Best things to buy for a growing toddler
No matter what you’ve done with your life in the past, nothing can possibly prepare you for having a toddler. Not only do they have an overwhelming amount of energy and remarkable destructive abilities, they also change continually, making it hard to keep up. That is why toddler equipment is designed to be unbreakable and can remain useful through these changes, sometimes by adapting to them. Nothing can make looking after a toddler easy, but having the right gear is a big help.
Eating and drinking
During these early years, toddlers are learning how to use utensils when they eat, starting with a spoon and moving on to a fork and spoon, then a fork and a blunt knife. Strong plastic utensils that can survive being thrown around are the best place to start in each case, and you’ll need plastic bowls as these are also likely to be dropped or hurled! Easy-clean bibs can help to catch the food that simply spills down the front of your child.
Tippy cups can help your toddler learn to drink like an adult and bridge the gap between bottles and mugs. Make sure you use a high chair with a properly rimmed tray when they’re first learning, and put a mat underneath it, as they will pour drinks all over the place. Choosing something like Skip Hop’s Tuo convertible high chair is a good choice as this means you can adapt it into a normal chair as your child advances.
Not long after children learn to walk, they start trying to climb, so early in the toddler stage a high-sided crib will cease to be useful and can even become unsafe. You can buy a little extra time by using a soft-sided crib that won’t support climbing. An adaptable crib is a good choice, so that you can simply remove the sides when your child is ready to start sleeping in a proper bed. This will save you money and spare you the stress associated with getting your child used to an entirely new sleeping environment.
To avoid resentment and to get children into good habits for when they’re older, it’s important to make bath time fun. At this stage, you’ll be moving from using a baby bath to using the adult-sized bathtub. A supportive bath chair is a big help because it means you won’t need to hold onto your child all the time, though toddlers should never be left alone in the water. You’ll also need some floating toys for bath time play.
Play is vital to your toddler’s development. It should include games that you play together and some solitary playtime, which will help your child get used to self-directed play and the fact that being alone can still be fun. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to provide stimulation. Cardboard boxes can be a wonderful toy, especially if they’re large enough to climb inside. Flour and ice cubes provide a great sensory experience and it doesn’t matter if they go in the mouth. Sand and sawdust can also be fun. As they get older, they’ll be ready to start using paint and crayons, and once they stop eating everything they’ll be able to play unsupervised with fun materials like bubble wrap, tissue paper and pipe cleaners.
Toddlers should be spending a lot of their time learning, but this needs to happen at their own pace and must be fun. From about the age of two you can start using flash cards to help your child recognize individual words and combine this activity with regular sessions where you read books together, underlining the words as you go. You can also teach counting and basic addition using familiar objects or even pieces of food. Smart children can start learning from puzzles like solitaire or
the Tower of Hanoi early on, and you can enhance physical learning by playing simple ball games together. Remember to give lots of praise each time they improve or make a breakthrough. Try to put yourself in their position so you can fully appreciate how difficult it is to make so much progress in such a short time.
Helping a toddler to progress through this exciting stage of life is an amazing experience that will give you lots of memories to treasure. It’s also exhausting, but with the right equipment and preparation you can do a great job, however hard it may seem at times. These first few years will make a massive difference to your child’s future life. It’s a privilege to be part of them.