Monday, December 16, 2013

Top 5 Must-Haves for Raising a Toddler

There are numerous articles out there telling you what the must-have items are for newborns. However, after about six months, you are on your own to figure out what you need. And what items are great for toddlers? Well, you get completely left in the dark to figure that one out on your own.  

Well have no fear, I'm here to help.  

Now that we have hit the two-year mark, I feel like I've got this toddler thing figured out pretty well. We hit some bumps along the road and I'm sure it won't always be smooth sailing from here on out, but I'd like to think we are doing pretty darn good.  

But I've learned a few things. Mostly, that there are things out there that can help along the way. So I've compiled a list of the top five things all parents of toddlers should own to survive toddlerhood. Here goes.
5. Dual Portable DVD Player for your car - I don't care that the childhood experts say that children under two shouldn't watch TV. If you want to survive time in the car without constant distractions from the back seat, you must have a DVD player. I'm not saying you have to use it for every single car ride, but for your child's sanity and for yours, it is a definite must for long drives. If you are like us and you aren't fortunate enough to have one built into the back of the head rest, I highly recommend getting a dual player. They are designed to have one on each headrest for multiple children, but with the purchase of one additional cable, you can put them in multiple cars - lifesaver for all!

4. Potty Seat - Yes, I know - everyone will need one of these eventually, but here's why I recommend buying one early. First of all, in every article I've read about potty training it says to put one out early so that your child gets used to it. Sure- that may or may not work (JJ has been "used to it" for months, but that doesn't seem to be rushing along the potty training), but I find it great for other reasons. As every parent knows, there are times you need to spend some quality time in the restroom and you know you aren't getting that time alone. With a potty seat in the restroom, you can both have a seat to sit on and you can go potty together. Learning experience and practical for mom and dad all at the same time. Plus, in our house, it is great when Iron Man or Buzz have to poop, too!

3. Slumber Buddy (Pillow Pet, whatever you want to call it) - When JJ was born, we were given this frog Slumber Buddy (which the hubs still insists is a turtle, not a frog). We tried it from time to time, but JJ didn't have much interest until recently. I don't know that it matters which brand you get or which animal, but it lights up and puts the stars on the ceiling and plays different songs or white noise. Now that he is two, we don't go to bed without it. And when he is trying one of his many stall tactics, we lure him to his room by asking which color (ours has three options), he wants the stars to be which occasionally helps us get him to his room. Once there, we lay down together to look up at the stars. This coupled with a good read of Goodnight Moon makes bedtime much more simple! 

2. A Storage Ottoman Yes, I am telling you to buy an Ottoman.  A big one. It will take you about two seconds with a toddler to figure out they have toys. Lots and lots of toys. And unless you want 1,000 toys thrown all over your living room or a big brightly colored toy box, you will want want one of these. It is great to throw toys in (especially when you are trying to make your house presentable at the last minute before company arrives) and it still looks like adult furniture. Could not live without it!

1. Nosefrieda Snotsucker  Yes, you actually suck the snot out of their nose. And it is a-maz-ing! Seriously, you should have had this since they were a baby, but if you missed out, buy one now. Not soon - now! Here's why I love it - unlike the aspirators, the tip is big enough you aren't shoving it three feet up the nose and it closes off so you get good suction. And now that JJ is a toddler (but still can't "blow" well), he doesn't mind putting it right up to his nose and letting me suck away. And don't freak out - you aren't going to get snot anywhere near your mouth. I've never had snot get passed the tip of the tube and even if it did, there is a filter. See - this was one suck I was particularly proud of!  
There you have it.  I just made your life much simpler.  You are welcome.

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