Monday, January 13, 2014

Toddler Must Haves

So I wrote a blog similar to this about baby items that were a must have for our family, but I thought it was about time to address the needs of an older baby/ toddler. As a child grows, so does the things that he needs and wants so we have found ourselves always looking for the next item that will be "the best kid things we have ever bought!". Max is nearly 1 1/2 and here are a list of a few things that I would totally recommend to parents with kids around his age! All of these things we have used all the time and well worth the money we have spent on them!

(in no particular order)

1. Baby Place Mat. Every single time we take this out in a public place, someone will come up to us and ask where we got this place mat or comment and how such a good idea it is. I have to say, for 10$ this is an absolute must buy! Now, if your kids aren't at the eating table food stage yet, than let me explain what this is. Super simple, you just unroll it and stick it the table when you are out to eat and BAM, you have a clean surface to put your baby's food that they cannot easily throw (like a napkin, or even worse a ceramic plate for a restaurant). It just rolls up super easy when you are done and all you have to do is throw it in the dishwasher when you get home. Fits easily in diapers bags even has a little lip to catch food that doesn't quite make it into baby's mouth. They have plastic throw away versions of these that work in quite the same way, but cost more and you have to constantly buy more too. With baby/kid things I always try to go for the reusable item and this is it. I do have to admit that this particular one doesn't always stick to every single surface and Max sometimes can now pull the whole thing up and food goes everywhere (but I don't think there is much you can do about that at this stage no matter what). But we have used this item for almost a year and it still has plenty of life left in it!.

2.Skidder Shoes  . These are really more like socks as the only thing that separates them is the rubbery sole.  They are perfect for when a kid is just learning to walk and needs some extra resistance on the ground. We have found they are also useful when you just need to slip shoes on the kid really quick to head out the door and don't want to mess with the shoes and sock business. We use them inside too when its too chilly for Max to walk about barefoot on our cold tile floor, but socks just make it too slippery. We used these all during the summer as they stay on feet well and have just the right amount of foot coverage over a sandal without making them too hot! Not great for for the rainy and chilly weather, but I plan on buying more this next summer! We love them!

Here you can see Max wearing Skidder shoes as he is outside playing with his Papa (Jeffrey's Dad)

3. Baby Back Pack! There are many different kinds, brands and styles you can get for a baby back pack and since I obviously haven't tried them all, I won't go into which is better. I can only say that we have LOVED ours! If you plan on doing any sort of traveling I for sure recommend one of these! We take this thing anywhere and it is so much easier to maneuver through crowded streets, un-even terrain and well anywhere, compared to a stroller! Max loves riding in this too and can even nap in it! I recommend one of these to anyone who wants to be able to take a baby/toddler out places and be hand free! It is comfortable and has pockets for food and drinks. Also has a sun/rain shade we can put on the top if weather is bad! Love Love! -Oh the brand we have is Kelty!

Max was about 9 months old here and the crib wrap was just becoming necessary 
4. Crib Wrap. I'm not sure why, but kids like to chew on things! They are sort of like dogs in that anything that can be chewed on, will be chewed on! Once your baby is old enough to stand up in his crib, he will start chewing on the crib too! We were lucky enough to find this gem before the chew marks got too bad. It is machine washable, easy to put on and take off and really durable. We only purchased one for the side of the crib that faces out, (the side he mostly stands on) but if I ever have another child, we will for sure get one for every top part of the crib.

5. Snack cups. Pretty simple, kids like to eat snacks, and make messes. These cups allow you to put goldfish, cheerios, apple slices, or anything you want, in a safe spill proof container. The top works so that the child can only put his hand in to get the snacks, but if the cup is thrown or turned upside down you don't have a huge mess to clean up! Another item that we use almost daily and are perfect for the car too!

6.  Food pouches! I didn't think I would be using these as long as I have, but let me say now that I am so so so so thankful for them! With a picky eater on my hands, it is very tough to get Max to eat any vegetables and on a day when all i can get him to eat is cheese, bread and food pouches, I thank God that at least he is getting some veggies from those pouches. For those who don't know ,  the food pouches are basically just pureed fruits and vegetables in a easy to eat pouch. They have tons of different brands as well, but the ones we like the best are Happy Tot and Ella's Kitchen. Both have good combos of mixed fruits and vegetables, and they actually taste decent (yes I have tasted them lol). You can also get these pouches in actual food like pureed chicken or beef, (for babies who are still eating only pureed foods), but max never liked those. Max eats at least 2 of these a day and now sucks them down in under a minute lol. We buy on Amazon (what a shock ha ...sarcasm)  and get a great deal when you subscribe to them and use Amazon Mom. I think we will be using these for years to come as the are a great snack on the go and a super healthy option at that! - Note: these do tend to make some pretty horrendous messes, especially in the beginning when you child still hasn't
figured out exactly how to do it, but still worth it I think!

7. Toddler Belt. Not sure if it is common for young toddler to find pants that fit, but it is for my child.
He is a little on the short side and not really very thin, but we always seemed to have the hardest time getting his jeans and pants (the ones without elastic waist) to stay up. I am not sure why the pants were so big in the waist, but we managed to find this toddler belt. It simply goes through the belt loops in the back of the pants and snaps tight to hold the pants up! It is very adjustable and easy to use, and you don't have to take on and off during diaper changes either! We use it all the time and pan on using it for years if we still can't find pants than fit Max correctly!

Well, there you have it. Some of our favorite toddler item so far!