When your little one becomes a toddler life changes once again. There’s more things to buy, more things to worry about and happily a lot of new things to enjoy.
When does a baby become a toddler?
Generally speaking, a baby becomes a “toddler” after their 1st birthday. As with many things with babies, it really depends on them! “To toddle” actually means a short, unsteady walk. For babies, this could be from as little as 8 months up to as much as 18 months. So a year is a nice median figure.
When a baby becomes a toddler!
I remember the moment my baby graduated from “Infant” to toddler. He stood up, took about 6 haphazard, faltering steps before falling down. The next week, he was (almost) running everywhere. And to think I was worrying for a few weeks “Shouldn’t he be walking by now?”.
Now, I worry about the TV, the stairs, the drawers, his neck when he tries to do a roll on the tiles…Honestly, we had to take the door off the closet as he thought it was fun to hide in there and rock the whole thing back ward and forward….!
So, it’s important to do as much as we can to keep our babies safe. Some toys also go a long way to keeping him where we can keep an eye on, too. Taking him outside the house to get some fresh air (and hopefully tire him out a bit) works well too. With all that in mind, let’s check out some things that you many need to buy.
Things you might need to buy a toddler
I say “Might” because you might be lucky and people buy them for you. Or, it’s not your first child so you can re-use previous purchases. Here’s a big list of things you will probably need:
Shoes now become a necessity, and the pants with padded knees are great, too. Cute things to dress your baby in such as dresses, jeans and their favorite cartoon character. O.k, well maybe yours!
When they finally get too big for the crib (or your next baby comes along) it’s time for a toddler bed. There are some really cute ones with Disney characters, cars and even princess canopy beds. They might also need a travel bed for any trips you take, too.
A Lighter Stroller
We purchased a big stroller so our newborn could lie-down. We switched over to a cheaper, lighter “Umbrella Stroller” which made travel by bus and airplanes a lot easier.
High-Chair / Feeding Chair
Toddlers become very curious about what your eating and want to get in on the act. A high-chair / booster chair is a safe way to let them do this, and there are a few great multi-seats available too.
Baby Splat Mat
By accident, (and sometimes by mischievous design) toddlers love dropping things on the floor. Things also get knocked over, especially when you quickly stop them from doing something crazy. A splat mat is just the thing.
Plastic knife, forks spoons, plates and cups are essential for a toddler’s meal-time.
We expect toddlers to get a bit messy, but it’s no fun washing clothes all the time. A good, waterproof bib will wipe down easily and save on laundry detergent.
Toddler Entertainment & Toys
It’s never too early to read to toddlers. There’s some great “Quiet Books” out there, and I found the cloth and hardback books are good as all he wants to do is tear loose…
Riding Toys with Push Handle
There are many cool push toys such a tricycles, motorbikes, police cars etc, etc. I found it amazing that mine often wants to get out and push it himself!
We have the “Lamaze Leaptop” and it’s good because it a) Stops him from attacking this keyboard, b) teaches phonics c) is small enough to go on car trips. There are quite a few good ones on the market from Vtech and Fisher Price and at less than $25 they won’t break-the-bank.
Baby Cell Phones & Remote Controls
For some reason, toddlers love to get their hands on any phone or remote control. There are quite a few, inexpensive baby cell phones on the market that have lights and sounds.
On one hand it’s bad to get him used to them, on the other, it’s better than a cracked iphone screen…. Or a broken air-con unit because he likes to turn it on and off all day long… 🙁
Boys and a lot of girls love cars. A lot of the really fun ones don’t start until ages 3+, but there’s still a lot of safe, durable toy cars and the classic “Car Mat” you can get for your toddler.
There comes a time when the once-fun “Bath Time” becomes a chore for a baby. Bath toys are a way of keeping it fun, and many now change color to let you know if the water’s too hot.
Coordination & Development Toys
Shape Sorters / Stacking Blocks
You know toys that stand the test of time must be good. A toddler needs shape sorters and stacking blocks. A parent needs to google if he can’t sort shapes by 18 months is it normal? (Some can do it by 12 months and some take until 2 years old to save you a search!)
I like toys that are useful and can last longer than 5 minutes. Activity walkers can help support your baby when they are learning to walk. Usually, this involves a lot of crashing into things like a drunken leprechaun.
Some of the better activity walkers can be used when a baby is seated / crawling until 3 years old.
In response to safety concerns around baby walkers, a safer concept was designed – The Exersaucer. Also called “Activity Stations”, they are safe, fun and help promote developmental skills. You can find our page “The Best Exersaucers for 2016” here.
I personally think activity cubes are great. Each of the 6 faces has something different for your toddler to do. Sights, sounds, things to press, pull and rattle. They take a fair amount of abuse too.
Pull Along Toys
Toys that toddlers can pull along are great for their coordination and development. They don’t need to be expensive, and you can make your own with a bit of string and some imagination.
Kids love banging things. Give them a wooden spoon and some pots and pans and they love it. Your toddler may like a toy piano, drum, tambourine or key flute. Probably all at the same time!
The Pounding Bench is a classic toy for toddlers. They help with learning colors and develop fine motor control. Some of the “Deluxe” models pop one peg up after another has been hit. This helps teach “Cause and effect”. At the end of the day, toddlers love bashing things, too!
Safety-Proofing Your Home For Toddlers
Toddler Bed Rails
A bed rail removes the worry of your toddler rolling out of bed. The latest bed rails fold up and away easily and fit many different types of mattresses.
Toddler Stair Gates
A baby falling down the stairs is naturally one of our biggest fears. There are all sorts of stair gates available now, including extra-tall and extra-wide to give you piece of mind.
Door, Cupboard and Drawer Locks
If it’s shut, they want to open it. Then close it. And repeat. If there’s something interesting inside it will soon be on the floor. A good door, cupboard and drawer lock can stop this from happening.
Flat Screen Safety Straps
If your TV is on say a 3-foot stand, you can bet your toddler will try to climb it and rock it backward and forwards. It’s what they do and they do it well. Safety Straps are a safe, inexpensive option until you get a more “Baby Friendly” TV stand.
Stove Nob Covers & Stove Guards
I learned there’s a reason toddlers walk on their tiptoes for so long. It’s so they can reach dangerous things like stoves and cooker nobs. A stove guard and nob covers are a good idea before resorting taking and hiding the stove nobs away!
Electrical Outlet Covers
Toddlers love keys. Unfortunately, mine loves trying to stick them into sockets. Once I saw this, I went and brought inexpensive socket covers for the whole house.