Rudey's Room

Five Hacks That Make Parenting Easier


There are many everyday items you can repurpose to tackle parenting challenges.

I teamed up with Maxine Chalker, the executive director of Adoptions from the Heart, to share her Five Hacks that Make Parenting Easier.

Quiet the Bedroom Door with a Scrunchie

Do you cringe when your older child slams the door during your toddler’s nap time? Do you breathe a sigh of relief once you’ve exited the bedroom quiet as a mouse?

Nothing crushes an impending two-hour break like the wail brought on by the click of the door latch.

Use this hack and you’ll never fear opening or closing the door again. Take a stretchy hair tie – a scrunchie works well – and loop it around the outside and inside doorknobs of your child’s bedroom. The middle fabric will depress the latch and you’ll be home free.


Color Code the Pantry for Allergies

Do you have a child with food allergies? Do you find yourself reading and re-reading labels … just to be sure? Safety is key for kiddos with allergies.

Put your mind at ease. Color-code the foods in your pantry, fridge, or freezer with labels. This will to make distinguishing between safe and harmful foods a snap. The label will give you the intel. Green = safe; red = unsafe, for example. This system will help ensure your child does not accident ingest a cracker that may contain tree nuts. Plus, it’s easy for kids and babysitters to use.

If you were around in the ‘70s and ‘80s you’ll remember this guy.

Mr Yuck

He let you know what was what.

Bring Baby Powder to the Beach

Do you love the water, but hate the sand? Does a day at the beach make you picture sand here, sand there, sand everywhere? While sunscreen is a must at the beach, the sticky side-effect is a buzz kill. Baby powder is your friend at the beach. It will get rid of unwanted sand when you’re ready to pack it up and go home. Shake a little on a big makeup brush and then rub it your child’s sandier parts. The powder will absorb the extra wetness, along with the sunscreen, and you can just wipe the sand away. We recommend this organic brand. It’s talc free.

Rubber Band the Soap Dispenser

Is your child a little overzealous with the soap? While pumping a nozzle is fun, after the third or fourth time it’s wasteful and leaves quite a clean up in the sink. End this by wrapping a rubber band around the pump. When you push the dispenser down, it will only go down halfway, thus limiting the amount of soap that comes out with each push.


Use Unpaired Socks Instead of Swiffer Pads

Do you love Swiffers, but hate the dent they make in your wallet? Since 1999, these pads have been a popular (and convenient) cleaning tool. It’s no wonder why – they pick up dust and debris on the floor with ease. But they’re pricey and not reusable.

This frugal hack solves the problem. Take unpaired socks, dampen them a bit, and then stretch them around the head of your Swiffer duster. Voilà! Dirt and debris will cling to the fabric just like the Swiffer pads. The best parts, there’s no cost and when you’re done, simply wash and re-use. For a more precise fit, cut the toe off the sock.

Do you have a hack of your own? We’d love to know the details in the comments.

For more parenting tips, check out Maxine’s site, Adoptions from the Heart.

Maxine Chalker, MSW LSW, is the executive director of Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH), one of the East Coast’s largest private placement agencies. An adoptee herself, Maxine founded AFTH in order to promote a more “humane” approach to adoption, one that would emphasize open communication between all members of the adoption triad: children, expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents.

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