Family

Toddler Gift Ideas

It’s the *best* feeling … watching them tear through the wrapping paper … their happy little squeals and wonderstruck faces. Years later, you look back and remember those moments even if you can’t remember the gifts themselves.

But my favorite gifts are the ones that create memories. The ones that inspire them, make them laugh, or teach them something brand new. (Bonus points if they don’t make noise + keep them busy for more than 5 minutes!)

Now that Luna is 2.5 years old, I’m focusing on imaginative and creative play. This list includes a few things we already own - and love! - and a few that are on this year’s list:

Teepee

Create a cozy reading nook or a fun place to hide with a canvas teepee. We strung ours with a strand of white lights!

Balance Bike

We skipped the tricycle and went straight for a balance bike - it’s just like a regular bike but without the wheels! They’re lightweight and adjustable - perfect for toddlers!

Kitchen Set

Luna has wooden food, little pots and pans, and even a shopping cart!

We get a lot of compliments on ours - it’s super subtle and coordinates with our living room!

Pretend Play Clothes

XX her imagination

Imaginative play is even better with a doctor’s coat, astronaut’s suit, or a chef’s hat! I’m planning to hang the clothes on wall hooks with hats, boots, and other accessories below in bins. (<— Stay tuned for pictures!)

Craft Supplies

Stick with the basics like washable markers, glue sticks, and colored paper OR get creative with fun stickers and stencils!

Magic Tricks

Even the simplest magic tricks make Luna laugh - so this bag of tricks in on our list this year!

Little Passports

It’s a monthly subscription for early explorers! Each box contains age-appropriate toys, stickers, and other fun things to help your toddler learn about new world themes like music, dinosaurs, and oceans. This one actually came highly recommended by a nanny friend!

A Fun Experience

A month of gymnastics classes, a pass to a kid’s museum, or a hand-made ticket for a day with the grandparents. You can even pair a gift with the experience … like a little leotard to wear to gymnastics class!

How We Prepared for Baby #2

I actually wrote this post *months* ago but forgot to post it! But looking back, all of the ways we prepared for Stella’s arrival were super helpful. Not that it was a perfect transition - Luna wasn’t quite ready to be a big sister - but it was mostly way easier than expected! So now I’m sharing all the ways we actually prepared for baby #2 plus a few things we should have done (but didn’t, ugh).

Okay, here goes:


I thought it would be easy preparing for another baby … I mean, been there done that, right?!  But somehow we have even MORE to do this time around.  How is that possible?!

Lists are pretty much the only way I stay organized these days, so here are all the ways we’re preparing for baby #2:

#1 - DO AN INVENTORY OF ALL OUR BABY THINGS

We kept most of our baby items from the first time around …. but now we have to sort through them all!  Do we have enough newborn socks and mittens?  Soft washcloths?  Where's the infant tub we used when Luna was born?  Now is the time to figure out what we already have and what we still need to stock up on (gas drops, anyone?!). 

#2 - THROW A SHOWER/SPRINKLE (OR NOT!)

Some people think you should only have a baby shower for your firstborn. But if a loved one offers to throw a shower or "sprinkle" the second time around, accept the offer and enjoy!  Every baby deserves to be celebrated - plus there's a still a LOT to buy (or replace) even if you already have most of the big ticket items.

#3 - SET UP BABY'S SPACE

Time for washing and folding and organizing all those clothes, diapers, and miscellaneous items your baby needs (again).  I'm still torn on where to put everything - Luna's dresser is perfect for newborns (it has a spot for a changing pad on top) but it also still feels like hers! 

Another thing on our list?  Pulling out our infant car seat.  I plan to put the baby in the middle but we'll have to see what works best with Luna's seat!

#4 - PREP YOUR FIRSTBORN

A new baby is a big transition for everyone - including your toddler!  Let her know that some changes are coming.  Show her how to dress and burp and change diapers using a baby doll.  Make it exciting - You're getting a little brother or sister to play with!   We've also been reading books about becoming a big sister - this one is Luna's favorite! 

Now is also the time to consider sleep training, potty training, breaking the bottle/pacifier habit, etc if needed.  Keep in mind that some littles go through regressions - so try to make any major changes at least a few months before the new baby arrives!

#5 - DECIDE ON SLEEP Arrangements

Maybe this is just us, but part of welcoming a new baby means figuring out where Luna is going to sleep!  Are you going to buy a second crib?  Upgrade to a toddler or twin bed?  Buy a bigger master bed to accommodate family co-sleeping?  Whatever you choose, make the transition before the new baby comes - otherwise your big kid might resent your newborn. 

#6 - PACK YOUR BAGS

Your hospital bag, I mean!  Make sure to include essentials for you and your spouse and stash it by the door for easy access.  And don't forget a list of "Last Minute" items you won't want to forget in the rush - cell phones, chargers, wallets, etc.

Don't forget to pack an overnight bag for your toddler if they'll be staying with a friend or relative during your hospital stay.  Our plan is for Luna to stay at our house (with my mom) - but I'm still packing a bag just in case because you never know!

#7 - ARRANGE FOR A SITTER

Regardless of when you go into labor, you'll need someone to watch your toddler while you're at the hospital.  Choose someone who is familiar and available overnight if needed - and have a backup just in case!  And if your little one struggles with separation anxiety (like mine), here are a few quick tips:

  • Do a trial run with the sitter

  • Have your toddler stay at home (which is more familiar) instead of going to the sitter's house

  • Leave your sitter with a few instructions (including a typical schedule, favorite foods, regular bed/naptime routines, and any other essential info) to keep things normal

  • Make it fun with a little treat or a new toy!

#8 - PLAN A BABYMOON

Newborn life is pretty all-consuming (read: exhausting!).  Now is the time for a getaway with your partner!  It's one thing I wish I'd done the first time around but didn’t.  And it doesn't have to be expensive.  A staycation at a local resort or spa reservations for two is the perfect way to relax - and enjoy some alone time - before baby arrives.  Plus it's a great time for that trial run with the babysitter ;)

For our babymoon, we spent a weekend at The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Raleigh while my mom watched Luna.  So many good things to say about our stay there!

#9 - CHOOSE A NAME

Last but not least!  This one is always hard for us - we didn't decide on Luna's name until after she was born.  But we're keeping a running list of our favorites on the fridge while we figure it out.  And YES we're taking suggestions!!

I think that's it!   We're hoping to have everything done by Week 36 at the latest - but the earlier the better.  We'll see how that goes! (Update: it didn’t go well, we didn’t set up the crib or pack our hospital bag until week 39, ha! Thankfully it all worked out but still!)

How are you preparing for another baby?! 

With love,

Lace