Friday, September 20, 2013

My Favs - The Toddler Years

Most seasoned moms have figured out the secrets to parenting their specific child via trial and error. I assure you, many different sippy cup brands were damaged and lost until the right one was found and then used religiously. Strollers, car seats, wipes, puffs - we all have our preferences. For me, when it comes to babies, less is more. Better yet, whatever my older sister or sweet mama friends are willing to give me is what I end up with. Still, I have my list of things I LOVE using, especially while traveling with young children.

I know I've got a baby on the way, but this is my list of favorite things for the toddler/pre-school years. Finding these items were less about trying each brand and coming to my own conclusion, but rather seeing these items used in other households and wondering "why the heck haven't we thought of this!!".

It's not an extensive list, but it's the items I'm loving right now.

We saw this clock at a friend's house while traveling over the summer. I know that good parenting books say to always give a few warnings to your children before shaking things up so they can prepare for the change. Problem is, kids don't understand the concept of time yet! Our five minute/three minute/one minute warnings went nowhere. Fits continued and then we found ourselves arguing about how long a minute really is and, well, it was horrible.

Since getting this timer, our day runs so smoothly. Especially now that we homeschool, I need the boys to be able to complete tasks (breakfast, getting dressed, quiet time, etc.) in certain amounts of time. The visual is great for all ages, too!

We got ours for $7 at a garage sale and has probably been the best $7 spent on my kids, eva! The one pictured above is $70, but I'm sure these go for much cheaper on craigslist as they've gotten pretty popular over the years. Here are my 3 reasons why I prefer a balance bike to a pedal bike with training wheels:
1. The balance bike teaches your child to balance (duh). In my opinion, this is the hardest thing to learn when riding a bike. 
2. Balance bikes go ssssllllowwwwww. I love this because I need to be able to keep up with my toddler who has no fear of moving vehicles whatsoever. The tortoise speed is just right for little ones who are learning both how to ride AND how to be safe while "on the road".
3. Training wheels are wobbly! I remember learning to ride a bike with training wheels and I never felt in control. It brought more fear than comfort. Sure, I learned how to ride without the trainers, but I think learning to balance makes the transition much easier. It took Eli about 2 days to learn to ride a pedal bike!

These are THE best shoes for kids. Seriously, they hold up well, the dark colors hide the dirt, and the velcro makes them easy to pull on and slip off. They also fit well on both Elijah's skinny long feet and Lazzy's short fat feet. Again - velcro! My mom has always bought these for the boys, but I do know you can get them at Kohl's. Google them and you'll find lots of options.

Puddle Jumper arm and chest floaties (we got ours at Aldi for $6.99!)

These floaties really work! The chest part doesn't cut into your child's neck and it's impossible for them to end up face down for any length of time. Believe me, Lazarus has tried. I am so thankful for this invention, because it means I can sit on the beach while my kids swim happily. Win win!!


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