Author Topic: How do I accomodate a toddler?  (Read 3013 times)

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lellah

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How do I accomodate a toddler?
« on: September 25, 2013, 01:36:04 PM »
My fiancé and I are having a colleague and her husband and two-year-old daughter over for supper.  They're new in town, and we want to do what I can to feel at home in our sometimes-insular community.  We've done our due-diligence as far as moving all the breakables and the enticing household poisons out of the reach of little hands and so on.  I've planned a kid-friendly menu and double-checked for food allergies.  I have milk. I have apple juice. 

But I do not own a single unbreakable plate or cup or bowl.  Or a sippy cup.  Or a booster seat.  What's my responsibility, hostwise?  Will paper plates, a sports bottle, and a phonebook cut it?  Should I pick up a cute plate and cup before they come over?  Do people with kids bring things like this when they go a-visiting?  My knowledge of toddlers is mostly based on having once been one. 

shygirl

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 01:43:31 PM »
I always bring food and dishes and sippy cup when I go places with my toddler.  I wouldn't expect people to provide those things if I'm coming over with my kid.

z_squared82

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 01:44:51 PM »
The only piece of dinner ware that actually has to be unbreakable is the cup. The child is not, if they are behaved, going to be moving the plate around. I would not go out and buy anything unless you intend to host them on a regular basis. Use a regular or paper plate, plastic utensils (not as heavy for those little hands), and make the couple aware you don’t have any child-friendly cups or a booster seat. The new parents I know are not put out at having to provide their own baby stuff.

esposita

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 02:26:04 PM »
Parents normally bring their own stuff, but a friendly reminder would probably be sweet. Definitely call them up and say "I can't wait for our dinner, I'm really looking forward to it! I just wanted to touch bases to let you know that I don't really have any kid-proof dishes or a child's seat, is that going to be a problem?" To which she will graciously reply "Oh no, not at all, I always bring baby's stuff anyway. Thanks for letting me know about the chair though, that reminded me that I'll need to pull the travel seat out of the closet."

A 2 year old is still figuring out how things work at the table, and depending on her parent's taste in dishes, might not be used to eating with a plate that isn't suctioned to her high chair, so knocking a plate off the table is, in my opinion, something that can happen to the best behaved of 2 year olds. :)

Luci

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 03:20:58 PM »
I have always had a couple of toys for kids that age. A 4 piece puzzle, a drag toy, a cardboard book, and paper and large crayons. You never know! But the mom does. If the child falls in love with something, I let him take it home. Otherwise, I just sterilize it and wait for the next kid.

As far as dinnerware, you can manage. I always have had a sippy cup and Cheerios around, just in case. I grew up on phone books and towels, but it seems most parents bring their own dining chair friendly booster now. Great!

For the food, a few kid friendly foods are good: plain chicken nuggets, crackers from the baby section, but any child that age should be able to handle adult food that the parent can rinse off and cut into chunks. Offer fruit that you have around, if needed, and let the parent serve it. For example, some kids need grapes cut in half, some are fine with a whole grape. For bananas, some want quarter slices, some a whole slice 1/4 in thick!

You seem to have done a great job of toddler-proofing the home and are aware of the unforeseen dangers. Mom should be, too.

Lots of plastic bags and spray cleaners are your friend, too.  ::)  Not saying anything in particular here......Most of us have that on hand anyway.

lellah

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 03:36:42 PM »
I have always had a couple of toys for kids that age. A 4 piece puzzle, a drag toy, a cardboard book, and paper and large crayons. You never know! But the mom does. If the child falls in love with something, I let him take it home. Otherwise, I just sterilize it and wait for the next kid.

As far as dinnerware, you can manage. I always have had a sippy cup and Cheerios around, just in case. I grew up on phone books and towels, but it seems most parents bring their own dining chair friendly booster now. Great!

For the food, a few kid friendly foods are good: plain chicken nuggets, crackers from the baby section, but any child that age should be able to handle adult food that the parent can rinse off and cut into chunks. Offer fruit that you have around, if needed, and let the parent serve it. For example, some kids need grapes cut in half, some are fine with a whole grape. For bananas, some want quarter slices, some a whole slice 1/4 in thick!

I'm proooobably not buying a bunch of toys for a kid I've never met while she's at my house for an hour and a half for a weekday supper.  And I've got the menu set: crackers and crudité with hummus, mac and cheese with and without grownup mix-ins, lightly steamed green beans, a nice green salad, and a big vegan banana cake. 

  They're new in town, and we want to do what I can to *** feel at home in our sometimes-insular community.

**to MAKE THEM feel at home**  Jeepers. I'm literate. I swear.

rose red

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 03:53:11 PM »
I'm proooobably not buying a bunch of toys for a kid I've never met while she's at my house for an hour and a half for a weekday supper.  And I've got the menu set: crackers and crudité with hummus, mac and cheese with and without grownup mix-ins, lightly steamed green beans, a nice green salad, and a big vegan banana cake. 

I wouldn't be surprised the the child happily eats everything.  I'm Chinese and our food can be pretty.....adventurous.  The children in our family eat what grown ups eat, and I assume I also loved the food when I was a kid.  Actually, the last time we had a big get-together, I watched a two year old (close to three) put away more than any of us.  It was so cute, but I have no idea where the little itty bitty thing put it all :o ;D

mechtilde

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 04:03:03 PM »
Paper plates are fine- and I sometimes found that my children found sports bottles easier to handle than sippy cups. I've no experience with using phone books as booster seats though.
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EllenS

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 05:50:24 PM »
It really depends on the age/stage and on the individual toddler.  Some 2 year olds manage just fine in a regular chair, or on a phone book - others sit on Mom's lap.   My kids were eating off china plates and using regular cups before they turned 1 (it actually stopped them throwing their plates on the floor). 

One thing you could do, is use a coffee table with a little stepstool to create a children's seat, or ask them to bring a little chair to pull up to your coffee table.  My toddlers/preschoolers and their little friends absolutely LOVED doing this from about 18 months on. Best bet is to call and ask the parents if there's anything they need.

#1 thing I would focus on is not the table or meal, but making sure the toddler has room to toddle without it turning into a destructive/dangerous rampage.  Lamp cords/window blinds? Yummy dust bunnies under the sofa/end table? Potted plants? If they have a place where the answer is "yes you can" about 80% of the time, they will be thrilled.

Don't buy toys, but a basket of touchable/playable items to explore will help keep a toddler occupied.  Nifty textured textile items (pillow or potholder), wooden spoons or spatulas, mixing bowl or colander, plastic or metal measuring cups, dead cellphone, knitted hats, old sunglasses, any sort of empty tin/box like an oatmeal box that has a lid. A box of crayons is a dollar or so - that plus paper is always a hit.  You can find all kinds of lists like this online.  My dd1 would amuse herself for the longest time with stuff like this.

MrsJWine

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 06:11:02 PM »
Duct tape and a fire hose.

Just kidding. I wouldn't worry much about dishware, sippy cup, or booster seat. We usually brought at least a cup and booster with us, and it had a tray for food. I might tell them you don't have a booster seat ahead of time, but only as a reminder; they probably don't assume you have one. Otherwise, unless they're super weird, I doubt they'd be bothered by paper and plasticware. My kids ate off our regular plates from the get-go without much trouble, but when it's other people's stuff that might get broken, it's still a little nerve-wracking. I would take the paper plate over a breakable one.


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shygirl

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 06:13:03 PM »
I have always had a couple of toys for kids that age. A 4 piece puzzle, a drag toy, a cardboard book, and paper and large crayons. You never know! But the mom does. If the child falls in love with something, I let him take it home. Otherwise, I just sterilize it and wait for the next kid.

As far as dinnerware, you can manage. I always have had a sippy cup and Cheerios around, just in case. I grew up on phone books and towels, but it seems most parents bring their own dining chair friendly booster now. Great!

For the food, a few kid friendly foods are good: plain chicken nuggets, crackers from the baby section, but any child that age should be able to handle adult food that the parent can rinse off and cut into chunks. Offer fruit that you have around, if needed, and let the parent serve it. For example, some kids need grapes cut in half, some are fine with a whole grape. For bananas, some want quarter slices, some a whole slice 1/4 in thick!

I'm proooobably not buying a bunch of toys for a kid I've never met while she's at my house for an hour and a half for a weekday supper.  And I've got the menu set: crackers and crudité with hummus, mac and cheese with and without grownup mix-ins, lightly steamed green beans, a nice green salad, and a big vegan banana cake. 

  They're new in town, and we want to do what I can to *** feel at home in our sometimes-insular community.

**to MAKE THEM feel at home**  Jeepers. I'm literate. I swear.

Before I had a child, I wouldn't have bought any toys in this situation either.  I find that most parents bring stuff to keep their children occupied, and food for them to eat, and the appropriate cups/utensils/dishes to eat the food.  Especially when going to a new person's house.  I think your menu sounds good though!

Would you mind if the toddler sat on the floor and mom or dad fed her on the floor?  That's what we do at other people's houses, because we wouldn't expect other people to have booster chairs around, or if they do have them around it's because the hosts have kids of their own who need it.  My kid wouldn't sit still enough on a regular chair, so we would sit on the floor and eat.


that_one_girl

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2013, 06:19:44 PM »
My parents saved the dishes I used as a toddler and I still keep them around in case I have guests whose kids need special dishes.

Promise

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2013, 06:28:59 PM »
It wouldn't cost much to go to a thrift store for childware. I'm sure they have sippy cups and divided plates at the Salvation Army. Most toddlers can drink out of a small plastic cup without the sippy part. I think it would be fine to let the parents know that you don't have a booster seat and could they bring theirs. Most parents will bring toys, but again, go to a thrift store or garage sale and pick up a few toddler toys on the cheap. I will tell you that their favorite things are things you already have or can get for free: plastic bowls of different sizes, empty boxes of different sizes, taped cereal and other boxes. Your only cost will be time washing the bowls or throwing the boxes into the recycling bin.

Luci

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2013, 06:52:57 PM »
I have always had a couple of toys for kids that age. A 4 piece puzzle, a drag toy, a cardboard book, and paper and large crayons. You never know! But the mom does. If the child falls in love with something, I let him take it home. Otherwise, I just sterilize it and wait for the next kid.

As far as dinnerware, you can manage. I always have had a sippy cup and Cheerios around, just in case. I grew up on phone books and towels, but it seems most parents bring their own dining chair friendly booster now. Great!

For the food, a few kid friendly foods are good: plain chicken nuggets, crackers from the baby section, but any child that age should be able to handle adult food that the parent can rinse off and cut into chunks. Offer fruit that you have around, if needed, and let the parent serve it. For example, some kids need grapes cut in half, some are fine with a whole grape. For bananas, some want quarter slices, some a whole slice 1/4 in thick!

I'm proooobably not buying a bunch of toys for a kid I've never met while she's at my house for an hour and a half for a weekday supper.  And I've got the menu set: crackers and crudité with hummus, mac and cheese with and without grownup mix-ins, lightly steamed green beans, a nice green salad, and a big vegan banana cake. 

  They're new in town, and we want to do what I can to *** feel at home in our sometimes-insular community.

**to MAKE THEM feel at home**  Jeepers. I'm literate. I swear.

Before I had a child, I wouldn't have bought any toys in this situation either.  I find that most parents bring stuff to keep their children occupied, and food for them to eat, and the appropriate cups/utensils/dishes to eat the food.  Especially when going to a new person's house.  I think your menu sounds good though!

Would you mind if the toddler sat on the floor and mom or dad fed her on the floor?  That's what we do at other people's houses, because we wouldn't expect other people to have booster chairs around, or if they do have them around it's because the hosts have kids of their own who need it.  My kid wouldn't sit still enough on a regular chair, so we would sit on the floor and eat.

The reason I suggested a couple of new toys is to keep the child interested. It's not that hard to get the things I mentioned, and they are reusable. I have stuff 40 years old and used by lots of kids, but never fell in love with.

If you frequently have young children over, it's nice for them to have unfamiliar stuff.

There are so many wonderful suggestions here and the reminders that you don't have to overthink this.

Good luck.

jpcher

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Re: How do I accomodate a toddler?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2013, 07:59:53 PM »
Will paper plates, a sports bottle, and a phonebook cut it?  Should I pick up a cute plate and cup before they come over?  Do people with kids bring things like this when they go a-visiting?  My knowledge of toddlers is mostly based on having once been one.

Paper plates are perfectly fine, along with plastic fork and spoon.

Sports bottle might be a bit on the large size for little hands, choose your smallest one and bring it out if need be. If the child needs a sippy cup, I bet the parents will bring one. If the child is drinking out of a regular cup? A small juice glass or tumbler will work.

Phone book or two? will work as a booster, so long as the child isn't overly squirmy. If it comes to this, think about tightly wrapping the books in a towel. That makes the books a bit more comfortable plus keeps them together.

If, by chance, you have something like this (I can't live without mine ;)):

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.labelmaster.com/images/products/400x400/KSTPL201936.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.labelmaster.com/shop/facility-mgmt-/ladders-and-stools/folding-step-stools&h=400&w=400&sz=22&tbnid=DAvgpyxQtaN0XM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=90&zoom=1&usg=__tUYXqhz3j_Dc4tgqcKrsTilus4Q=&docid=zExQAEKBpgF5zM&sa=X&ei=unBDUvi7G8SkqwHm7IHYDw&ved=0CHAQ9QEwBw

It works great for an emergency toddler chair. The top step is higher than a normal chair but still fits nicely under the table.



I'm with the other posters, you probably won't have to be worried about the above if the parents are responsible.

Kudos to you, lellah! You've done your due diligence and are already an awesome hostess for thinking about the comfort and "what-if's" of your guests.  ;D


Good Luck! I hope it all works out well for you.




P.S. What Luci45 said . . . absolutely no need to buy a bunch of toys for one kid, but something to think about for future entertaining. A simple coloring book and small box of crayons. Colorful plastic plates & small cups. These things are all available at the Dollar Store. Cheap and easily stored for "just in case" occasions like this . . . just a thought.