By Alison Cupp Relyea
Before having children, our homes are filled with adult-sized things, from tables and chairs to towels and place settings. When a baby arrives, some items immediately become smaller. We get cribs and bassinets with beautiful baby bedding sets, hooded towels for bath time and baby books for story time. In one part of our house, things become smaller, but elsewhere, they remain the same.
As a baby quickly grows into a toddler, they often outgrow the initial supply of newborn items and we race to keep up on clothing and shoes, often overlooking the other things that are too small or too big for our growing child. Toddlers live in a world much like that of Goldilocks, where things are not quite the right size for them. With a little extra effort to find those items that are “just right,” you will see your toddler blossom in his or her ability to be independent.
Furniture is often the biggest challenge for parents, especially when space is limited. Having separate furniture for a toddler can make everyone’s life much easier – and neater! By about two years old, many children resist being strapped into a high chair. Also, they can start to do art projects and other things at the table besides eating, but a large table with large chairs does not allow a child to manage independently.
One of the best investments you can make for your toddler is a child-size table and chairs set. These vary in price and quality, and there are many choices to fit your décor and your space needs. Children love to have snacks at their tables and engage in art projects, look at books and play with friends. Much like a baby’s crib, this quickly becomes a toddler’s personal play space.
Children very quickly respond to things that are made especially for them, and as soon as you bring this new furniture into your home, you will see your child acting out everyday tasks of setting up a snack and tucking in chairs. As they grow, it is also perfect for imaginary play as it can transform from family kitchen to restaurant or school table.
To round out the “just right” toddler items in your home, be sure to get some place settings and toddler utensils. These are bigger than baby items and baby spoons. They are designed to be used independently to promote early feeding skills. Also, having a couple of toddler step stools around will soon enable your child to wash hands and brush teeth without help. You will be amazed at what your growing child can accomplish with the right tools!