When you want to buy something for babies and toddlers, whether it’s for a special occasion or just because, chances are that toys are what immediately come to mind. But you can find lots more than just toys to give babies and toddlers, including gifts that the parents will appreciate, too.
Here are some great alternative options as you search for the perfect item that a baby, toddler, and their parents, will love.
A baby or toddler won’t immediately appreciate a cute new outfit. But years later, when they look back on photos, their parents can remind them that so-and-so bought them that adorable little dress, sweet onesie, or precious knit hat and mittens.
Make sure to buy a size up from the baby’s age since kids grow so quickly in those stages. Also, choose attire that is seasonally appropriate so the child can enjoy it right away and to ensure it will fit when it’s time to wear it. So, no bathing suit in November (unless the family is headed away somewhere tropical on vacation) nor a thick winter jacket in the middle of June.
Items for the Nursery or Bedroom
There are plenty of gifts for babies and toddlers that you can get to spruce up the nursery or a toddler’s bedroom, whether you know what the theme or colour scheme is or not.
Consider a cool night light that can add soft lighting to the room. Some can even projects images of stars on the ceiling to help a young toddler who’s afraid of the dark feel more comfortable getting to sleep. Others double as music players to soothe a baby to sleep with a soft lullaby. These can be fun during play time as well, especially those that project figures like unicorns, shapes, and flowers.
Or, shake things up with a new baby mobile that will excite a child with a new set of colours and figures to help lull them to sleep and mesmerize them with the turning motion and/or sounds and music. Choose from barnyard animals, bunnies, birds, and more. With multiple colours in each, they’re bound to match with any nursery décor.
For toddlers who have graduated to their own “big boy” or “big girl” beds, what better way to help them mark the occasion than with a new sheet set featuring imagery of their favourite theme, animal, or movie or TV show characters? There are sets in single or twin bed sizes featuring images from the movie Frozen, Marvel’s Avengers characters, Minecraft, PJ Masks, Toy Story, Disney’s Moana, and Star Wars; as well as more generic options like princesses and solid colours. You can also grab new fitted sheets for crib mattresses featuring characters like Minnie Mouse and Dumbo and themes like jungle and pirates, or in various eye-catching colour schemes and patterns.
Nursery furniture could also be a nice addition, and there are lots of options in various price ranges, from a new glider or rocking chair to handy storage and organization accessories like a toy bin organizer or box for stowing away stuffed animals, small toys, and other random items. Parents will appreciate it for quick clean-ups, but as they get older, toddlers can participate in clean-up time, too. And these can easily be moved to a playroom or new bedroom and used for years to come for items beyond toys, like books, extra sheet sets, out-of-season clothing, and more.
Something For the Parents
Let’s be honest: when you’re talking about gifts for babies and toddlers, while a cute and cuddly teddy bear or fun toy will bring a smile to their faces, they aren’t going to remember what you got them and when. So why not get a gift that is primarily for the parent, with the focus on helping them care for the baby, of course?
Every parent of a baby will already have a diaper bag, but it’s likely just a basic black unisex messenger-style or backpack that they can take everywhere. Just like with purses, briefcases, backpacks, and wallets, there’s no harm in having more than one. Consider getting the parent a more fashionable diaper bag as a secondary option. Sure, they aren’t going to use it every day, but it might be ideal for day brunches with friends or formal events. Make sure it’s big enough to accommodate enough essentials for a few hours, and that it matches the person’s style. Get one that’s sporty or easily disguised as an oversized purse with room to hold a smartphone, wallet, and keys as well.
A baby monitor is one of the most essential items for new parents. I’d always opt for a video monitor over an audio-only and prefer ones that work on the 2.4GHz frequency versus Wi-Fi for safety, security, and reliability. (Though if there’s a parent who works outside of the home or travels often and will want to tap into footage every now and then, it might be worth opting for a Wi-Fi model from a reputable brand.) Make sure it has pan and tilt capability, night vision, and two-way communication so you can soothe your baby with your voice from the bedroom versus getting up if they are just stirring, or from the kitchen while you prepare their bottle.
Another option worth considering is a baby carrier. While the parents might already have a stroller, they might not have a baby carrier. These can be convenient when the parent could benefit from having their hands free, like to shop for items at the grocery store (and carry the bags home), power walking in the morning, or going somewhere where there are a lot of stairs, like taking the subway. It’s also good if the person has two kids and wants to be able to tend to both but doesn’t have a double stroller.
Look for a four-position carrier so the parent can carry their baby at the front, hip, or back, and facing in or out, and one that offers good lumbar support and adjustable, padded straps.
Safety and Soothing
Items that provide safety and soothing for a baby benefit everyone, including, most importantly, the baby, as well as the parents, caregivers, and others around them.
There’s no scarier feeling for a parent than to find their baby in distress and feeling warm. The first thing you want to do is verify that they don’t (or do) have a fever so you can take immediate action. This is where a thermometer comes in. And while it’s an important tool in any parents’ arsenal, it’s easy to forget to get one until you desperately need it. Even for parents who have one, it doesn’t hurt to have a spare, or one to keep in the diaper bag for outings and one in the medicine cabinet. The latest thermometers work without even coming into contact with any orifice on the child: simply hold it up to the baby’s forehead to get an accurate reading. You can even keep track of a history of symptoms and readings in a companion app.
Baby earmuffs are a thoughtful gift that provides not only warmth for a small baby or toddler’s ears during the cold winter months, but also protection against loud sounds like an outdoor parade, loud neighborhood music, or other settings that could be harmful to a child’s hearing.
Once a toddler starts crawling and walking, it’s time to baby-proof the home! And along with securing doors, buttons, and knobs, parents will also need baby gates that can fit around doorways and staircases to prevent the child from entering a room they shouldn’t or tumbling down the stairs. It’s not exactly the most exciting gift, nor the easiest to wrap! But it’s one that parents will appreciate and will keep their toddler safe and sound.
Teething is a tough time for any baby, and a time when the parents want to make sure they have soothing teethers at their disposal, no matter where they are. You can never have too many, especially if you freeze them first to provide cool refreshing relief. There are cute teething necklaces that would be perfect as gifts.
Gifts for Entertainment
Babies and toddlers can get tons of fun out of gifts that aren’t technically toys.
I don’t know any parent whose baby didn’t (or doesn’t!) love having bouncer, swing, or doorway jumper. They can soothe kids and keep them distracted from the pain of teething or the fact that a parent just ducked out of the room for a second. Chances are they’ll be smiling and giggling while they bounce about, not to mention working those important muscles and getting good exercise.
A cute dish, cup, and utensil set can make the difference between a frustrating meal time for babies and toddlers who have begun eating solids and a super fun time. There are lots of options designed to keep kids entertained with fun colours and imagery but also features that parents will appreciate, like suction bottoms so a plate can’t go flying and spill-proof lids.
A travel-friendly portable play yard can come in handy for years to come, especially for families who take a lot of vacations and/or visit the grandparents or other friends and family often for sleepovers, parties, and other events. Throw it in the trunk, set it up at someone else’s house or in a hotel room with a few clicks, and voila! A baby or toddler has their own safe play area. Some are even comfortable enough for baby to sleep in for short naps or even overnight. It’s a perfect gift to encourage a friend or family member to come visit more often without worrying that their active toddler will run wild around someone else’s home.
Toys are fun and they can sometimes make you the favourite aunt/uncle/friend/whoever-you-might-be to the child. But that is more so the case when the child is older and can remember who gave them what and actually delight in tearing open the wrapping paper themselves.
When it comes to gifts for babies and toddlers, you want to get something that will please not only the child but the parents, too. And there are lots of options to consider beyond the typical toys that come in all price ranges to suit every budget.
Check out a wide selection of baby and toddler gear at Best Buy Online.