Surviving the Toddler Years

toddler years

If you are a parent, you understand that there are many stages during your child’s development that present challenges.  Babies struggle to communicate, and toddlers tend to communicate things that you’d rather them not.  Volume control also seems to be an issue, or is that just my family with the generations of loud females?……….

I have found that you just have to roll with it, giving yourself and your child grace.  There are going to be moments where you wonder and reminisce what it was like before you had children, and there will be times where you do not want to think of your life without them.  I have heard the saying when raising children, that you have long days and short years.  That did not make sense to me until I had a child.  Although some days are long, it is so worth it!  God has blessed me with this wonderful little life that I am responsible for raising and teaching.  Now that I am staying at home, I do even more of the teaching than before.  Children are a gift from God and so precious.  Sometimes it is hard to remember that on those tough days.

Products – Surviving the Toddler Years

J will be four soon and she has been in this toddler stage for what feels like a long time.  She is growing up so fast!  We have found several products and activities that help keep a little person engaged and the parents sane.  I pray that some of these will be a blessing to you and your family as you too struggle through these “threenager” years.

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Books for Toddlers & Parents


God Gave Us Two

This is such a cute book if you are being blessed with another child and would like to prepare your other child(ren) for what is to come.  I love how the book continues to remind the reader that a child is a blessing.

Super Duper Safety School

I have always struggled with teaching my daughter about strangers.  Sometimes, she may have to talk to a stranger, and this book does an awesome job of teaching kids to discern the difference between a “tricky person” and someone who you can trust.  It is written in kid-friendly language with lots of colorful pictures.  We have read the book a few times and J is already catching on, using the tricky person analogy when we see people in public.

With all of the evil in the world, this book is one I would definitely recommend to all parents of littles.  Child abuse rates are staggering and those statistics reflect only what is reported.  I cringe every time I see a child’s picture on the news with information about where they were last seen.  The pornography industry has created a monster in making sex trafficking a solution.  Especially if you have a daughter, teaching her about “tricky people” is an absolute must!  Speaking of sex, that leads me to my next book suggestion.  Now there’s something you probably did not expect to read in a surviving toddler years blog post!

30 Days of Sex Talks

Okay, I know that this topic may be the farthest from your mind right now as you are arguing with your toddler about the difference between dessert and a meal.  Or explaining why we shouldn’t lick the shopping cart.  But, part of being a parent is preparing your child for the real world.  Even the best parent cannot be (nor should they be!) with their child 24/7.

Eventually, your child is going to grow up and before you know it, they will be experiencing life all on their own.  I have always thought it is never to early to start exposing your child to sex education.  No, I am NOT saying a toddler should know what the act of sex is, but I do want J to know the difference between a boy and a girl.  I have been talking to her for years about nature.  Flowers have boy parts and girl parts.  When mommies and daddies love each other, they have babies.  Etc, etc.  This sets the stage for more in-depth conversations later on.

This book does an amazing job of explaining the body’s anatomy, what private means, good touch vs. bad touch, and many more.  I love that it is all there and I do not have to create the conversation.  There are other versions available also that we plan to purchase as J gets older.  I see what the world is teaching my daughter about sex, but I want her to know what it is really about, through the lens of God.

Loving the Little Years

This book has really helped me gain some perspective when it comes to raising little kids.  I love how humble the author is and how relatable the book is while reading.  She shares looking at raising children in a way that pleases God.  The words that I have read in this book continue to give me pause when I am about to lose it with J.  Children are just little versions of adults trying to figure out how to cope and survive in their world.  A great, easy and relatively short read!


Ahhhh.  Bedtime.  The thought of bedtime and nap time can sometimes calm even the most distraught parent, as long as their child is a sound sleeper.  We have been extremely blessed with J and her sleeping habits even when she was a baby.  I love every minute with her, but sometimes it is nice to do something without having to explain it to someone else.  Curious minds are very questioning!  Here are some products that we use to aid our quiet time routines.

OK to Wake Light up Clock 

This clock has a light on it that comes on at a preset time to notify your child when it is okay to wake up.  There is no sound, so it is not like an alarm clock.  If they are still sleeping, it is not going to wake them up.  This saves the morning, “Mommy, is it time to wake up?” exchange.  I am NOT a morning person, so anything that saves aggravation, is a good investment to me!  If you would like a cheaper alternative and already have a spare light, you could use a light timer for the same purpose.  I would just make sure that the bulb is not so bright that it wakes the child up!

Shrunks Travel Bed

We do a fair amount of traveling for vacations and family gatherings.  This air mattress is designed for children.  We decided to get the larger one so J could use it for a longer period of time.  There is a smaller option available.  This is not your typical air mattress.  There are valleys inside of the bed for tucking sheets into and then an outer part slightly raised to prevent rolling off.  It holds air for days and travels well.

Young Living diffuser

One must-have at home and when traveling is our diffuser!  We love and use Young Living essential oils to support our health and wellness.  I use different combinations of oils and blends to help relax J at bedtime and during quiet time – heaven forbid I call it a nap!  Lavender is probably my favorite.  For more information about oils and Young Living, check out this post.

Play Time       stacking toys

Stacking cups by Green Toys 

I love giving J opportunities for independent play.  That is where problem solving and perseverance come from.  These cups are made in the USA and their volume is accurate.  This means at bath time, when you pour the 1 and 2 cup into the 3 cup, everything matches up.  What a great way to introduce adding and subtracting!  The cups can be challenging for little hands to stack because of the way that their grooves are, but I love giving J a challenge.

Sequence game 

Playing games with a toddler can be challenging.  We found this game online and J loves it.  There are pictures, so no reading is required.  It is very simple to play.  The object is to get four chips in a row.  The child has to match up the animal on their card with the animal on the game board.  Sometimes J forgets to discard and draw another card, but she is getting better.  This is a great game to play with littles, three and older.

Puddle Jumper 

The fear of drowning has to get to every parent.  When I was little, there were arm floaties that we used to call swimmys.  These inflatable tubes would fit onto your arms and keep you afloat.  Although, sometimes, you could tip forward and there was always the fear that they would slip off of the child’s arms.  This puddle jumper connects the arm floaties with a piece in the front.  This prevents the child from tipping forward and keeps them well above the water.  We have used it in the pool and at the beach.  J does not mind putting it on and I love the peace of mind that it gives me until she learns how to swim.


Library programs & Books

We have several libraries around us that offer great programs for little kids.  There is story time and crafts, yoga, etc.  One library has an amazing set-up for parents because all of the little books are in a room with age-appropriate toys.  The child can play while the parent selects some books to check out.  In our quest to go even tinier, I plan to utilize the library to extend J’s book collection.  Plus, it gives her an opportunity to interact with other kids.

Garden of Life probiotics

Probiotics are great for the digestive system for anyone.  I like this brand and J loves the flavor.  This goes beyond yogurt and introduces a multitude of good bacteria into the gut.  We try to eat fermented foods and take probiotics often.  This same brand makes probiotics for adults too.  See the version for men and women.

Potty seat

This potty seat was a God-send when we were in the potty training stages.  There are also built-in seats that are part of the toilet lid if you prefer a compact version you do not have to store.  I like the handle on the back for easy lifting and the shape was a great fit for J when she was younger.  Potty training is very challenging.  You have to wait until the child is ready.


I pray that this information was informative and useful.  Toddlers can be very challenging!  These products and ideas have definitely helped us out along the way.  Blessings to you and your family!