'I literally change the clocks.' 30 slightly unethical but bloody effective parenting hacks.

If you’ve ever tried to get a crying baby into a car, you’ll likely know ~the struggle~.

Aussie mum Teagan came up with a brilliant solution, issuing a PSA on the Mamamia Parents Facebook group that frankly deserves some sort of parenting initiative award.

“My baby would scream as soon as I put him in the car and not stop until he was back out again,” she shared of her all too familiar plight.

“A blown up photo of your face. I found this one from about 15 years ago; it has worked 100% of the time for us, all he needs is his mama’s face smiling at him and he sits quietly looking at it, talking to it or falling asleep. If this car nightmare sounds familiar to you this is worth a go!”

Left: Teagan's hack. Right: Her sleeping bub. Images: Supplied.

Of course, this isn’t the first parenting hack to go viral. It’s not even the first parenting hack to go viral this week. We’re all looking for quick and easy ways to keep our kids happy while getting them to do what we want them to do. 

Bribery can get expensive, so hacks are the way to go... even if they’re occasionally, ahem, slightly questionable.

So we scoured the internet - and asked the parents from the Mamamia Parents group - for the very best parenting hacks. Here's what they came up with.


How to keep them busy.

Mum of four Melissa wanted to do some grocery shopping, and her husband Michael insisted she leave the kids behind so she'd have some peace.

When she came home, she found the kids lined up on the floor, sketching their dad as he laid on the couch. Observe:

Image: Facebook/Monica Weber

"He has them doing 'realism art' while he 'poses' AKA naps," Melissa shared on Facebook of the genius move. "The winner gets a chocolate, but let's be honest, [he's] the one winning."

The activity was completely safe, she assured commenters.

"I took the pictures upon my return when all the kids shushed me because they wanted to finish their drawing... everyone enjoyed their "art break" and Mike took some stress off my plate while resting his eyes."

Other parents shared their favourite ways to keep their kids busy, while getting things done:


“My personal favourite is What’s On My Butt?, which involves the kid finding household objects and putting them on my butt while I lie face-down on the couch. I then have to close my eyes and guess what’s on my butt. It’s a hit: Kids love saying ‘butt’, and I love naps.”


How to ease separation anxiety.

Meanwhile, Japanese mum Fuki Sato knew her one-year-old son would cry as soon as she was out of his sight. 

So she and her husband Neji made some life-size cardboard cutouts of her, in different poses, and placed one near their son. Then Fuki went off to go about her business.

Genius. Image: Twitter/Fuki Sato


“As a result, it is not noticed for about 20 minutes,” Neji wrote of the clever idea on Twitter.

Like the cutout mum hack? Here’s a less expensive version:

“I used to put a rubber glove filled with rice on my second-born infant’s belly once he was asleep so he thought I was still there.”

How to stop them from crying.

How to get your kids to bed.

Many parents had tips for getting their kids into bed and sleeping:

“I used to change all the clocks around the house forward an hour to get the kids to sleep earlier a few nights a week.” 

“I sometimes YouTube the Giggle And Hoot 'Goodnight' song and trick my kid into going to bed earlier when I'm done for the day.”

Buy them glow in the dark PJs. Tell them they have to lie really still under the light to ‘charge’ them. I’m not even sorry.”

How to get your kids to behave.

“We have told my daughter that the security alarm sensors throughout our house are SantaCams.”


“When I was younger my older brothers told me that the little black willy wagtail birds were Santa’s spies - for YEARS I believed it! I now tell my children the same thing!”

How to get your kids to stop pestering you. 

“An ice cream truck playing music means it’s out of ice cream.” 

"‘Ooh, you wouldn’t like that, it’s spicy.’ Her: ‘Ooh no, I don’t like spicy things!’ It was a Mars Bar and I wanted to eat it all myself.”

"If the 'M' sign is on at McDonald's, they've run out of Happy Meals.” 

"If the lights are on on the ride at the shopping centre then it's broken."

How to teach them hygiene.

One Instagram user shared their technique for teaching toddlers how to wipe their bums with toilet paper by using balloons. 


How to avoid cooking.


How to use technology to your advantage.

My phone can only stream ABC kids’ shows when my three-year-old is on the shopping trolley at the supermarket. I tell her it doesn't work anywhere else.”

“Wiggles CDs and kids’ music don’t work in the car.”

“It’s too hot/windy/rainy for the TV to work!”

How to convince them to clean. 

"We used to play Cinderella. My three girls would wipe down the cabinet faces and sweep and mop the floors." 


How to get birthdays to suit your schedule. 

"I used to change the kids' birthdays to a day that suited me (shift work etc). - worked until eldest could read calendar/school etc." 

Do you have an unethical but effective parenting tip to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Getty.

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