Books

‘Parent Hacks’ a useful collection of tips and tricks

“Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life With Kids” by Asha Dornfest (Workman, 272 pages, $12.95)

Put the ketchup under the hotdog.

Clip your baby’s fingernails while she’s in a forward-facing carrier.

After a diaper blowout, take the onesie off top to bottom.

There’s a reason Asha Dornfest’s popular Parent Hacks website and the book it inspired are labeled with the line “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I said it over and over – and may have even slapped my forehead a few times – as I flipped through this collection of 134 ingenious ideas for simplifying life with kids.

I also pledged to make the handy, adorably illustrated little volume my next go-to baby shower gift, because I found myself wishing I’d had it when my kids were little.

Use play dough to clean up spilled glitter? Genius.

Turn cardboard coffee-cup sleeves into superhero arm cuffs? Super cool.

While swimming, hide valuables inside a disposable diaper? Of course! Who’s going to steal what looks like a used diaper?

A parent hack is any simple, unexpected solution to a kid-related problem. Dornfest has been collecting and sharing them for years, first with her blog and now on her website and with the #parenthacks hashtag on social media.

For this paperback volume, she compiled the best of the best in 11 categories, including Pregnancy & Postpartum, Sleep, Food & Mealtime, Travel & Outings and the ever-popular Poop, Pee & Potty.

Because, seriously, would you think to use a panty liner to turn regular kids’ underpants into training pants? Of course you wouldn’t. But now you will.

Along with the 134 hacks, which feature charming illustrations by Craighton Berman, the book includes alternative uses for common products such as baby wipes (damp Swiffer insert), hanging shoe organizers (store dress-up jewelry), nonslip shelf liner (jigsaw puzzle mat) and foam pool noodles (indoor dueling sword).

While most of the hacks seem geared toward parents of babies or toddlers, I appreciated the list of cleaning and organizing projects that take 10 minutes or less. Next time one of my teens says they’re bored, I’ll refer to the list – and perhaps even post it on the fridge for easy reference.

This book is short and sweet but infinitely useful. Highly recommended.

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias

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