Much as MTV and Saturday morning cartoons stood in as de facto parents for our generation, Tik Tok and Instagram are serving in loco parentis for the next generation of tech-obsessed youth.
But there is another way. A better way. A hacking way. In hackis parentis, if you will allow a bit of Latin in your reading pleasure.
And it’s even better than the aforementioned Tok’ing because we, the parents, know what hacking is and how it works. Win, win.
So without further equivocation, here is the Her Hacks Team’s guide to nurturing little ones with a little hack-y help.
If there’s one thing we’ve had an abundance of in the tri-states this year it’s snow. Well, and ice, but let’s (carefully) walk past that for now.
With any luck, as temperatures become slightly more temperate for a Midwestern winter (maybe), that means there will be more time to get outside and enjoy the fluffy white stuff before we start the whole seasonal cycle over again.
Luckily, Buzzfeed has some advice just in time for snow fort season — not to mention a great deal more useful hacks — at tinyurl.com/og9q3cb3.
It’s a bit of a lengthy list with some great safety and convenience hacks, including using a spy mirror to keep an eye on kids and hiding candy like a boss (parent).
Not to be outdone, Lifehack.org has an extensive list of parental tricks and tips.
There seems a share of hacks for everyone, including some that seem almost too obvious in retrospect. For instance, keeping a mister bottle handy to spray, and therefore cool off, hot interior car parts like seatbelt buckles is useful to just about anyone.
Another highlight is using that third most useful liquid on Earth (after Windex and generic brand Windex), WD-40 as crayon remover, which works surprisingly well and is even recommended by the product’s maker (tinyurl.com/1c9jaey1).
And of course, there’s yet another use for pool noodles that doesn’t involve floating in a pool.
Check them all out at tinyurl.com/3aczxtd5.
Next up, a site called Awesome Inventions (not just a clever name) rolls out some clever hacks at tinyurl.com/658px9on.
They get off to a strong start with the old gem of using plastic cups as sparkler guards so even the little ones can enjoy a good air-writing session.
And, you don’t have to scroll much further before you hit another gem: Using a padlock on a plug to help enforce time away from those pesky video game consoles (or anything that’s dependent on the power grid).
Finally, using egg cartons as a cheap, reusable card holder gives kids who haven’t developed the best fine motor control yet the chance to play a solid round of Uno, the official Her Hacks Team card game of choice.
Women Advance is a site filled with tips for everything from fashion to travel.
One of the site’s lists (tinyurl.com/4ahw3fjp) has some parenting hacks that definitely are worthy of your attention.
There are a lot of safety related tips — including using a baby gate around the grill to keep curious fingers away — are all wonderfully practical. They also hit the spy mirror idea, and don’t miss the DIY bathtub (for those who only have a standup shower) and the cup on a leash.
Also, baby walker bumpers are practically useful and fun to say really fast.
BabyList.com, is there anything you can’t make better? We’ve yet to find it, and its “Ultimate list of parenting life hacks” really is just that.
The added convenience of categorization means you get handy tips for everything from organization to diapering.
A couple of intriguing ones include using a thermos of hot water for bottle warming while out and about and double-layering sheets for convenience of cleanup.
And, don’t miss the advice not to look a baby in the eye. Not because the little ones can sense fear (they can do that without eye contact), but because it can help keep the kiddos from thinking it’s playtime during late night feeding and/or changing sessions.
Read more of them at tinyurl.com/2n443n3b.
Work Life Kids’ favorite hacks for working parents is a list that eschews the typical large number of hacks for a tighter list that goes a little more in depth about each tip.
If you’re looking less for “put your pacifiers into a container” and more for “teach them responsibility, it’ll pay off in the long run” this is the list for you. Read it all at tinyurl.com/9xn6ocwl.
Finally, we’re going to take a trip to Room Parent, at tinyurl.com/yhn44ok2, for some a lengthy list of hacks that are both fun and useful in equal measure.
There are quite a few hacks that work great if you’re planning a party (hopefully something that we can all start doing again soon), including saving money by not buying a helium tank and instead taping balloons to the wall.
There are plenty of crossover hacks that work just for keeping the kiddos occupied, too, such as adding Jell-O to frosting for flavor and color and chipping watermelons into sticks for easy eating.
Finally, don’t miss out on the link to All She Cooks’ hack for making cooler corn.
As the winter rolls on and we all start to dream of the sweet warm rains of spring, don’t forget you’re never more than a hack away from an easier day.
Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald.