There are few perks to being a parent. No all-expenses paid conferences at plush resorts in the Bahamas. No steak dinners on the boss or catered company holiday parties. No recognition plaque for the projects (potty training) that you completed before the deadline (kindergarten).   On some days, getting to take a shower can be the closest thing to a perk you’ll see.

With April Fool’s Day right around the corner, now is the time to cash-in on this often perk-less job of parenthood, because really, what is better than pulling a good old-fashioned prank over on your kids? Okay, maybe a trip to the Bahamas, but this is a pretty satisfying runner-up, we suppose.

Just remember — there are some pranks that will backfire (no jumping out of the closet with a Freddie mask, obviously) and keep in mind that it won’t be that long before your sweet little ones will be vicious teenagers and able to pull April Fool’s Day pranks of their own… on you!


Turn their World Upside-Down

Before you head to bed, go through the main living spaces and turn as much furniture upside-down as you possibly can — from the couches, to the kitchen table and chairs, to the stuff on your kitchen counter-tops  And, the best part — when they come running into your room the next morning, screaming that everything is upside-down, pretend like things are 100 percent normal!

Would You Like a Side of Cheeseburger with Those Pancakes?

Breakfast for dinner is a family favorite, but dinner for breakfast? That will blow their clueless little minds! Spaghetti? Cheeseburgers? Tacos? Just make sure that you serve them something you know that they’ll eat… or else the cranky, hungry kids that you’ll face the rest of the day will make it seem like the joke was on you instead!

All Tied Up

You say it every, single morning… at least three times — “Go get your shoes on!” This April Fool’s Day prank will also teach your morning procrastinators a little lesson! Tie all of their shoelaces together before you go to bed the night before — you can either tie pairs of shoes together, or, tie every single shoe they have into one long string! Keep one pair stashed away for them to actually wear to school. After all  the morning school bell waits for no one… even on April Fool’s Day!

Lunchroom Surprises

One day of a super sweet lunch won’t kill them, right? (Their teacher may disagree!) Fill their wheat bread sammie with vanilla frosting instead of turkey and cheese. Replace the raisins in the box with chocolate chips. Put white grape juice in their water bottle or, gasp, ginger ale! Instead of carrots with hummus dip, fill their bento box with mini-marshmallows, strawberries and chocolate sauce. If it makes you feel better, you can always throw a few of their normal healthy lunch favorites in there too… just in case.

Take Advantage of Spring Break

With April Fool’s Day falling on a Monday this year and the day after Easter to boot, it’s likely that April 1st is also your kids’ first day of spring break! Shh! Don’t remind them and have them get up like usual — showers, getting dressed, packing their lunches and backpacks. You could even go so far as to drive them to school… only to discover that the doors are locked! April Fool’s — you’re on spring break!

I Guess We’re Walking…

If you do have school on April 1st this year, try a different type of morning April Fool’s Day joke. The night before, park your car around the block, where it can’t be easily seen by your kids. When you head out to the car in the morning and discover it’s missing, don’t skip a beat — just shrug your shoulders and say, “Oh, well! I guess we’ll have to walk!” We’re guessing that your kids will probably be standing at the front door with their mouths open wide as you start hiking off in the direction of their school!

Pranks to Avoid

A few pranks that will likely bring tears, not giggles…

  • The “we’re going to Disneyland” prank, because unless you’re really headed to the House of Mouse, your kids aren’t going to appreciate your humor.
  • The “we’re having another baby” prank. Trust us, you probably don’t want to see their actual reaction.
  • The “school was canceled” prank. Having to go to school after you were told it was cancelled? Not funny.
  • The “it’s time to get up” prank. Unless you want to be up at 3 AM with your five-year old, watching re-runs on Netflix, forget about the whole setting-their-alarm-clock-early prank.

Do you have any April Fool’s Day pranks planned for your kids? Tell us about jokes that you’ve pulled on them in the past… and their surely hilarious reactions!

— Katie Kavulla