Whether you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of your first baby or if you are currently in the trenches, here are 25 new dad hacks and tips to help you in your journey.
25 New Dad Hacks And Tips
1. Get Rid of Annoying & Noisy Toys – there are so many toys out there that “bonk,” whistle, “beep,” and make hundreds of other annoying and high-pitched sounds. Don’t be afraid to hide said toys. It is good to rotate toys in and out, so they aren’t always playing with the same toys. This is where you can tend to hide the loud toys and bring out something like a puzzle or another toy that doesn’t sound like a bag of cats being swung against the wall.
2. Bribes Work on Kids – Much like your dog, your kid will quickly learn which behaviors get rewarded. I am not saying give them a tootsie roll every time they fart, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a treat of some kind when they do something you really like. This is especially useful when potty training.
3. A Case for Your Phone – A hard case is needed because your phone will be dropped, thrown, spilled on and more. Your phone might as well have crack rocks in with the way young kids are drawn to them. I get it, they light up and make noise…very fun. If you are like most parents, you probably have some games on there to keep them busy when it public. Just remember…once you give them that free first taste, they’ll be back for more!
4. Screen Lock Apps – I don’t think I need to make another crack reference, but you get it….kids will mess up your phone. Get a child lock app for your phone and your tablet. This way your kid won’t accidentally reset your phone back to factory or randomly call that one guy in your phone, who you haven’t talk to since high school and now it is really awkward that he answered.
5. Save & Save Often – If you are working on your laptop or desktop, never type anything of importance without saving it every few minutes. Your infant will take to the keyboard like a young Mozart when given the chance.
6. Find Kid Shows You Can Tolerate – There are so many kid’s shows out there and so many will drive you insane after 2 minutes of watching. There are also a lot of kid shows out there that are pretty decent. Find ones that you don’t mind watching with your kids. Yes, there are some shows that I actually pause if I have to leave the room. I don’t want to miss any important plot points or character arcs!
7. Big Potty Little Potty – Even if your kid isn’t ready to start potty training, it doesn’t hurt to put their potty next to the real one. This way they can start to see how it works. “I learned it from watching you, dad.”
8. Make the Most of Nap Time – I know it is tempting to just lay around while they nap, and sometimes that is what you need. Try to get things done while they nap. You’ll find it much easier to unload the dishwasher or walk on the treadmill without a kid hanging from your leg.
9. Adult Swim – There needs to be some adults only time in the evening. Put your kid to bed a few hours before you go to bed, so mom and dad can have some time together. We don’t even have to pretend this is for naughty time – more likely you’ll just lay on the couch, or in bed, and catch up on Better Call Saul.
10. Mind Your Junk – You need to adapt your Spidey Sense and be wary of all your kid’s extremities. Changing a diaper – you could get kicked in the crotch. Drying them off after a bath – foot to the crotch. Standing in the kitchen minding your own business – fist to the crotch. You get the idea.
11. Play Your Strengths – If you are better at getting the kid to sleep, then do it and let your wife finish something she’s doing. Likewise, if you can’t cook to save your life, maybe let her handle that side of things.
12. Kid Ex Machina – There is no shame in using your kid to get out of things or go home early. This trick works great with a dog, so just imagine how convincing it is with a small human that needs you.
13. Fetch – Toddlers are great for bringing you things or throwing trash out. What a fun game for them.
14. Brush Teeth to a Favorite Song – This is a great way to get them in the habit of brushing their teeth and for more than 12 seconds. Using a favorite song gets them to look forward to teeth cleaning time and it assure’s they do it long enough. I wouldn’t use Stairway to Heaven.
15. Make Toy Clean Up a Game – This is a great way to encourage cleaning up after they play. Make it fun – see how fast they can put toys away, sing a clean-up song that gets them going, whatever you can do to make it fun and not a chore.
16. Poop Bags – Keep some plastic groceries bags tucked away in your car for that inevitable blowout. You can’t alway have access to a trash can, so having a plastic bag can keep your car clean and cut down on the smell. You may also need something to put their clothes in if it is a really bad deuce. You can also use the little baggies they sell for dog poop.
17. Food Scissors are Awesome – Food scissors are amazing and so much easier than getting out the cutting board. These are great for quickly cutting up your rugrat’s food.
18. Swap Babysitting Nights – If you have friends who also have kids, work out a system where you exchange date nights with them. You watch their kid one Saturday and then they take your kid the following weekend.
19. Skip Pages in Books – There is nothing wrong with giving your kid the Cliffs Notes version of a book before bed. You will get tired of reading the same books over and over, so there is no harm in “accidentally” flipping over a few pages here and there.
20. Find a Song That Works – Find a relaxing song that seems to get them tired and then sing that as they fall asleep. Now they will associate that song with going to sleep, hopefully. I think I am remembering Pavlov’s dog correctly.
21. Sack Your Socks – We all have that damn sock-stealing monster in our house. Little kid socks are even harder to keep track of then your adult socks, which never stay in a pair. Not only will you misplace them and lose them in the wash, you also have a kid who will stick them in random places. Getting a zip-up laundry bag for socks is a great way to keep them together.
22. Disposable Placemats – These things are frigging awesome. A simple piece of plastic that sticks to the table at a restaurant. After your kid is all done, you simply throw the mat away. Great invention! We use these placemats all the time.
23. Bibs With Troughs – Like the above placemats, these bibs are a must-have. 87% of your babies food will miss their mouth. These bibs have a trough that catches the food, saving baby’s clothes and leaving a snack for later.
24. Band-Aids Over Outlets – If you are in a hotel or staying somewhere that hasn’t been baby proofed, Band-Aids can be used to cover outlets. Yep, you just Macgyver’d that situation.
25. Laundry Basket in the Tub – Sticking a laundry basket in the tub is a great way to keep your toddler safe and confined when in the tub. The basket will keep them from falling over or reaching for stuff they shouldn’t.
If you enjoyed these new dad hacks and tips, check out some of my other lifestyle posts.