illustration by Rocio Egio showing speech bubbles with questions asking for kid advice surrounded by kid's toys and objects
Credit: Rocio Egio

The Apartment Therapy #Kidwall Slack Channel Is Full of Insider Parent Recommendations

published Jun 21, 2023
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What do you get when you put a group of opinionated, design-savvy, mostly city-dwelling parents together in a Slack channel? You get Apartment Therapy’s fantastic #kidwall, a private chat group of around 50 parents and Apartment Therapy Media employees (including me!) who are only too happy to opine on everything from toddler meltdowns to travel strollers — all you have to do is ask!

This wealth of insider expertise feels too good to keep to myself, so I’m sharing some of the best tips with you, Cubby readers. I’ve pulled direct quotes from the channel (names withheld), but know they are all legit comments and opinions!

So whether you want to know what scooter to buy a toddler, or you’re looking for glow-in-the-dark stars that won’t fall off the wall, or you need a way to get vomit out of a tufted rug (!), or you just want to know for the love when you’ll get a full night’s sleep again, you may find—if not a foolproof answer—then at least some very good advice, parent to parent.

Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

“I have a few friends who have it and are happy with it! I’m sure it’s a safe seat.”

“This is the model we have and it’s good. My son still uses it (now forward facing). It’s nice and big and comfy. Cup holders are nice. It is heavy/bulky, though, so it’s not super convenient to move it in and out of the car. But it’s otherwise simple, proven, not fancy but good.”

On a good baby camping chair:

“Our great purchase the past 6 months was this baby camping chair with table. Now we can have picnics in the park!”

On the best baby gates

“No specific recommendations but walk-through gates are totally worth the extra expense for high-traffic areas.”

This baby gate is the one we are currently using for our little one.”

On where to buy formal clothes for a 7-month-old boy

Janie and Jack always had cute things for dapper little gents.” 

On the best baby tracking apps

“If anyone is looking for a new (free) baby tracking app, we’ve been really happy with Nara (after an unsuccessful attempt to try and figure out how to add a second kid to BabyTracker).”

Credit: Leela Cyd

On what to buy a 2-year-old

“My son loved these kinds of things.” [i.e. play food sets]

“My boys love these.” [i.e. Magna-Tiles]

On a fun book to give a 3-year-old

“I love the Poke-A-Dot books by Melissa and Doug!”

“[This book about vehicles] is my son’s favorite book, even though he’s a little young for it – a gorgeous interactive book with lots of vehicles.”

This is similar to a book we absolutely love!”

“We have The Lost Cousins and The Lost Picnic and both are beautiful and fun to read.”

“My kids love this interactive book that plays different Mozart snippets and other sound effects on each page.” [editor’s note: It’s out of print, so look for it secondhand!]

On the best scooter for a toddler

“The Micro Kickboard scooter is basically every scooter I’ve seen for little kids. I got a Radio Flyer scooter at first, then immediately regretted it and got a Micro Mini.”

And a second to that recommendation! “Micro scooters are the gold standard.”

Credit: Chantal Lamers

On family vacations

“Last summer my family and I took the kids to a family camp in Maine and it was, by far, the BEST vacation we’ve had as a family. It was so nice because everything was taken care of—most importantly, food and activities. and there were other families there, so the kids made quick friends and were running around all the time. And we were in nature! On a lake! And we were all off technology for a week! The kids actually thanked us for taking them there. Needless to say, we’re planning to go back next year. (Many families return year after year.)”

On traveling by plane with kids

“I just found out that you can put extra stuff in a car seat bag when you check it. We were overweight so we put our extra diapers/wipes and jackets in our daughter’s car seat bag!”

“ [On the carseat check bag trick]: This is my favorite trick, too.”

On a safe way for kids to ride in an Uber or taxi without a car seat

“In case you don’t want to carry it around at your destination, a friend told us about [this RideSafer Travel Vest]. Apparently it’s legal, safe, and folds up compact. Never heard about this before! (Note: my source is a pediatric rehab/pain mgmt doc if that makes a difference!)”

“My son has been using the RideSafer vest for 2 years now! It’s been great. We used to always get Ubers with car seats (which weren’t even real ones, just boosters), and this greatly improved our lives. It’s been a godsend. He wears it to the airport in the car, we put it in the luggage, and bring it out wherever we are. We keep a real car seat for really long road trips, but otherwise, he only uses this. Even better, he can mostly put it on himself, and can definitely take it off.”

On the best travel strollers

“We got the Summer Infant 3D mini stroller for transit/travel. It’s super light and folds really easy.”

“We [also] have the (aptly named) Summer 3D Mini. It’s relatively inexpensive, super light, and folds easily. Only downside is that you have to push with two hands (like any umbrella stroller).”

“People love the Yoyo, but it’s a million dollars [editor’s note: not literally – it’s $449]. They say it’s really worth it, though!”

“My wife and I just bought this Contours Itsy stroller for travel. It folds up pretty easily and it’s compact.”

“We have an older version of the ergobaby Metro and love it. It looks like the handle bar on the new version is adjustable. It’s light, good for flying, and can be folded with one hand (truly – and if I can do it, anyone can).”

On a magic stain cleaning solution

“One of my go-to cleaning solutions is a teaspoon of Tide powder in about a gallon of hot water. Use a sponge or wet rag and it’ll basically clean anything (scuffs off walls, puke-y carseats). I learned it from a popular cleaning Instagram account.”

On cleaning dried vomit off a tufted rug

“We tried this method this morning and it actually worked great.”

“Did you try the Little Green Bissel Machine? I actually got it for my couch because my dog jumps on it after going outside, but I’m amazed every time I use it. The filth that comes out is crazy.”

On helping a toddler calm down

“Every time my toddler is throwing a tantrum, I hand him the harmonica which lets him exhale and not realize that he’s calming down. Haha! Of course, he throws it when he’s really pissed off.”

On dropping your kid off at daycare for the first time

“Have your partner do the drop off and go get a cup of coffee by yourself.”

“Whoever does the drop off, it has to be fast. Don’t linger. It makes it worse.”

“Remember they are child care professionals, and know a ton about how to keep your kiddo happy. Like, so much. They’ve got this.”

On when for the love does a parent start to get a full night’s sleep on a consistent basis? 


“Even when my kids are sleeping fine, I’m still awakened at the slightest imagined sound of a cough (and then awake for the next like 72 hours), so I purchased myself a white noise bluetooth headband and tell myself my children don’t exist from the hours of 8-7. Granted this only works if there’s another breathing adult in the vicinity to deal with an actual emergency.”

“I loved having a white noise machine in our room whenever the babies were sleeping in there.”

“I’’m now totally dependent on a sleep machine too since having the baby in our room for the first few months.”

“I had to bring in outside counsel for my child and it saved my life/marriage/sanity.”

“We were so grateful to our sleep consultant. We kind of felt like idiots, but we were so sleep deprived by that point we just didn’t feel able to make sensible decisions ourselves… and what we were doing was absolutely not working.”

“Oh hell yeah to sleep consultants. Take all my money!”

“We used Baby Sleep Science. Worth every. Damn. Penny.”

On a good resource for picky eaters

On why Bluey is the best kids’ TV show

“How much has Bluey invaded your kids’ vocab? My five year old now regularly says, ‘Oh BISCUITS!’ which is so pleasantly cute, as faux curse words go.”

“It has invaded our playtime so much – they play magic statue, crazy pillow, the doorbell game, etc. – but my son does say ‘crazy pillow’ in what is basically an Australian accent.”

On a soft mat to protect kids when they fall off climbing structures

“Search for ‘kids gym mats’ on Amazon. They’re not cheap, but we got one of the rainbow ones for our daughter, and she has made excellent use of it over the years.”

On good glow-in-the-dark stars

“I got these for my daughter last year and they are really nice. Easy to put up, though you can see the putty through the star, which is the one thing I don’t like about them. So it’s best to use a small ball of putty for each star to minimize visibility. But it’s really magical when we turn out the lights! I love it as much as she does!”

Cubby: Eat. Live. Play. Families Together at Home.

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