When you’re pregnant, everyone has opinions about what you must buy for baby! I can’t even count how many hours I spent researching what I needed and what was excessive and which brands were best… I drove my sweet husband crazy with spreadsheets and comparisons! But once you get to toddlerhood, there is less guidance! And those kiddos have needs too, so I’ve rounded up a short list of some of the favorite things I’ve discovered!
- Travel Booster Seat – I don’t know about your toddler, but mine doesn’t stay in his seat well, he is too big for a high chair, but also not tall enough to easily go without. Those restaurant boosters are fine if your child sits still, but tip easily and don’t have a buckle… Enter, the travel, folding, booster seat with straps! We actually have an amazing hand-me-down version from my aunt, but this one looks very similar and has all the same great features! Perfect to keep in the car!
- Oxyclean – Not much needs to be said except that if you haven’t already discovered its usefulness while removing newborn poop stains, its ability to erase spaghetti sauce and chocolate milk stains will make you a believer.
- Car Seats – We started with an infant carrier and then bought convertible seats later that first year. I highly recommend you check out Car Seats for the Littles, but my favorite brands are Britax and Graco. Neither is exorbitantly priced, and both are easy to install. My must have features were height and weight limits that allowed for extended rear facing, a harness that didn’t require rethreading to adjust, not enormous front to back (for front seat passenger comfort) and a cover that was easy to remove and machine washable! The Car Seat Lady is also another great resource!
- Shoes – Barefoot is best when learning to walk, but at some point these kiddos need good shoes! My son has Fred Flintstone feet (think wide and thick!) so we found our best fit at StrideRite. I also love Crocs – while not the most fashionable choice, they are easy on and great for hot weather, water, dirt, etc. (Though be warned, they will shrink if left in the heat!) My husband has “invested” in a couple of “cool” shoes (Nikes and Jordans) and I love Converse, but we have learned low tops are a must, as well as velcro closure. I totally was prioritizing the look over sensibility in the beginning, and have learned better now!
- Apps – We flew to Denver last month and before we left I filled our iPad with apps for little man! I had no idea how he would do on a plane and wanted to be prepared! He LOVES the Lego Duplo and Tiny Hands brand apps, and I didn’t pay a penny for any of them! The Tiny Hands apps are just trial/sample/light versions, and if you pay it will open up more puzzles, but there are so many free ones that he hasn’t tired of them yet!
- Potty – my only advice here is to let them pick it out, or buy a few different ones. I bought one from Ikea, an adorable car one, and a Ninja turtle seat that sits on the big potty… The car one that should have been his favorite has never been sat on. He wears the insert like a hat. The other two have been used multiple times, and we’re not even officially potty training yet. I’ve never heard of a particular one being more successful than the other, so just go with what will get your little one to go! 😉
- Cups – Putting on my preschool teacher hat now… I have used/filled/seen a lot of spill proof cups and I am a big fan of Contigo Autospout cups, as well as the stainless steel Thermos Foogo and FUNtainer cups. My son skipped the “sippy cup” stage all together and went straight from bottles to straw cups, which is actually a good thing.
- Labels – Speaking of preschool, if you send your child to preschool, mother’s day out, or something similar, you’ll need to label EV-RY-THANG. My favorites are Inchbug and KiddoTags, and Krystal loves Mabel’s Labels! My son’s KiddoTags are all still 100% intact after a year of use on sippy cups and bento-box containers!
- Toys – While we have more than our fair share of ALL kinds of toys, my favorites to watch him play with are the open ended ones… a simple set of wooden blocks, Mega Bloks, or Lego Duplos can be anything he can imagine. And although his train table has a specific way the tracks and structures fit together, he prefers to get down on the floor and create his own route, which makes me just giddy to see his creativity flowing!
- Tribe – This is a weird one, I know, but I think it’s important to find yourself a group of mommies that are in the trenches of toddlerhood with you and GET IT. Seriously most days I would rather have half a dozen newborns than one 2 1/2 year old. (He’s pretty strong willed, smart, i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, opinionated, and did I mention strong willed, so that is not true for every toddler – I have heard there are some that are just a constant delight!) I have several different mommas and even online mom groups that I can go to and say, “I really don’t like my child today because he _____” and get a whole lot of support, hugs (physical and virtual), encouragement, and advice. If you don’t feel like you have a group of mommy friends, let me know and I’ll hook you up!
Hope some of these are helpful to you! None of these things have been provided to me and none of these companies know who I am, just sharing my own experiences! What are some things you have found to be absolute necessities while
surviving enjoying toddlerhood?