What must-haves do you rely on in your daily life as a parent? I have a few that I absolutely could not live without. Nearly all of these have outlasted competitors/alternatives I’ve tested, too.
01 // NAME STICKERS. Against all odds, these actually stay on waterbottles, snack cups, tupperware, etc, in spite of many washings. The patterns are really cute, too! I attach these to everything I send to school or to the playground with my children, and also find them handy for things like labeling homework / labeling baggies that carry projects / etc.
02 // OIL-INFUSED WET BRUSHES. These are SUCH good detangling and styling brushes. The bristles really grip and detangle hair — critical for me, as my daughter has a lot of it. Funnily enough, I also splurged and bought her a Mason Pearson’s children’s brush, which she’ll have forever and I do not regret (I use mine daily — they are so good at distributing shine and giving you a lustrous look), but our nanny insists the wet brush is better for her hair at the moment, and I kind of agree? It just grips her hair better. We have one in multiple stations of the house: downstairs in a cupboard near where I tie her hair in the morning, in the bathroom for post-bath/shower detangling, and in her bedroom.
03. // BEABA CLIP CONTAINERS. For so much more than just baby food. These are the ideal size for packing little bundles of grapes, cut fruit, trail mix, crackers, etc, and I pack their school snacks in these all the time. They clip together conveniently, so sometimes I’ll pack cottage cheese or yogurt in one and then cut fruit or crackers in the other and clip them together for snack time. Also love these for saving small collections of mise en place or cut limes or other ingredients we cook with — a really tiny, perfect size.
04. // CALIFORNIA BABY DETANGLING SPRAY. A holy grail product — it really helps with snarls and knots, to which my full-head-of-hair daughter is prone.
05. // REPLAY DIVIDED PLATES. These highly durable plates hold up wonderfully to infinite washings, are unbreakable/unscratchable, and come in fantastic colors. They also have a great depth to them — you can put soupy/syrupy/yogurt-like puddles of food in them without spilling. It’s also a great mnemonic/invitation as a parent to put a vegetable, a fruit, and an entree on every plate at every meal.
06 // WELLY BRAVERY BANDAGES. Stop using bandaids immediately — these are not only fun for the kids to apply (the BEST patterns) but they really adhere to squirmy bodies and even stay on in the bath! Bonus: the tins are reusable and my children love to keep little toys and keepsakes in them.
07. // TOM’S TOOTHPASTE. The only flavor toothpaste my children will tolerate.
08. // JARLINK ZIPPER POUCHES. Total life savers. We use to group small sets of toys together, decant puzzles/games, hold different sets of art supplies (e.g., pastels in one, tempura sticks in another, scented markers in another, etc). The children’s closets and toy bins are full of these. Makes it so much easier to find what you’re looking for and keep component parts together.
09. // MUNCHKIN SPLASH PLATES. These are billed as plates but we use them more as trays for various things — sorting legos, holding an apple while sitting on the couch, corraling crayons. They’re fantastic when kids are sick and eating in bed because the lip is so high (unlikely to spill crackers/fruit everywhere). We’ve nearly aged out of snack catchers now, but I also think the cheap Munchkin snack catchers are the best on the market. I love that you can remove the lid for easy cleaning and easy filling. So many competitors had lids that wouldn’t come off and you’d be reaching your hand inside to bestow the goldfish and it’d get snagged in the catcher part. Just not pleasant. Also, they don’t spill as easily as others but the kids seem to find them easy enough to get into/out of.
10. // ACTIVITY TRAYS. We use these for all of our sensory play and art/craft projects. It’s so nice to have a delimited workspace for the children whether they’re working on valentines or painting or playing with play doh. These are easy to wipe clean/rinse out and have a perfect size.
11. // OXO WIPES DISPENSER. We are out of diapers and pull-ups but all be damned if I don’t need wipes every other hour as a mom to a 3.5 and 6 year old. Sticky syrup fingers! Chocolate milk mustaches! Paint-smudged fingers! We still have wipes at the ready in multiple stations in our home. I still swear by the weighted OXO dispenser. You can open and grab JUST ONE (not an accordion or a stack of fifty) wipe with only one hand, and — let’s be honest — it’s rare you aren’t reaching for a wipe with only one hand. We’re also still using these travel dispensers when we’re on the go — I ALWAYS carry it in my purse. I really love that you can refill both the home dispenser and the travel ones with bulk packs of wipes.
12 // DRYBAR FLEXIBLE HOLD HAIRSPRAY. The only way to keep flyaways and cowlicks under control in these parts. I love that hair stays put but isn’t crispy, and the scent is dreamy. I will say, though, that my son’s hair is particularly recalcitrant and I just ordered this hair styling balm/pomade for him on the recommendation of another boy mom.
P.S. The treasure of remembering our little ones as babies.
P.P.P.S. Go-to gifts for little children.