Your baby is crying for you. Your toddler is spilling applesauce all over his shirt and dropping his sippy cup on the floor. Your seven-year-old daughter is playing hair salon in the basement while blasting pop music, and you’re running around trying to care for them all.

Parenting is hard and there is no rule book to follow — that’s why parents have to help other parents out. Luckily, where there is a will, there’s a hack to make your life so much easier. Here are 20 of the best parenting hacks that have been parent-tested and approved.

1. Toddlers are hard to watch, even when there aren’t dangers lying around every corner. This dad came up with a genius way to barbecue so that his curious toddler can still roam.

LadBaby / Instagram

2. If your bathroom has a stand-up shower, it’s nearly impossible to bath your child without you ending up in the shower as well. This genius parent thought to place a blowup pool inside their shower to make bath time possible.

fjordliebe / Instagram

3. Children love playing in sandboxes, and you love when your child is occupied. The downside, though, is boxes are very hard to keep covered and clean. If you purchase a small tent and fill it with sand, you can zip the door shut at night and keep unwanted debris, animals, and bugs out of the sand.

The Goonberry Tales / YouTube

4. These smart parents thought to place this emergency information label on their child’s car seat in the event of an accident and they are unconscious. This information would be extremely helpful to the first responders. 

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5. Sometimes your baby strollers become off-road vehicles and the wheels get dirty. No one wants to bring that into their house. If you simply place shower caps over the wheels, the dirt stays contained and your house stays clean.

6.  Baby walkers are a great way to let your baby explore while also keeping her safe. The downside is that these walkers do a number on your walls and furniture. Attaching pool noodles with zip ties can help prevent damage to your house.

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7. Every parent has felt the pain of stepping on a Lego because they are the hardest toys to keep organized. Just purchase an inexpensive shoe organizer so your child can store and organize theirs as they see fit. 

Family Maven

8. As a parent, you want to give your kids their space, but you know they still need some supervision. This little mirror will give you some peace of mind and give them their independence.

Redhead can decorate

9. Creativity and hands-on projects are key to a child’s development. Still, they can be such a mess. If you slip a piece of paper and a few drops of paint into a Ziploc bag, they can finger paint without the mess!

sportymum_b / Instagram

10. Little hacks can help make car rides so much smoother. For example, if you create a short sippy cup leash, they can retrieve their fallen cup when you’re busy behind the wheel.

We have Aars

11. Once your children are up and running, they are constantly trying to open all of the doors and cabinets in the house. These little doorknob hats are decorative and will make it difficult for their little hands to open any door.

This lovely life

12.  If they won’t wear their smock during craft time, you can use press and seal cling wrap and apply it to the front of their shirt. That way, you can just peel away the mess when they are finished.

Raddest Mom

13. It can be difficult to keep children occupied during long plane rides. These inexpensive window cling stickers can be a quick-and-easy distraction to pull out of your carry on bag. They’re light to travel with and easy to clean up.

teachermama1138 / Instagram

14. Long car rides can be equally difficult. Children often wait until the last minute to tell you they need to use the bathroom and there is no rest stop in sight. Just keep a training potty and some extra diapers in the car. When they are done, just dispose of the diaper. 

A haven of chaos

15. You can always buy those expensive car track rugs that your child will probably play with a handful of times — or you can create one yourself for next to nothing! 

tmccrum_mua / Instagram

16. Getting your kid to eat fruits and vegetables is hard. Use this little trick when they’re being fussy. If you cut an apple into thin strips, they’ll resemble French fries. Just tell them they’re eating apple French fries, and they’ll gobble them up.

eastcoastveganvibes / Instagram

17. A great and mess-free way to play with your child is to use your imagination. If they’re really into fire trucks and police cars, you can play pretend firehouse and have them help paint the fire station. Just get a bucket of water and a broom and let them “paint” the patio.

lydialaceby / Instagram

18. Now, this might seem over the top, but sometimes you really need to get in and out of stores without any distractions. If you carry around an “out of order” sign you can use it in desperate situations to dissuade your child.

Peter Neill / Twitter

19. Toys tend to get really dirty. This is especially true if they catch a cold or stomach bug. You can easily wash plastic or rubber toys in the dishwasher so they’re clean and sanitary for your kids to enjoy.

Raddest Mom

20. Certain subjects don’t always come as easily to kids — math is one of them. Many children are visual learners, and they learn from what they see. These multiplication stairs allow them to physically move around and solve math problems themselves.

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