The 14 Things I Use Every Day Now That I Have a 2-Year-Old

published Jan 26, 2023
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4 products essential for toddlers on colorful background
Credit: bedrail and faucet extender: Munchkin, melamine cup: Rice by Rice, potty: BabyBjörn

As a parent to two kids — a six-year-old and a two-year-old — I’ve already been through the toddler years once with my oldest child, and I’m happy to say I am much more prepared this time around. With my oldest child, we had stockpiled all the necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) baby accouterments, but were wholly unprepared for all the additional things we’d need when they became a busy, bustling toddler!

This time around, I know better and have prepared an arsenal of must-have, around-the-house products to make our home more accessible and enjoyable to our youngest, an independent explorer who’s ready to do stuff on her own but lacks the coordination or height required to do so. Some things are new finds. Others are standbys or upgrades to old favorites. All are tried, tested, and approved by a newly minted two-year-old. 

A kitchen helper

Who loves to get involved more than a well-meaning toddler? Have them mix, pour, and taste-test with a kitchen helper step stool. Our oldest used a turned around dining chair, so this felt like a significant (and safer) upgrade.

Step stools

We stocked up on these no-frills IKEA versions to station in every bathroom. 

Faucet extenders

These little guys encourage independent hand washing, tooth-brushing and cup-filling. I didn’t know faucet extenders existed until I recently saw them at a friend’s place and now I don’t know how I lived without them. They go hand in hand with the step stools, IMO, and are a savior for sore backs. Say good-bye to lifting your kid up to the sink.

Melamine cups

I’m obsessed with these colorful melamine cups by Denmark-based Rice by Rice, also available in a pretty array of solid colors. They’re durable and easy for little hands to grip, making them perfect for someone new to drinking from a cup sans sippy. They’re also fun for grown-up drinks, too. 

Baskets and bins for toy storage

Having a toddler means more toys with, often, more parts and pieces. While you may have only had one or two baskets or bins for your baby, you’ll need more robust storage options for when toys start to take over.

A potty

You probably don’t need a reminder that the toddler years = potty learning. While it may not sound the most visually appealing, having a few potties scattered around your home during potty learning time will make your life much easier. While my two-year-old isn’t quite there yet, she’ll often have her baby doll use it, which I count as a win.

A play kitchen

Honestly, the IKEA version is a ride-or-die toy for the one-and-up crowd and much better looking than its plastic counterparts. Ours has held up to two wild kids and countless imaginary dinner parties. 

My toddler-ready cleaning arsenal

Having Magic Erasers, a handheld vacuum, and a great spot cleaner on-hand makes toddler messes much more manageable. (In fact, the handheld vacuum is one of my favorite gifts to give to new parents.) The MVP in my home is the iRobot Roomba vacuum, which we bought on impulse when a friend told me her genius trick. She puts the Roomba to work when she and her spouse are putting their kids to bed. By the time they’re ready to chill out, the floors are crumb free. I eagerly copied and am not looking back. 

Bed rails

Ready to say good-bye to their crib but not quite ready for a big kid bed, roly-poly toddlers do well with a bed rail. We bought this well-reviewed version the day after our oldest rolled out of her toddler bed and will use it again when we transition our youngest out of her crib.

A toddler pillow

Sleeping with a pillow is more of a preference thing for toddlers, but both my kids were thrilled to start using one around two years old. This bestseller is flat, firm, and hypoallergenic. 

A play mat

Stylishly delineate their play area with a mat that’s sturdy and spongy for toddler antics. We went with a patterned play mat, which offers cool factor and support for off-kilter somersaults in the kids’ playroom and may be one of the most asked-about items when I post photos of my home. 

More Toddler Tips from Cubby

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