than coming home on a weeknight to a hungry family without a plan for dinner. While it may be a lot of heavy lifting up front, batch cooking – preparing larger portions of different foods that can be mixed and matched – will help you prepare for the week ahead. 

Create a family calendar. 

Coordinate schedules and activities across devices so everyone is on the same page. Use color coding for each family member, add reminders for when bills are due, etc.

Outsource your grocery shopping.

Of all of the “parent chores,” grocery shopping is my least favorite. Luckily, with the advent of apps for groceries, there’s no reason to physically go to the grocery store. It can all be done virtually, and without last second impulse purchases at the register.

Bulk buy birthday presents for other kids.

When you see a good sale, bulk buy toys and other items that can be used as gifts for other children. Keep a stash tucked away in the closet so you never have to do a last second Target run minutes before the party starts. In the same vein, save all gift bags that your kids receive and reuse them.

Prep an emergency car kit.

This is not your emergency car kit with flashlights, a first-aid kit and jumper cables. Any parent knows that kids are bound to need some kids’ essentials when they are least accessible to them. So, get ahead of their requests and stock a bag full of snacks, water, wipes, extra set of clothes, and back-up charging cords. Then, store it in the trunk for a rainy day.

Get a backup of your child’s favorite toy.

If your child has an attachment to a favorite stuffed animal or toy, get a backup. Take it from a parent whose child has lost Dolly at Millennium Park. Scrambling for a backup or acceptable replacement on the fly is nearly impossible.

Befriend the Amazon Dash Button.

Literally, with the push of a button, you can reorder everyday essentials that you are running out of. If you use something religiously in your home — like a certain brand of diapers, paper towels, detergent, etc. — order a Dash Button for it. When you need to reorder, simply push the button and the item will be delivered to you with free Prime shipping (you must be a Prime member to use Dash Button).

Layer sheets and mattress pads on your child’s crib or bed.

When a 2 a.m. accident happens, you’ll thank yourself.

Create a restaurant activity kit and keep it in your car.

While every restaurant that features a children’s menu should give your child crayons and a coloring sheet, that isn’t always the case, and you can end up with a misbehaving kid. Save the tears and put together a boredom buster kit for this very scenario, featuring crayons, stickers, coloring sheets and activity books to keep your child busy while you enjoy a meal out.

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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