Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh
You’ve been a parent for more than a year now, so how is your baby—ahem, toddler—still changing by the minute? Maybe they’re a little chatterbox? Maybe they’re into anything and everything they can get their wee hands on? Maybe you’ve just gone back to work after parental leave? There’s definitely a ton going on with your kiddo (and lots going on with the parental units).
If your kiddo hasn’t met these milestones at this point, no problem—they’ll get there sooner than later. Here’s what you can look forward to.
They are. Well, they think they are anyway. And it doesn’t matter if they can’t talk yet—they’ll make their wishes crystal clear by pointing, tugging and dragging you to wherever and/or whatever they want. They’re also huge fans of repetition, so be prepared to read that same book, sing that same song or play that same game over and over (and over) again.
Speaking of, well, speaking, it’s likely that your babe has at least “Dada” and “Mama” down and understands pretty much everything that comes out of your mouth as long as you’re keeping it simple. But if they’re still not saying much, don’t worry—they’ll find ways to communicate, be it with facial expressions, gestures or sounds (grunts and squeals). If you’re keen on helping them expand their vocabulary and say those first sentences quicker, keep talkin’ by pointing out colours, saying the names of family members and counting their fingers and toes. They’ll pick up words faster when you’re involving them in the conversation. Find more ways to encourage your tot’s speech development here.
Your tot not walking yet? No biggie—some kids don’t walk until they’re a year and a half or sometimes even later. They may be pulling themselves up and holding onto furniture or your hands now or just crawling, cruising or bum shuffling. But rest assured, they’ll eventually be running around and, yup, you’ll be chasing after them. If you want to encourage your babe, kneel down a few feet away from them and hold your arms out while they try to make their way to you, or put their favourite toy a few feet away and build their confidence by being their cheerleader while they try to grab it.
Guess who can hold a spoon? Kiddos will be all over holding their own utensils, but don’t expect them to actually get any food into their mouths (stock up on dishcloths—you’ll be cleaning bits and pieces off the walls, floors and maybe even ceilings if they’ve got good aim). Expect them to experiment with what goes into their mouths. We’re not gonna lie: The mess will drive you nuts! But try to let it go. You know what they say: This, too, shall pass.
Let’s face it: Being a toddler is super-tiring. With all that growing, bum scooting and discovering, they’ll need to sleep for a good 11 to 14 hours a day. Your best bet is to keep their sleep routine the same, which means going to bed and waking up at the same time—even on weekends. (Actually, many sleep experts suggest that adults keep a slumber routine, too, so it wouldn’t hurt the whole lot of you to stick with the same bedtime and wake-up time. When it comes to bedtime, do what works best for your tot. Whether it’s bathing and brushing teeth or reading and cuddling, it’s your call.
We know you’re not the judgy sort, but it’s always nice to be reminded: Staying at home or going back to work is a choice best made by each family, and it’s one that doesn’t require the views of outsiders. If you choose to be a stay-at-home parent, you may hear things like “You must have so much free time!” or “It must be nice not to work!” Don’t let it get to you.
If you decided to nurse and haven’t already done so, you might feel like it’s time to wean your toddler. Many lactation experts say that gradual weaning (which can take several months to a year) is best for both you and your kid, who has come to rely on the boob as part of their routine. You might want to try setting nursing boundaries—for instance, tell your tot that they can only breastfeed before bed, once during the day or whatever schedule works best for you. Just know that it doesn’t come super-easy for some parents and babes—you may have a resistant toddler who wants none of this new routine. Try to be patient.
Honestly, transitions are bloody hard. If you’re still trying to get used to being at work, doing the daycare dash, getting dinners made and keeping track of a busy toddler, it’s understandable if you’re feeling down. (Being home on parental leave isn’t a cakewalk, but it’s definitely tough to go from full-time parenting to your new reality.) If you’re feeling super-stressed and overwhelmed, ask for help. Believe us, you’re certainly not the first parent to feel anxious.
If you and your partner are back at work and your tot is making their first appearance at daycare, there’s something you should know—daycare is serious business. There are a bunch of things you probably won’t find out (in case you’re wondering, the food likely isn’t as nutritious as you were told and that daily outdoor time doesn’t always, well, see the light of day) and just so you’re aware, your kid will come home with almost every gross germ you can think of. Oh, and try not to piss off the teachers—if your kid poops before you leave, it’s your diaper to change; make sure you bring supplies (sunscreen, hats, etc.) when you’re asked; and for goodness sake—don’t you dare be late.
You probably still call your 13-month-old a “babe,” but there are a whack of sure-fire signs that they’re growing up and officially out of the baby stage. Here are five of our favourite ways to tell that you’ve got a toddler on your hands.
If you’re anything like the editors at Today’s Parent, you can’t get enough of shopping for your kid (yeah, we know having children is freakin’ expensive). One of our favourite shopping destinations doesn’t just have cool home decor finds; they also have a big assortment of stuff for the little ones—not to mention cheap hot dogs and ice cream cones. Yes, we’re talking about Ikea! Here is some Ikea kids’ stuff we’re sort of obsessed with.
Fancy high chairs can be pretty pricey, but you can save that cash for your kid’s college tuition thanks to IKEA, which has thoughtfully provided parents with a simple, durable option that’s dirt cheap. ANTILOP highchair with tray, $25, ikea.ca
Got a stuffie addict on your hands? IKEA makes it simple to feed the need thanks to a slew of quality toys at a great price point. They’re a good reward mid-shop when your little one is over traipsing through the store with you. Also, how cute is a stuffed carrot?! Soft toys, starting at $2, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
If you don’t have a bathroom that’s easily accessible at all times (like, on every floor), just scatter a few of these lightweight potties around to ensure a perfectly timed tinkle. (Having a potty in the kitchen isn’t gross, right?) The design is simple and the seat is easy to clean. Here’s hoping you don’t need them in your life for too long. Godspeed. LOCKIG potty, $8, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
One of the first purchases expectant parents make is the crib. Here’s a way to avoid one of those “I spent $600 on a crib and my baby won’t sleep in it and now it’s covered in laundry” moments. Simple and modern in design as well as durable and well constructed, this crib will stand the test of time. And keep your eye out for similar Ikea cribs, Hensvik and Sundvik; all three turn into toddler beds, which is a great feature. GULLIVER crib, $160, ikea.ca
Provided you aren’t living under a rock, chances are you’ve seen this ubiquitous tunnel. A playroom staple, it folds up nice and small so you can also throw it in the car or bring it to the park. Bonus: How fun is it to see the grandparents try to squirm through it after the kids? BUSA play tunnel, $17, ikea.ca
Sometimes simple is best. There are no bells or whistles on this basic wooden dollhouse, but you can buy cute mini Ikea furniture to decorate with, and small dolls you already have on hand will feel right at home. When your child outgrows this dollhouse, it can be mounted on the wall as a shelf for special knick knacks. FLISAT, $40, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
This classic Ikea unit is lightweight and easy to assemble. And its possibilities are endless: For example, try it on its side as a change table, a bookshelf or for stashing diapers and toys. Just remember to install it with a safety kit (available at Ikea) to keep it safely harnessed to the wall. KALLAX shelf unit, starting at $60, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Let’s face it, a play kitchen is coming into your life at some point. Some of them are hideous and others obscenely priced. Ikea offers a happy medium. This play kitchen offers a fun plywood-industrial-scandi vibe with an affordable price tag. It doesn’t come with accessories, but you’ll have fun at IKEA picking out the cutest ones for your little chef. DUKTIG play kitchen, $119, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Ikea has a huge line of affordable bedding including a bevy of fun, kid-specific prints. We love the Ofelia Vass (starting at $40). Yes, it’s all white (we know what you’re thinking), but washes really well and is densely woven so can take spills and kid punishments like a champ. Bonus: All polyester duvets are machine-washable, which is an absolute must. Bedding prices vary.Photo: Ikea
Raise your hand if you intended to be one of those parents who vowed to never let your kids eat off plastic. Pfft, not so easy, right? Do yourself a favour and get a couple sets of these bowls, plates and cups. They’re so versatile—you can even use the cups in the tub or water table. And bring a set to the grandparents to keep on hand so you don’t end up stressing about using their nice tableware. KALAS coloured dishware, $2 for six, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Wooden toys typically come with a hefty price tag. Not this track. It’s a 20-piece set (which includes a bridge/tunnel and a four-car train) that can be configured in a slew of ways. It’s a welcome addition to a living room or bedroom floor. LILLABO, $13, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
At some point, your little person will benefit from a table and chair that fits their body and is close to the ground in case of a fall. You can’t beat the price on this little set. And it’s neutral enough that it doesn’t burn your eyes when you look at it. The only qualm is that the lip on the table and chair snags dirt and crumbs, making it annoying to clean. But the extra dirt will probably just boost their immune system, right? LÄTT, $30, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
How many open boxes of crackers or packs of raisins are going stale in your pantry right now? You need these simple clips in your life. BEVARA sealing clips, $1 for a 10-pack, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
This cute collection is meant to encourage parents and children to play more together. The costumes are way cooler than you ever had as a kid. A brain hat? So cute, right? LATTJO games collection, starting at $2, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
This iconic little stool can be found in most homes and daycares, and for good reason—it’s grippy and the perfect little boost to reach the bathroom sink. It’s also the ideal height for newly trained toddlers to reach the potty on their own. FÖRSIKTIG stool, $5, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Storage is key when you have kids. This bed’s big drawers underneath look cool and hold so much stuff. Style it like a daybed and keep it in the playroom—it’s a terrific space-saver. FLAXA bed frame, $170, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
No matter how often you purge, toys and clutter just keep coming. Face it: You need a storage system. These units are at a great level for kids and you can sort all the toys into colour-coded bins, so when they dump them all out 30 seconds later, just give up, scoop and toss them back in—no lids to fiddle with. Now you just need to learn the “tidy up time song” (ask your daycare provider). TROFAST, starting at $40, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Chairs with minimal seams are easier to clean. This one also offers clean lines and is friendly to adult design sensibilities. Available in green and white, it’s a great option when transitioning your little monkey out of the high chair. The only downside is you can’t strap them in anymore—they are free! URBAN junior chair $50, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
The storm of food and paint will be no match for this full-body smock. Maybe you need one for yourself, too. Being a parent is messy business. KLADDIG bib, $5, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Safety first! In this collection you’ll find plug covers, an alligator bathmat and finger guards for the door. Hot tip for the bathmat: Dry it out often or you’ll find a moldy surprise lurking underneath. PATRULL safety products, starting at $4, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
While these towels aren’t meant specifically for kids, they’ll find a special place in your heart. They wash really well and have a perfectly nubby texture, which is so absorbent. They even have a little hook sewn in for you to hang to dry. Please, do yourself a favour and get the oversize bath sheet. You can hide from the world, even just for a minute. FRÄJEN towels, starting at $2, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
This bag is your new best friend. From laundry, sleepovers, groceries and camping to a 30-minute outing where you need to bring everything just in case, this big blue bag has your back. Bonus: It wipes clean and stores easily. Buy one on every trip to IKEA. #worthit FRAKTA shopping bag, $1, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
Prepare to be amazed by the quality of these cheapie art supplies. They come in a slew of vibrant colours and there’s so much to choose from. Keep the roll of craft paper with holder handy so little Picassos can create works of art. Tip: You can also use it to wrap gifts. MÅLA craft supplies, starting at $3, ikea.caPhoto: Ikea
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