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Everyone wants to give clever, meaningful gifts. But in this busiest of seasons, you may not have the time to research the inherent value of individual presents.

This year, Parent.co has you covered! We’ve searched high and low to find excellent gifts for every age.
These gifts were carefully chosen to meet at least three of the following criteria:
Appearance

It’s clever, useful, or exceptionally well-designed.

Durability

This toy will last long enough to be passed on to another kid.

Quality

The value of this gift is equal to three more ephemeral presents.

Educational value

The toy or game teaches in a fun or imaginative way.

Ethics

Do we feel good about voting for this manufacturer with our dollars?

Joy

The gift is one we would be happy to receive for ourselves or our children.

Gifts For Baby and Toddler

Nuby Bandana Bib

Calling all droolers and teethers! The Nuby Bandana Bib’s soft, absorbent cotton will keep baby dry while offering a textured corner for chewing and massaging sore gums. Recommended for age three months and up, this bib is BPA and phthalate-free.

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Tangiball

The Tangiball from Discovery Toys is an award-winning toy for ages 12 months and up. The ball never goes flat, the smooth nubs add texture, and squeezing it produces a soft whistling noise. Lightly scented with vanilla, this toy engages all the senses. One of these balls lasted through all three of my kids (even the scent!) and was equally enjoyed by each.

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Rainfall Rattle

Babies from nine months to toddler-age will love this musical toy. Roll, shake, or tilt the BPA-free cylinder to see and hear the bright beads cascade gently through eight levels. The sound is soothing, and the toy is durable. The Rainfall Rattle was handed down to my kids, then lasted long enough to be passed on again.

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3 in 1 Sit, Stride & Ride Lion

Kids from six to 36 months will roar in delight at this toy! The mane offers light-up buttons to teach colors and numbers, balls to “feed” the lion, and other interactive toys for sitting kiddos. For those taking steps, kids can hold the push bar and walk while hearing encouraging phrases. The lion’s voice will continue to encourage bigger children who want a ride.

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Gifts For Preschoolers

Goldilocks And The Three Bears Storytime Toys

Read the story, or make up a new one. Either way, this super sweet foam and cardstock play set provides hours of open-ended entertainment that fits neatly on the bookshelf when the fun is done for the day.

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Public Bikes Kids Mini Balance Bike

Perhaps the greatest gift our generation has given the one we’re raising is taking pedals off of two wheel bikes. (Maybe it balances out the polluted oceans. Who knows?! Fingers crossed though!) And this happens to be the most stylish we’ve ever seen.

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Let’s Play School Set

Preschoolers love to teach others. This set helps them play school. Use the pointer, write lessons on the dry erase board, and give out report cards! The 152-piece set includes a bell, hall passes, a map, calendar, and more. Everything fits into pockets and the whole thing folds up neatly for storage. My kids loved this. You provide the dry erase markers.

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Wooden Pizza Party

You can’t ever go wrong with Melissa and Doug products, and this Wooden Pizza Party is no exception. The wood pieces stick together with Velcro for easy “cutting” of slices and toppings are added with Velcro as well. My kids played with this set well past preschool age.

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Architectural Unit Block Set

Take building to the next level with these unique hand scrolled blocks. Made of smooth-sanded natural wood, use the set of 44 pieces to build archways, columns, and more. Stores in its own wooden box.

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Gifts For Kids Ages 5-7

 

The Curiositree: Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature

This is the sort of book you buy because it looks good kicking around your house. And then, as luck (and fantastic design) would have it, the kid you used as an excuse to buy it loves it, too. With simple illustrations reminiscent of Charley Harper, it also serves as fantastic inspiration for budding animal-loving artists.

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Marble Run

This pleasing-to-the-eye engineering toy provides hours of fun because kids will quite honestly never run out of ways to create new tracks. With funnels and power booster and curved rails, this Hape wooden marble run has the competition beat.

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Magna-Tiles 3-D Magnetic Building Tiles

Build with colorful magnetized tiles to create buildings, cars, and more. The 50-piece set has a variety of shapes and colors along with two sets of wheels. Recommended for ages three to nine, but reviewers say that older kids enjoy this toy as well. Check Target.com for larger sets for sharing among multiple children.

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Opinel Le Petit Chef Set – Guard, Knife and Peeler

Because the best way to learn is to do, but the best way to keep all your fingers is to do it safely. This well-crafted chef set is a great gift for foodie youngsters and kids of parents who are tired of being the sous chef.

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Butterfly Pavilion

The Butterfly Pavilion is recommended for ages four and up, but will be enjoyed by the whole family. You receive the pavilion along with a certificate for the butterfly larvae. In about two weeks, the larvae will arrive and the fun begins! My kids raced into the living room every morning to check on our butterflies and loved feeding the insects after they emerged. Butterfly larvae can be reordered to repeat the process.

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CP Toys – Wooden and Steel Child-Sized Real Tools – 15 Pieces – Ages 6+

Kids are only going to stand by with a plastic hammer and styrofoam for so long. This set of real steel and wooden tools will get them started on a lifetime of tinkering and fixing. I mean, think of how much money you’ll save once you’re retired and have a Mr. or Ms. Fixit beholden to your every need?

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Slimeball Dodge Tag

Slimeball Dodge Tag makes for great, active, outdoor play. One player wears a vest with a sticky pad in the center and the other player tries to tag the first player with slimeballs. Recommended for ages six and up, this game makes for sticky, squishy fun without the mess.

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Gifts For Kids Ages 8-10

Jam Online Classes for Kids

Jam is “committed to helping kids build confidence, creativity, and talent that will last their lifetimes.” Your child can take classes led by “mentors” in areas ranging from cooking to engineering.

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Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Can’t wait until this book full of bad asses arrives and I can barely read it aloud to my daughter without choking up. By the way, it’s the most funded book in crowdfunding history. The future is bright.

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Jungle Jumparoo

Holy smokes. This is totally bananas. And while it may result in minor injury, it’s smaller than that trampoline they keep bugging you about.

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Pinbox 3000

Alright, so this is still in a Kickstarter campaign, BUT it’s already met its goal. This customizable cardboard tabletop pinball game system allows for endless possibilities of DIY for a little maker (Bonus: if this gift eventually wears out its welcome, just toss it into the recycling bin.)

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Snap Circuits 300

The Snap Circuits 300 set contains lots of project possibilities. Snap together to color-coded pieces to create electrical circuits. Make a light bulb turn on or a fan twirl. Build an integrated circuit for a digital voice recorder, an FM radio module, analog meter, relay, transformer, a 7-segment LED display – and more! This award-winning set is highly rated by parents, including me.

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PowerUp Powered Paper Boat Conversion Kit

Add power to their homemade origami boat (waterproof paper required) for some fun at the park or even in the bath.

LEGO Creator Vacation Getaway

The LEGO Creator series offers good, old-school building with the ability to use the same set to create three different objects. The Vacation Getaway set is recommended for ages nine to 12 and can become a yacht, summer home, or trailer. It contains two minifigures and accessories for further imaginative play. 

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Laser Maze

The Think Fun Laser Maze game requires mind-bending logic! Kids set up the pieces to solve the maze and are rewarded with a lit-up laser if correct. For ages eight and up, my son enjoyed this game immensely, and it provided hours of fun. Though it’s advertised as a one-person game, he played with friends, and they worked as a team to solve the puzzles.

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Gifts For Tweens

Fugifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera

Tweens love to take pictures, and they want instant gratification. Give both to your tween with the Fujifilm Mini 8 Instant Film Camera. This cutie takes and prints credit card-sized photos with a simple white border. The built-in flash and 800 speed film makes even novice photographers look good!

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Yogibo

Yes, it’s basically a bean bag chair. But it’s the Mercedes of bean bag chairs. And what better set-up to while away hours behind a screen or book than in absolute marshmallow-like comfort? (Besides, they have to leave the house some time. And when they do, that baby is ALL YOURS.)

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Exploding Kittens

You’ve been playing card games with your kids since the days of Go Fish and Old Maid. So you – and they – have earned this. From the genius mind behind the hilarious comic The Oatmeal, Exploding Kittens will be light years more fun than that for the whole family.

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WowWeeLumi Easy-to-Fly Drone with Follow-Me Beacon

A quadricopter drone that is so stable anyone can fly it? Yes, please! Recommended for ages eight and up, this is a great starter drone. You control it with a smart device, and because the drone stabilizes in autopilot, your hands are free to choreograph stunts and play app-based games. It will even follow you when you use the included Follow-Me Beacon. The copter also moves to the beat of music.

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Selfie Mic

Tweens love both singing and selfies, making the Selfie Mic a perfect gift. Described as Karaoke meets Selfie, with this device your tween can sound like a star. The partner app offers over three million licensed songs to choose from as well as voice and video effects to add to the experience.

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Teen

 

Tile Mate “Anything Finder”

Help your teen keep track of those new car keys… and everything else. The small device and companion mobile app will help you keep track of all those stubborn items with pinpoint geolocation accuracy.

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Cotton Elephant Pants

These cotton elephant pants are comfy, casual, and machine-washable. Sold by the fair-trade company Darn Good Yarn, the pants are handmade by entrepreneurial women’s cooperatives in India and Nepal, allowing women in these countries to earn a living wage.

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Aark Collective Watch

This small Austrailian brand focuses on well-designed, quality watches – complete with fancy things like “Swiss and Japanese Quartz movements.” If teens can still read analog clocks these days then maybe yours will find themselves on time now and again.

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Polaroid ZIP Instant Mobile Printer

Teens will love printing photos wirelessly straight from their phones with this battery-operated instant mobile printer. It prints three by five inch photos in full color with a sticky back for instant stickers. Download the app to add text emoticons to snaps before printing.

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Arduino Uno 3 Ultimate Starter Kit Includes Step by Step instruction guide

So that may not look like the most exciting pile of…junk, but if your teen is a STEM nerd then A) they’re going to rule the world one day, and B) they’re going to love this Arduino kit that will allow them to experiment with hundreds of programming projects.

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Settlers of Catan Strategy Board Game

The Settlers of Catan is a strategy board game requiring creativity to gather resources and build settlements. You will need to be flexible and strategic as you navigate the unexpected that comes with each roll of the dice. Recommended for ages 12 and up as well as adults. With 40 great reviews on Target.com, this is the game to get this year! 

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Pocket Projector Micro

This pocket-sized projector connects to smartphones, game consoles, and other devices. It projects up to 50 inches (diagonal) onto just about any surface. Review pictures and watch videos or movies. Reviews on this product are positive, making it a great gift for a teen.

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Gifts For Adults

 

 

Skillshare membership

Skillshare is an e-learning platform with a ton of classes covering a broad range of topics, including cooking, sewing, writing, teaching, technology, photography, business, and crafts. You can purchase gift memberships in three, six, and 12 month packages, which gives the recipient unlimited classes for that time.

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Bellroy Wallet

Tired of wondering when your dude’s giant wallet is finally going to fall through that gaping hole in the butt of his jeans? Yeah, same here. If it’s time for a slim-down, check out Bellroy’s line of sleek wallets and travel accessories. The company began when they realized that the design of conventional wallets was acually more bulk than function.

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5-in-1 Entertainment Center

Give mom or dad the gift of an old-school music experience with a 5-in-1 Entertainment Center. Not only does the vintage-look console feature a turntable for spinning vinyl records, but it also accommodates cassette tapes, CDs, and iPods. This gift will be used for years!

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Artisanal Brewing Collection

Tea drinkers will love this brewing collection kit from Teavana tea. The set contains a Perfectea 16-ounce brewer. Just add hot water and loose leaf tea, then set the brewer on top of a mug, and the tea will drip in. No messy straining of leaves or tea bags. Also comes with a sampler of Teavana teas and rock sugar for a sweet touch.

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goTenna Off-Grid Text & GPS

This small device (sold in pairs) uses your smartphone to send texts & GPS locations even when there’s no cellular coverage or wifi available. While this won’t help you to communicate with your far-flung adventurer if you’re cozied up on the couch, it will help your loved one to stay in touch with other members of their party, or allow your family to stay in touch on the ski slopes.

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Sari Silk Wrap Skirt

Support artisans in India by purchasing a Sari Silk Wrap Skirt. Sold by Darn Good Yarn, each skirt is made by co-ops in India that help women sustain year-round employment. Made from recycled saris, the skirts come in a variety of lengths and patterns.

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Bluetooth Beanie

Give the gift of wireless warmth with the Rib Knit Bluetooth Beanie. Comes in four colors, and the rechargeable battery lasts up to six hours for making calls or listening to music on the built-in microphone. Perfect for adults or teens who are always on the go.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 30, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

walmart-best-baby-carseat

When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

SHOP

Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

SHOP

Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

SHOP

Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

SHOP

Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

SHOP

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

SHOP

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

SHOP

This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Kid's birthday parties can be great: There's lots of playtime for little ones to wear themselves out, the entertainment is free and it's the perfect time to bond with other mamas. But when it comes to gift-giving, everyone's interpretation of these unwritten rules is different which can create unwanted stress.

You know the scene: Some mamas prefer to give handmade gifts, others like buying popular toys and some only contribute to the child's college tuition.

If you haven't already heard, the trending theme for kid's birthday parties is "the fiver" and it takes the guesswork out of gift-giving. Rather than spending $20 on a toy they probably won't play with in a month the hosts ask for a $5 bill. The money is pooled together and can be put towards one big, much more significant gift, instead of many smaller, less meaningful things. The idea is simple, and it turns out, hosting one is similar to throwing a traditional birthday party.

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Here are six ways to throw a seamless (and fun!) fiver party:

1. Don't do it alone

Many moms tend to plan everything for their kids' parties all by themselves. They write down a list of things that they need to do and feel accomplished after checking off every single item. But, when the special day finally comes, moms stress over the details for fear that something might go wrong.

When planning a fiver party, delegate tasks and responsibilities during the planning process. Having a helper or two for the big day cuts down on having to clean up a big mess afterward.

2. Create a distraction-free environment

Though this sounds like a tip for doing homework, it applies to throwing a party, too. If you book a show for 3- or 4-year-olds, it's better to hide all the toys and snacks beforehand so they can sit longer and focus better on the activity you planned. Best of all, with fiver parties, you don't have to worry about designating an area to open a bunch of gifts.

3. Remember that hand painting is better for toddlers

Many children like to get their faces painted for their birthdays or for special events. Though face painting is a popular activity, children who are less than 4 years old will often start moving, fidgeting or crying in the middle of it and turn the beautiful butterfly on their faces into a mess. Because of this, try hand painting for the younger ones.

4. Always keep them busy

Fill your fiver party with activities so that the guests will always have something to do. Maybe this sounds a bit difficult, but you don't necessarily need to book 10 shows for one party. Simply prepare a few easy games (like a treasure hunt, musical chairs and sack race) for them to play beforehand. Keeping the children occupied will make your fiver party fun and memorable.

5. Less is more

A shortlist of guests will keep your little one from feeling overwhelmed by the attention. For toddlers, a party that lasts about an hour and a half is perfect. If they're a bit older, add another hour. Just remember children don't need much to feel happy and loved.

Bonus! Here are two ways to save money while making your kids' fiver party memorable:

1. Host the party at home.

Sure, venues are great, but they can be pricey. Having a party at home is inexpensive and intimate. Also, kids are more likely to interact with each other if the space is smaller.

2. Only serve snacks.

A common way to stay on budget is to invite people between meals and prepare snacks, not a full meal. Most kids are usually so busy playing they'll just graze anyway.

This article was originally published on Partify by Natalie Wong and it has been republished with permission from the author.

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Learn + Play

When your toddler is screaming for milk, a toy or a snack in the middle of the grocery store, it may feel like your world is closing in on you. It might not seem like it in the moment, but tantrums are a normal part of your child's development—it's a child's way of expressing how they feel.

But regardless of why little ones throw fits, it can be tough to navigate. We looked to the parenting threads on Reddit where mamas discuss the ins and outs as well as ups and downs of child-rearing. We were all ears.

Here's the best tantrum advice Reddit mamas swear by:

1. Wait it out

"Tantrums are a toddler's way of venting excess frustration, energy and emotion. Just wait it out and once it's dying down, offer some comfort. After, talk with them and verbalize and validate their emotions."— StayAtHome478936

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2. Don't entertain it

"Do not engage with them at all during a tantrum. It's tempting to try to calm them down and introduce some reason to the situation, but don't give in to that. Screaming is a one-way ticket to being completely ignored. They're allowed to be frustrated and upset, but you're not obligated to listen to it."— VoteyDisciple

3. Give yourself a mommy break

"I give myself mommy time outs if I'm getting frustrated or angry and even though no one is enforcing me, I still get the benefit of calming myself down, and my daughter sees me proactively taking care of my mood/behavior."— ChandrikaMoon

4. Let them explore their world

"If you have patience with misbehavior, you open the door to your child escalating until she has your full attention. I let my toddler explore her world and do anything I deem safe, but I am strict about enforcing safety rules and I do not allow her to misbehave without consequences."— soMuchToFind

5. Focus on the real issue

"Rather than punishing the symptom of the issue, work on the actual issue. For my 4-year-old son we are working on breathing and counting as a coping mechanism for when emotions become too overwhelming. For him, it works well. He responds to most minor and medium emotions by breathing now."— Hiitskai

6. Say 'no' less

"There is a school of thought that if the child reacts terribly every time you say 'no,' say 'no' less. Instead of no cookie you say you can have carrots or cheese now. Always offer one or two good choices when you can and it will head off at least some of the fits."— toasterchild

7. Take away things

"My kid started showing signs of being low-level obsessed with a game so we took it away cold turkey. We explained that the game makes him behave in a way we don't like, so we are going to take a break. Sure he wasn't happy about it, but we are the adults and he is entitled to feel any way he wants to."— greenpotatoes9

8. Offer breaks

"Daycare helped us so much with tantrums. They taught her the phrase 'I need my space.' So, when she has her tantrum, she goes away for a moment, and then comes back in a calmer state of mind. Often, the more we try to help her, the worse it gets."— dave moe dee

9. Play music

"The main thing that almost never fails is listening to music during a tantrum. I'm really into music myself so I guess this is no huge surprise but my girl just cannot cry while Beyonce is playing."— PavLovesDogs

10. Do something unrelated

"As long as the kid isn't actively endangering themselves while throwing the temper tantrum, I completely ignore it. I make a point of going about my business and doing something wholly unrelated to whatever lead up to the tantrum. It didn't take long for my kid to learn that the screaming and fussing won't get them what they want."— PerestroikaPal

11. Compromise

"If you give into a tantrum, find a way to make it seem like you're compromising for some other reason, but not because of the tantrum. I always tell my 3 year old 'You know how to ask. If you want something, use your words, ask nicely."—athaliah

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Learn + Play

When kids enter puberty we warn them about the change. We tell them their bodies are changing and that it's normal and natural and they're beautiful just as they are. But when women become mothers and their bodies—and brains—change, we are not offered the same affirmations and comfort as adolescents. Society tells children to accept the ways their bodies stretch, grow and shift to carry them through adulthood, but it tells the women who carry these children in their own bodies to fight change at all costs.

Luckily, that is changing. Women are standing up and saying what society should have been telling us all along: Yes, motherhood changes your body, but that change is beautiful.

And now, in a brilliant move that is both excellent marketing and empowering, hundreds of women are putting their postpartum bodies on display. The act is a powerful statement to themselves and to other mothers: Our bodies are meant to evolve and change, and you are normal and natural and beautiful just as you are.

Knix is selling underwear, but the brand is also creating real change with a project called The Life After Birth Project, which saw 250 photos of real moms exhibited in an NYC gallery before rolling into Knix's hometown, Toronto, Canada, this week.

The photos are refreshingly real and exactly what women need to see in 2019.

The Life After Birth Project shows the beauty and reality of postpartum healing 

One of the most damaging myths about postpartum recovery is that it is quick. It isn't. It actually takes about six to eight weeks for the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. The bump doesn't instantly disappear because it took 9 months to grow. A mother's body needs time to heal after birth, whether it was a vaginal delivery or a C-section, but too many mothers aren't given that time.

In the United States, so many working moms are back at their job within five weeks of giving birth, and even if paid work isn't a factor, unpaid labor and family obligations can have mothers doing too much too soon.

As Diana Spalding, midwife and Motherly's Digital Education Editor and Birth Expert, has said, "You would never expect someone to clean their house a few days after having surgery, or to run errands when they are getting over the flu—so why do we expect ourselves to snap out of giving birth? Pregnancy and birth are not ailments, but they are the real deal. Be gentle on yourself, and allow your body to heal."

Mothers should not be embarrassed by their changing bodies 

A recent survey found more than a third of women (37%) felt embarrassed by what their body was going through after birth. This is not okay, and it is why we need more projects like the The Life After Birth Project and more companies doing what Knix is doing.

That is why celebrities like Jillian Harris, pictured above, stepped up and shared photos of their own postpartum experiences for the Life After Birth project.

Yes, Jillian is wearing mesh panties and a giant pad in the above photo. But that's part of the journey and nothing to be embarrassed about.

We need to see our stories represented and know that this is normal.

More photos from #LifeAfterBirth

Four pregnancies in four years. This mama has been through so much and has some serious advice: "I wish our always busy culture recognized it more and gave new mothers patience and grace."

So do we Amy, so do we.

See the gallery in person

The Life After Birth Project is currently in Toronto but the next stop is Los Angeles on October 24.

The gallery will keep touring the US, too.

Stops are planned in Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, Denver, Minneapolis. if you want to submit your own photos, tag @lifeafterbirthproject on Instagram and use the hashtag #LifeAfterBirth, or email your photos to lifeafterbirth@knix.com.

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You know that moment when you find yourself standing in line at the grocery store next to the "All-Together Woman"? Come on, you know the one.

She very well may have just stepped out of a magazine centerfold, while you are fairly certain you resemble something more along the lines of a real-life muppet. This woman is flawless. Her makeup is spot-on, her clothes are wrinkle-free. Her toes are manicured and her fingernails look like they never once, in the course of her what-must-be-a-dream-life, scrubbed a single dirty bathtub, poopy toilet or messy kitchen floor.

Okay, seriously, I know you know what I am talking about now.

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But, here's the thing. I don't hate her. I don't even envy her. Because I don't know her. I have no idea what her personal struggles are. I applaud her for her obvious fashion skills and mad makeup abilities. I will probably even tell her I love her hair. Or her shoes. Or her something.

And, for all I know, while I am admiring her trendy jacket and cropped top she very well may be admiring my children and my life. Maybe, just maybe, she thinks my yoga pants paired with a hoodie and clean-ish Converse shoes along with my ridiculously huge diaper bag that seconds as my purse and kitchen fridge on-the-go are totally adorbs!

I will most likely scrounge up the courage to drag myself to a mirror sometime in the next hour or so just to see what exactly I looked like next to this magical being. Chances are I had green and blue fruit loops bits stuck somewhere between my teeth, a messy bun that closely resembled a bird's nest and overly unplucked eyebrows. Chances are also extremely high there was not a lick of makeup to hide my exhausted, sleep-deprived eyelids, either. My breasts will still be saggy and my tummy will still be loose.

Listen, my seasons will change. All too soon my kids will be older and I will have more energy to prep myself before going out in public. I will be more rested and will probably (hopefully) have lost some pre/post-baby weight. I won't be rushed to pick up peanut butter and milk after school drop-off but before nap. Brushing my teeth in the morning will no longer seem like a luxury. I may even become the "All-Together Woman."

But, in this season, today, I am going to tell myself "I am enough."

Because I AM enough.

My babies don't see her, they see ME, their mommy and #1 person. They love me unconditionally. And I am enough.

My husband respects me as his partner and the mother of his children. He tells me I'm beautiful and loves my body, including all of the wreckage and battle scars left behind from eight babies. And I am enough.

My friends see me for who I am. They know I'm clumsy, goofy and imperfect. And they don't even care that I wear Pajama Jeans. And I am enough.

It is easy (entirely too easy) to look at ourselves as the lesser version of our reality. We can be our biggest critics and shamers. Our own worst enemies.

It's so important that we begin teaching our daughters that they are enough. That who they are in the inside will manifest itself into what they are on the outside. Let's teach our girls, together, to claim their beauty, their strengths and their sense-of-self from within. First and always.

Everything on the outside is literally just the surface. It's time, ladies. And I know you can do it. Because you are enough.

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