guest post: toddler friendly dinner party

Today's guest post is from Renee Marchol, a former library toddler-time storyteller, certified child CPR volunteer and classroom teacher. She also blogs over at Smarty Girl Home. Her husband Nikolas is a children’s toy marketer. They live in Los Angeles with their silver cat Cleo. Their hobbies include hospitality, beach frisbee and volunteering at the local food bank.

Are you a Dual Income No Kids (DINK) couple hosting your first toddler-friendly dinner party at your apartment?

Use these 5 tips and tricks to childproof your home and select home decor that will please both parents and 18 month to 3-year-olds. The style of your home does not have to change radically to accommodate junior dinner guests. Just a few low-key modifications work well from Country French to Craftsman homes.

Even if you haven’t been to a toddler storytime featuring Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar since your own childhood, you can be a hit with kids with your child-considerate home furnishings.
1. Take a peek at Good Housekeeping product reviews for childproofing products for your home such as doorknob covers to prevent toddlers from letting themselves onto your fifth floor patio unsupervised.
2. Stow away all no-touch items such as breakable home accessories, choking hazards and decorative peeling paint Shabby Chic framed mirrors within toddler-reach. Instead set out coffee tables with rounded or padded corners. Use an easy trick,  suggested on Ask Doctor Sears and other parenting sites. such as using a paper towel roll to determine if knick knacks are large enough not to be swallowed by toddlers.

3. Avoid serving slippery foods such as whole grapes or lychees on your menu. Offer low-fat, vegan and diabetic options to all your guests. Make raw veggies and other healthful foods as attractive as dessert shot glasses for adults.

Adopt all the usual food safety rules about keeping cold foods under 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent food poisoning. Label all allergens, for parent dinner guests, such as dishes that contain eggs, wheat, soy or dairy.

Of course, your menu can include alcoholic beverages for adults. However, keep hot drinks for adult guests out of toddler-reach as recommended by Doctor Sears.

If you have tapas for adults, you can still delight your junior guests. Borrow easy party food ideas such as Kawaii Bento Boxes since shaping finger foods into teddy bear faces has become a food trend on Pinterest. For instance, the blog Another Lunch suggests good ideas.
4.Borrow ideas from vegan parenting and cooking sites such as black bean brownies for dessert for allergen-free dining.

Parents magazine and Babble have 5-minute tips on toddler milestones so you know what to expect at your dinner party. Will the junior guests be using the wall or furniture to steady himself/herself? Will she need room to run? Will the toddler be curious about opening dishwashers, drawers and cabinets?

5. Visit Parents.com for 10 Surprising Safety Hazards and avoid pre-filling your dishwasher with soap. Use child safe locks on your cabinets. Take a tip from HGTV and secure your bookcases with brackets to avoid toddler pull-down.

Lastly, get down on the floor at toddler crawling level and remove all stray cat and dog toys that may have rolled into tight spaces that might be discovered by junior guests.

What tips do you have for a kid-friendly dinner party?

1 comment:

  1. Very useful article; I particularly liked the idea about labeling foods to alert parents of any potential risks.


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