There are a few mildly mean-spirited pranks parents can play on their kids, such as pretending to be disappointed, before revealing something nice. However, parents should first consider how their children will react.

  • Bait and Switch Presents
  • Wrapping a dud present like a battery or a single sock can set a kid up for big excitement on their birthdays or on Christmas. Once the parent reveals that the bad gift was a joke and that the kids actually got what they want, all disappointment should be forgotten.

  • Candy Prank
  • This is a popular parental prank that was popularized by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Parents can hide their kids' candy from a candy-focused event like Halloween and see how their kids react when the parent lies and says they ate all their kids' candy.

  • Vacation Prank
  • There are two ways to approach this prank: either tell the kids that an exciting family vacation is cancelled, or pretend that a trip to somewhere kid-friendly is actually a boring trip to a place the kids don't like. Either way, this prank sets kids up to be even more grateful for the vacation they will eventually get.

  • Big Purchase Prank
  • At least one parent has gotten a lot of YouTube views from telling her kid that she accidentally purchased an expensive sports car. Seeing a kid's reaction to this kind of news can be quite funny.

  • Parental Disappointment Prank
  • This prank may be best left to kids who aren't used to getting bad grades or behaving badly, but parents can mess with their kids a bit by pretending to be disappointed in bad news received from school, either in the form of a bad grade or a report of bad behavior.