Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy items that make your life as a parent just a touch easier. I mean, how did we live before a TikTok mom told us we could quickly cool down our child's lunch with a stroller fan? (Genius, TBH.)
Recently, one Redditor wanted to know what products unexpectedly changed the game for other parents.
"What's the best children's item that just made life easier?" u/PeachxScoe posted in the Parenting subreddit. "Personally, mine are kids' bento boxes. I found two for $3 while thrifting one day. I didn't realize how much easier they made packing lunch. You can even put sauces, and they won't leak out."
RELATED: 5 Easy Tricks for Better Lunch Boxes
After making this discovery, the Redditor wanted to know, "What's an item that made you think, 'How did we run smoothly before we had this?'"
If you're a parent, you know how much people love to spill the tea on their favorite baby and kid products. Not surprisingly, the responses have come flooding in from more than 500 other Redditors in less than a day.
For one parent, it was less about a specific product for their kids, and more about a product that kept all those battery-operated toys running.
"A set of glasses screwdrivers, and a small double-headed screwdriver…The number of kids toys that have tiny little screws to get into the battery compartment…" the person said.
Of course, if you can't listen to songs about purple monkeys in bubblegum trees, learning farms, or Cocomelon anymore, is the ability to fix battery-operated toys really making your life easier? One Redditor playfully pointed that out. "Unless you're sick of the noise for that toy, then "oh no.... we can't change the batteries," the person replied. (Yes, telling your kids little white lies is perfectly OK and sometimes necessary for your sanity.)
Speaking of sanity, one parent suggested investing in something that doesn't make noise, but provides hours of entertainment. "Cardboard box. Enough said," they wrote.
Other parents appreciated products that offered up a little extra free time on their end.
"A white noise machine. It keeps the child calm and asleep," said one person. "Baby carriers. You can actually get some stuff done while watching the baby," wrote another.
Some of these products cost more than others, and families have different budgets. Sometimes, shopping at second-hand online and brick-and-mortar shops, like the original poster, can help save money. Experts shared a few tips on how to get the most bang for your buck when shopping for kids' products:
Do your homework. Read reviews for red flags, and check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if the product has been recalled.
Quality over quantity. One product that's built to last is better than several poorly-made ones that break in a week.
Search, search, search. There are tons of options for used clothing, toys, and tools, including Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Scope out a few to find the best deals.