Because Baby Scarlett is due in December, I’m trying my best to get a jump start on Christmas gifts this year. I’ve started a list of ideas and have even made a few purchases online to knock out some early. As I was considering what to get my three nieces, who will be between 1 and 3 years old by Christmas, I began reflecting on my own favorite toddler products.
I love when others share their favorite products, because it usually turns me onto something I didn’t know existed. So, in the same vein, I thought I’d share some of my favorite toddler products.
Camelback Kid’s Eddy Water Bottle: The recommendation is 3 years and older, but Beau has been using one since he turned a year old and he actually drinks better from this bottle than most normal sippy cups. These bottles are easy to take apart and clean, and the boys love to hold them by the loop on top, which was probably intended to make it easy to clip the bottle onto something.
Door Monkey: When James Michael transitioned from a crib to a twin bed, we tried several methods to keep him safe in his room at night. But he immediately figured out how to push over the baby gate in his doorway and also open the baby-proof doorknobs. So my mom came across this product and we thought we’d give it a try. I must say, it’s been wonderful. It keeps him in his room at night but still keeps the door cracked so we can hear him, which is critical since there is no longer a monitor in his room. Some parents are against keeping contained like this at night, and I get it, but you don’t know my kid. This is for his safety. Before we had the door monkey, we found him tampering with a bottle of Tylenol, getting into bathroom products and standing on a stool in the nursery beside Beau’s crib.
Aveeno eczema products: For whatever reason, both of my boys get eczema in the winter. I thought that JM might outgrow it by this past winter, but he still had patches of rough skin on his legs, arms and stomach. We’ve mainly stuck with using Aveeno eczema products (bath treatment, moisturizing wash and moisturizing cream) and they’ve worked great for us.
Slip-on shoes (Crocs and rain boots): I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have a pair of shoes that JM could put on and take off himself. Since my hands are always full with Beau or groceries or whatever, the face that JM can put on a pair of shoes by himself is a big deal. He’ll slip on his Crocs in the summer or boots in the winter. They were crucial when Beau was sick with ear infections earlier this year. I’d let JM slip on his boots and go on our back deck (with fenced backyard) to play while I stayed right inside behind the sliding door with Beau.
Boudreau’s Buttpaste: It seems silly to mention something like diaper rash cream, but hey, it works. We’ve used the original, maximum strength and natural creams, and they’ve all worked well. We’ve tried other creams in the past, but this cream isn’t quite as thick and doesn’t get stuck in the tube like the others seemed to do.
Fisher-Price Little People books: We have two large Little People books and JM absolutely loves them. One is about a farm and we got it from an old neighbor, so I don’t think it’s produced anymore (similar version), and the other is the Worlds of Adventure book. These are large scale board books that have minimal storylines but give you a chance to talk all about what is going on and introduce him to new items with context. There are a ton of lift-the-flap Little People books out there, but I have avoided buying those because JM loves to tear up flap books.
IKEA bowls: My mom purchased a set of these and gave me a few bowls for the boys. I don’t think they were intended for kids necessarily, but we use them every single day. The boys love oatmeal for breakfast, and these bowls are the perfect size for that and just about any other toddler-sized meal. Plus, JM loves deciding which color he wants that day.
OK to Wake clock: You may get the idea that I’m a sleep natzi, and really, I’m not. But we all know kids thrive from rules and routines. Earlier this year, I purchased this clock for JM because he was waking up at all hours of the early morning–sometimes 5 a.m.–ready to get up and start his day. Only 9 hours of sleep isn’t enough for him, and it would throw his whole day off because he’d be exhausted by the start of school at 9 a.m. You can set this clock to light up at any time of the day, and it stays lit for 30 minutes. So we set the clock for 6:45 or 7 a.m., depending on when he typically goes to sleep at night (since he goes to bed later in the summer because of the daylight). JM knows that he’s supposed to stay quiet and we will come get him once his clock goes off. Nowadays, he may wake up during the 6 o’clock hour and play in his room until his clock lights up, but he very rarely will wake up in the 5 o’clock hour and think it’s time to get up. He knows it’s not time to get up until his clock goes off, and when I go in to get him every morning, he always tells me with pride, “My clock go off Mommy!”
Stearns puddle jumper: We were so excited when we realized JM would be big enough to fit into a puddle jumper this summer. It took him about two trips to the pool before he realized this little life jacket would keep him afloat, and since then he’s been a little fish, swimming about and jumping off the side of the pool into the water. The great thing about this puddle jumper is it’s Coast Guard approved, which means he can wear it instead of a somewhat uncomfortable life jacket when we’re in a boat.
Regalo travel cot: We took this cot with us to the beach last month, and plan to take it with us when we travel to visit James’ family next month. JM loves this little cot, so much so that I have to hide it in a closet or he insists on sleeping on it in his room! It folds up smaller than a pack-and-play, so it’s easy to toss it in the car for overnight trips.
Oxo Tot Fork and Spoon set: My college roommate purchased this set as a baby gift for JM before he was born. Since then, we have definitely gotten great use out of the set. We have several toddler forks and spoons that JM uses, but this set is the best by far, based on the size and functionality. And it’s held up better than any other set we have. I think I know what Beau may get in his stocking this year 🙂
Marpac white noise machine: James and I have used this noise machine for years, and once we had the boys, we bought machines to go in their rooms. It helps to drown out the noise outside their rooms, such as when Dad is making breakfast at 4:45 a.m. or we’re watching TV at night. It also allows me to check on my babies before I go to bed without worrying about waking them.
What are your favorite toddler products? I need more ideas for Christmas!