Many of us woke up on January 1st with big ideas and parenting resolutions for the new year. I’m gonna get those kids to bed on time! Get everyone out the door without screaming! Crack down on screen time! And so on. But these kind of sweeping resolutions are never going to work without a solid plan in mind. Let’s start a little simpler, shall we?

I asked you guys to tell me simple changes that you implemented at home last year which had positive results. For instance, last year we made a “no iPad in the morning” rule which really improved everyone’s listening abilities while we were getting ready for school, which in turn decreased the amount of yelling. I mean, there’s always a little yelling. And it’s a little harder to get the kids out of bed without the iPad as an incentive… but overall, a positive change and we are keeping it in 2020!

Here are 32 game changing house rules and parenting hacks:


1) “When my kids were six and three, we implemented the ‘Trophy’ which you earn by sleeping the latest in the family. Although it’s not a physical object, they are always proud to tout who won that day. It sounds crazy, but a fight to sleep the latest is a mom win!” – @rhennes

2) “I give a Hershey kiss with breakfast to the kids who sleep past a certain hour. Everyone wins.” – Julie


3) “We started keeping a spare hairbrush in the car. I have a kid who is a slow poke in the morning, plus I’m always running behind. So having my daughter use the five minute car ride to school to brush her hair just makes everything easier.” – Stacy

4) “We put a hanging organizer in both girls’ closets. On Sunday, they pick out all their clothes for the entire week. There is no more arguing about what to wear or not having clean clothes.” – Katie

5) ” I bought a foldable tote bag. Before I get to the car in the morning, I put in all the lunchboxes, water bottles, my cell phone, purse, my coffee (in a spill proof cup) and anything else I need to take with me. This way I don’t have to make a thousand trips just to get everything I need in the car.” – Natalie

6) “I realized that our 11 year-old daughter does better with a morning shower before school. It helps wake her up and get going. Our 13 year-old showers at night. As an added bonus, there is no more fighting over who showers first or last at night.” – Becky

7) “My husband, who handles morning routine, makes everyone get dressed before they go downstairs. Otherwise he would be fighting with them to go back up and get their socks or put on long sleeves. This also improves my evenings when we get home, because there is no longer underwear or pajamas in my couch or on the living room floor.” – Sara


8) “I created a shared journal for my daughter and me. It’s a special place where she can write whatever is bothering her that she might be too scared to say out loud. Then she leaves it in our designated place and I respond. It gives me time to process and really think about the best thing to say. There is no punishment or consequences for what’s in the journal, just love and support.” – Rhiannon

9) “Whenever my daughter complains about something ridiculous, she has to come up with three positive things to say about the situation. She’s starting to end her complaints with a positive without asking me now.” – Stephanie


10) “We listen to audiobooks in the car on our commute to and from school. Focusing on a story keeps my kids from picking on each other and helps them wind down after the school day. They don’t mind if we get stuck in traffic, especially if it’s a really good part in the book!” – Megan

11) “My sons are in their 30s now, but when they used to fight, I would make them sing their conversations until we couldn’t take it anymore and just laugh and laugh. It was a good way to make things nice again.” – @acooperrider4

12) “My go-to trick for making up after a fight is having the kids do a slow motion hug. Even if we are in a busy store or out and about, I have them stand 10 feet apart and slow motion hug it out. It always works and ends in laughs.” – @radnumba2


13) “I stuck a command hook at my two year-old’s height level in the closet. Now when he comes in the front door, he runs to put his jacket away instead of throwing it on the floor.” – @Dbackman

14) “My kids (2.5 and 4.5) were going through a MAJOR whining-about-clean-up-time phase. So, I started the ‘Clean Up Cup,’ where I grab anything that resembles a microphone and start pretending like they’re in the race of their lives. I speak super quickly in an ‘announcer voice’ and say things like ‘It’s coming down to the wire for Alice here; can she get the purple airplane into the basket on time? Will she beat her personal record?’ They LOVE it and clean everything up in five minutes or less. Imaginary awards are always given at the end.” – Katelyn

15) “My kids are athletic and we are involved in multiple sports each season. I got tired of digging through laundry to find all the uniform parts for multiple kids, so we made a rule that when you take off your uniform, all the parts that need to be washed go directly on top of the washer (not in a hamper). Anything that doesn’t get washed (think baseball belts) and all clean uniform parts from the laundry (including socks!) get folded & go in a special basket that is easily accessible in the kids’ bathroom closet (not in their rooms!). No one ever has to ask where their stuff is and it’s one less thing to keep track of for us parents.” – Elizabeth

16) “I was sick of the kids’ hats/mittens/scarves/sunglasses/etc. never getting put away and being hard to find when needed. Last year, I bought four IKEA storage bins and stacked them up by the front door. I assigned a bin per kid and let them decorate with their names and stickers. For some reason, this has worked better than anything I’ve done in the past to keep organized. Even my 2yo puts away his hat and mittens in his bin when we get home!” – Molly

17) “I do time lapse videos of my 4yo cleaning up. He loves to see himself going super speed!” – Annie


18) “My kids get more screen time when they fold the laundry, so now they fight over who gets to do it!” – Juls

19) “We put a timer (shaped like the Death Star from Star Wars) on the mantle under the TV, so my son can manage his screen time himself. He gets two 30 minute sessions a day. He knows that if we have to tell him to turn off a screen then he loses screen time the next day. It’s working!” – Megan

20) “We have a rule that any TV after dinner is a nature or animal show/documentary. It doesn’t rile up the kids like cartoon, plus it’s something the whole family enjoys.” – Dani

21) “We have a rule for gaming. If mom asks you do something, you have the right to politely ask for a moment to finish, or tell mom this game will be X more minutes. As long as they are polite, they get the time to finish. It has stopped so many issues.” – @hawaiimom02

22) “I only let my daughter play on the iPad during ‘quiet time’ on the weekend when her little brother is napping. She still gets to have screen time this way, but it’s capped at 2 hours AND it gives us a break on the weekends.” – Amanda

23) “We have a road trip rule that iPads are only used when we are in the car for over two hours. Otherwise, we sing, watch the scenery outside, talk. It helped my daughter understand that she doesn’t have to depend on a screen to entertain her every second. Sometimes it’s okay to be bored. Plus, I got to interact with her!” – @momhiggins


24) “We started using an app to record allowance instead of paper money, because it means more to my kids to see the growing number in their account and to be able to use it when we are out and about. When they want something, I might say no, but they are always allowed to use their own money. This way, instead of getting mad at me for shutting them down, they really consider whether that object is worth it to them.” – Ilana

25) “When my kids find something in the store that they want but I’m not buying for them, we take a picture of them standing next to it. It both acknowledges the want and can be referred back to on special occasions where a gift might be involved.” – Jennifer


26) “One day each week, my kids can pick one meal to skip and make an alternate meal of their choosing. I post the menu so they can know which is not their favorite.” – Angie

27) “We stopped screen time during meals. Once we stopped, our daughter realized meal time was shorter and therefore, left more time for play time.” – Mia


28) “Instead of watching a show before bedtime to wind down, I bought my son a bookmark flashlight so he can read with the lights out. I find he falls asleep easier this way, plus he feels like he’s still getting away with something.” – Amy

29) “All screens turn off an hour before bedtime. I lay with my daughter and give her half an hour to talk my ears off (as if she hasn’t been doing it all day, lol) before she has to be quiet and go to sleep. It’s made bedtime SO MUCH better.” – Shannon

30) “We started doing bath time before dinner. This way, they are actually hungry by dinner time and don’t ask for snacks at bedtime. It also means our bedtime routine is much shorter— just teeth, books and potty, because bath, jammies and hair has already been done before dinner. Less jobs to do means fewer battles when the kids are tired and I find they fall asleep better!” – Lindsey

31) “We started playing kids’ sleep stories at night and it’s been a complete game changer for my 6 year-old son. Before we started, he was taking one to two hours to fall asleep after we put him to bed, which meant is was always grumpy in the morning. Having something for him to focus on at bedtime allows him to fall asleep so much faster. He actually told us that he never gets to hear the end of the story.” – Bee


32) “At the beginning of the year, we schedule a black out weekend once a month for intentional family time. Then we all go around and choose two things we want to do in the upcoming year. On our list this year is camping in Yosemite, dirt biking in Pismo Beach and snowboarding in Tahoe. It’s so fun because when we take the trip, we always thank the person who suggested the destination for the fun time!– @bros4hoe

Do you have any hacks or rules that have worked for your family? Tell me about them below!