16 Things Parenting Bloggers Can't Live Without

We asked parenting bloggers to tell us what items make their lives easier, whether it’s products that save time and money, apps that simplify daily tasks or things that just make kids more manageable. Here are 16 of our favorite tips.

By: Mina Hochberg
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Photo By: ©iStockphoto.com/mromka

Photo By: Gina Kirk

Photo By: Gina Kirk

Photo By: Mina Hochberg

Photo By: Jen Mayer Kulp

Photo By: Fooducate

Photo By: Ashley Muir Bruhn

Photo By: Ashley Muir Bruhn

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Photo By: Excerpted from Parent Hacks®:134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2016. Illustrations © Craighton Berman.

Photo By: Excerpted from Parent Hacks®:134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2016. Illustrations © Craighton Berman

Photo By: Mina Hochberg

Photo By: Out of Milk

Photo By: Nathalie Laitmon

Photo By: Nathalie Laitmon

Photo By: Steven Laitmon


Ilana Wiles, creator of Mommy Shorts, relies on scooters to get around Manhattan with her daughters, now that they’ve outgrown strollers. “My oldest daughter got hers when she was three and it was a game changer,” says Wiles. “We could cover so much more ground while we were walking around the city. My younger daughter started before she was two and they scoot everywhere now.”

Baby Wipes

Gina Kirk, creator of Is She Really, never leaves her house without a pack of wipes in her tote. “This sounds ridiculous, I realize, but they have so many uses,” she says. “You never know when you need to wipe hands, a face, a shopping cart, mascara.”

Easy Photo Editing Apps

Edit your photos quickly and instantly with Snapseed, an app that offers easy-to-use filters and tools. “I use Snapseed because it’s rare that I can take out my big camera and get the same spur-of-the-moment shot that I can capture on my phone,” says Gina Kirk. “This app is wonderful for brightening and adding color to photos without making them look super grainy.”

"Slow" Foods

Joanna Goddard, creator of Cup of Jo, loves to bring “slow foods” when traveling with her kids. What’s a slow food? Basically, any food that takes a long time to eat and keeps the kids happy and calm for as long as possible. Think dehydrated fruits, lollipops and day-old bagels.

Outfit-Organizing Bins

Every Sunday night, Adrian Kulp of Dad or Alive and his wife pick out their kids’ clothes for the entire week and place them in designated aluminum bins. “It helps to make our mornings so much smoother while getting ready for school,” Kulp says.

A Healthy Eating Helper

If you want to know if a product is healthy enough for your kids but don’t have time to dive into Google, try the Fooducate app. “It helps you see truly all-natural food and gives the product a letter grade,” says Alise McGregor of Minivan Commuter. The app, which has an impressive database of products, offers helpful explanations about why a food is good or bad and also lists healthy alternatives.

Instant Healthy Meals

If you want to broaden your baby’s palate but don’t have the bandwidth to prepare an elaborate, flavorful meal, check out Plum Organics’ Hello Dinner packets. Ashley Muir Bruhn, creator of Hither and Thither, tried these with her baby daughter. The meals are made with whole grains and contain hints of spices and herbs, and they only require a bit of hot water to prepare.

Chic, Low-Cost Sheets

Bed sheets can be a costly investment, especially for potty-training toddlers who require frequent sheet changes in the middle of the night. Ashley Muir Bruhn recommends Target’s Pillowfort collection, which offers a range of stylish but reasonably priced bedding options for kids.

A Shared Calendar

“There are few things that are more useful to my wife and I than our shared calendar app,” says Ask Your Dad’s John Kinnear, who uses Google Calendar to keep track of events like gymnastics and ballet practices. “We don’t go overboard with scheduling, but when we add the big, recurring appointments it is super nice for us to have a high-level view of what the family schedule is.”

Superior Plastic Wrap

Glad Press’n Seal is the plastic wrap to rule all plastic wraps. Asha Dornfest, author of Parent Hacks, uses it for everything from makeshift travel bibs and place mats to cup covers and temporary waterproofing of clothes.

Painter’s Tape

Asha Dornfest loves painter’s tape because it’s sticky, easy to tear and doesn’t leave a residue. She has used it to label leftovers and clothes, create race tracks on the floor and even fix ripped diaper tabs. When traveling, it’s also great for covering electrical outlets and taping drawers shut in hotel rooms.

Portable Snacks

Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorne, who host the podcast One Bad Mother, stash snacks everywhere they go. “I have them in my car, my purse, diaper bags, under the couch cushions, everywhere,” says Ellis, whose go-to snack is granola bars. “I keep a stack of Trader Joe’s fruit leathers in my purse for emergencies because they’re cheap, lightweight, non-perishable, take up no space and my kids love them any time,” says Thorne.

A Synced-Up Shopping List

Powwowing for shopping lists is tough to do when life gets busy. Out of Milk is an app that allows two people to view, add and remove items from a shared shopping list. “I love that my wife and I can share lists, so we can both be adding things as we think of them and checking them off as we get them,” says Chris Routly, creator of The Full Routly.

Step Stools

Teach your kids self-sufficiency by placing step stools “all over the house, all over the place,” says Nathalie Laitmon, publisher of Suburban Misfit Mom. “Kids won’t need your assistance with reaching food and they’ll tend to pee less all around the toilet bowl. Doesn’t have to be cute. Functional plastic works better.”

Teacher's Planning Book

Nathalie Laitmon charts her kids’ after-school activities with a teacher’s yearly planning book. “Average human calendars don't have enough space in the box for one day. These do,” she says.

Small Sweet Treats

For those times when you want to treat your kid to something sweet (or bribe them) without over-indulging their sweet tooth, chocolate chips are perfect: Just a little goes a long way. “Kids feel good being given 10 of these, which doesn’t add up to much damage, if you ask me,” says Nathalie Laitmon.

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