Toddler Lunch box Ideas For A Toddler-Sized Challenge

Having worked in a school in the past, it was astonishing to see the difference in the sizes of what the kids brought in for packed lunch. I remember saying at the time that there needs to be some more information giving clear examples of what is a suitable portion size. The parents were getting the healthy message (the majority were at least) but there were a few children who came in with more food than an average adult could eat in one sitting.

I guess I wasn’t alone in thinking that there was a gap in information as the Infant & Toddler Forum launched the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign to help raise awareness of it’s not just what we put on toddlers’ plates it’s also how much last year.

I not alone in thinking that there should be a clearer message that it's not just what we put in a toddlers’ lunch box it’s also how much

And they’re back with a challenge for parents, grandparents and guardians to see how can you take all the ITF’s guidance and make it PRACTICAL and easy for all parents to follow every day at every meal?

Curious? Why not visit Toddler Sized Challenge to find out more, join in and share, comment, vote and have the chance to win £1000 and two £500 runners-up prizes as well as spot cash prizes of £100 for commenting and engaging.

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge

I’m weighing in with my tuppence and submitted a suggestion to the challenge already. too with some lunch box ideas on how to help parents ensure they’re getting their toddler lunch boxes spot on.

There are some great menu ideas on the website a but I’ve purposed an idea for downloadable sheets of menu planners with suggestions for toddler lunch boxes  Taking inspiration from the Think Toddler Sized website and creating a go to sheet for lunch boxes which can be printed off and placed on your fridge, or saved as a photo of your photo along with a quick read shopping list section of items to buy.

The idea is about simplifying life for parents, grandparents and carers and taking the stress out of thinking what to buy.

Now I’ve shared mine, what’s would your idea to help parents to Think Toddler Sized be? Why not visit the website (links here if you missed it earlier ) to see what’s already been suggested and see if you can come up with something new then upload your idea to the website. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Think about:

  • The 4 different food groups: carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables
  • How often different types food should be offered every day
  • How much should be on the plate – think toddler portions

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge


This is a collaborative post


Reviewing The Sleep Tight All Night Bear

Sleep, babies, toddlers, blah, blah, blah. They have got to be one of the most talked about subjects on every parent’s lips at some point in their kid’s lives and I totally put my hands up, I have quite an unconventional approach to sleep. 3 babies in and I ripped up the rule book and stopped fretting about what everyone else did with my last baby and followed my son’s lead.

We co slept for 2 years as that was the only way he settled and even now he wanders into my bed most nights or mornings.  He’s a happy, sociable child and I’ve never had the sleep deprivation that I experienced with my older kids. So why am I reviewing a sleep aid device, if I don’t think my son has a sleep problem you’re probably thinking?

Well, as much as I have no problem with early morning or night-time snuggles. As a work from home mum, who’s most productive part of the day tends to be the evening. I could REALLY do with cutting down our bed time routine. In the past I can spend over an hour settling, reading and sitting with my boy waiting for him to nod off for the night. He’s such a busy little thing at the best of times and seems to pull every last snippet of energy out the bag just before he heads off to dream land.

Which is why I’m testing the Sleep Tight All Night, I was curious to see if it helped cut down bed times.

Looking light a normal teddy, it’s a cuddleable sleep aid which helps teach your child when to sleep and when to get up by using different coloured lights and sounds to differentiate day and night. There’s a selection of  soothing white noise and nature noises for night and cute phrases for day.

We started off by keeping the Sleep Tight All Night  bear downstairs in daytime mode for few days while my son got use to it, then we moved onto to introducing it to our bedtime routine. Each night, after the usual round of stories, I remind my boy to get his sleep teddy, he pull’s out the unit which sits under a velcro’s patch of material at the bottom, set the timer, then go through which noise he wanted.

reviewing the sleep tight all night bear to helpmeet toddler settle more quickly at bed time and improve our bedtime routine

After a few days or so, he’d always opt for the heart beat sound but only after he’d been through every other one. I really started to notice a difference to how quickly he settled after a week. There’s was much less resistance and tossing and turning as he went through the same routine ending with selecting his noise, putting the monitor back in the teddy and telling me the light is red so time for bed. Then laying down quietly, drifting off in half the time he’d done previously.

reviewing the sleep tight all night bear to helpmeet toddler settle more quickly at bed time and improve our bedtime routine

I’ve not seen any change to keeping him in his bed all night yet, but if I’m honest, I’ve not really enforced this as I don’t have a problem which him coming in to sleep with me as he drifts straight back off. So I can’t comment on how effective it is in that respect, that said, I will be trying it out when he’s a little older and able to understand that he needs to stay in his bed and go back to sleep.

In a nutshell, the Sleep Tight All Night teddy has cut down bed time by helping my toddler settle and wind down to relax off to sleep. It’s given my son some independence and control over his bed time routine and is now a permanent feature on his pillow, I’m hoping it helps maintain some normality when going on holiday too!


We were sent this product for the purpose of this review, the Sleep Tight All Night is available to buy  from Golden Bear Toys 



What’s on your tots plate?

Have you ever got to the end of the day and wondered if your toddler has eaten enough? I speak from experience of bringing up 3 toddlers over the years when I say that is probably one of the biggest worries as a parent. All three of my boys have been little and often eaters making it really hard-working out if they’ve managed all of their main food groups along with the required vitamins and minerals.

I think I did ok as my older two are relatively healthy (although my middle son is currently on a sugar binge which is having a really negative effect on his skin but I’ve very little control over what he eats during the day or weekends so it’s a loosing battle.)

Which leave my last little 2-year-old snack loving son. His current favourite thing to do is ask for food only to take 1 or 2 bites and refuse the rest. Not good. But recently I’ve been totting up everything he’s eaten using a Tot It Up  food tracker which takes the worry and working out away.

It’s really quick to set up and even quicker to see a run down of how your toddler has eaten. Once you’ve navigated your way around the different foods, it’s quite simple to see a complete round-up of how you’ve managed that day. I was quite shocked how far behind the recommended daily amount after my first day of using it which really helped to plan the rest of my son’s weekly menus.

If you’re intrigued how much your child is eating then why not take the The Tot It Challenge? It aims to encourage 1000 mums to try out the Tot It Up food tracker, which will help build the biggest picture of toddler eating habits and activity nationwide.  Understanding habits will help shape future advice to support families.  We know that other mums are inspired by you, so we would like you to encourage mums to get involved, so that we can further understand habits.

All the people who sign up and have a go will be in with a chance of  winning 1 of 10 £50 shopping vouchers.  Entrants should register at complete at least one day’s food intake, drink and activity (that is at least one day’s breakfast, mid-day meal, evening meal, snacks, drinks and activity).  The competition closes on the 21st November 2016.


This is a collaborative post


Why it’s ok I still hold my toddler to sleep

None, I repeat, none of my boys ever learnt to self soothe as a baby or toddler for that. Each night I’d sit with then and often hold them to sleep. And with no.1 & no. 2 it was an issue. A huge, gut wrenching, I’m failing at this parenting lark issue.

It was all me, I’d done it all wrong.  That rod that people talk about. Well, I’d only gone and bought the blady t-shirt, cemented it in iron and left it there for good.

I’d tried the ‘put your baby down drowsy thing,’ yeah, that didn’t work. Lies, all lies, or at least to me. For my babies, putting them down was the absolute worst thing which I could do, so their ear-piercing cries told me. Like I’d laid them on a bed of nails.

How very dare you mother!

They’d say in thief Stewie from Family Guy voices

So guiltily, I picked them up. Guilt from knowing “the books” would scorn at my weakness, guilt that I’d not been strong enough to sit it out, to wait to see if it was just a momentary protest cry, and guilt that by picking them up I was causing deeper, long-term problems. They’d have sleep issues as adults and it would be all my fault.

I blame my parents

They’d tell their psychologists trying to repair the damage I’d caused.

Only it didn’t cause any damage. My cuddles and bedtime love caused no damage at all. 

I can tell you that now. As hindsight, that wonderful, beautiful thing called hindsight. Tells me that what I did was just what my babies needed.
As those babies, those little, cot resisting, Velcro babies are now teenagers who can quite easily sleep through the protest cries of their little, cot protesting Velcro baby brother.

Who each night curls up, in the safe, comforting arms of his cocksure (I know what I’m doing this time) mother and I hold him while he drifts to sleep. Sometimes in my arms, sometimes holding me. But never out of touch or out of reach.

And he let’s me know, my beautiful little boy, that there’s no way on this earth that tonight, or any other for that matter, will he  be drifting off on that 16-year-old bed of nails!


Testing Out The New Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 Car Seat

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with finding a comfortable and safe car seat ever since my son was born. We’d never had any problem with our older boys on car journeys but this little chap seemed to hate, and I mean that in the strongest sense of the word, being in his for longer than 10 minutes.

After struggling on for 7 months, avoiding as much car travel as possible, it was time to admit defeat and start looking around but the market had changed so much and I simply didn’t know where to start. But budgets were also very limited so I settled for what I thought was a nice, safe comfortable one.

Sadly that didn’t work.

He really seemed to hate the restriction of the 5 point harness. But with our forward facing seat there wasn’t another option. Or was there? My next round of research led me to the latest trend in safer seats; the impact car seat. These cam with a separate impact shield which was held in place by the car seat leaving the arms completely free.

The idea is that an impact, the shield acts like an air back, cushioning the child’s torso  and spreading the   forces across a wider area, reducing stresses on single parts of the torso. The whole upper torso will move together rather than with a harness which restricts shoulders and hips, but does not take the head and neck movement into consideration. A toddlers head to torso is proportionately heavier in comparison to an adult, therefore the forces applied to a toddlers neck are higher with a 5 point harness. And there lies the problem, along with the fact that many, mine included, tend to slip their arms out of them.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

And so we gave the  Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 car seat a go.

Fulfilling the ECE-R44/04 European Safety Regulations as well as the new roll over test ‘Supplement 7’, it passed with flying colours. That had me assured we were doing the right thing.

Looking like a normal high back booster, it’s held in place with K-fix+ connectors which being slightly longer than our old isofix,  meant I can move it slightly  sideways when putting the toddler in and out of the car. I thought it was a design fault at first and questioned the safety as it had so much give but after checking it out on the Kiddy Uk website it’s actually adds to the safety as in the event of a side impact, the seat will slide sideways, and protectively push your child inwards away from the impact zone. The isofix connectors also have the handy option of being retractable so you can move it easily from car to car or even use it on a plane.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

There’s the option to pop it in a recline position too which I’d not had on my old high back booster, a must for naps and to help stop the head from falling forward. And there seems lots of support around the head rest which can be adjusted, along with the padded seat, with removable cushion which helps give my son a little extra boost so he’s not hidden under the impact shield.

Getting my boy in and out is relatively easy too. once he’s in and I’ve made sure his back and bum are pressed up to the back (otherwise he sits too low under the shield) you attach the impact shield on top of his legs and into position under the arm rests. You then bring the seatbelt round, fixing it in place and slide it into place in the holds. It takes a bit of fiddling with the seat belt to make sure it’s tight and I did find it had a tendency to push in to one side if you didn’t get it right, but once in, my son could rest his arms on top.

It’s really is amazing how much the whole baby and toddler market changes so quickly and is worth doing your research on whats available out there. Given that extended rear facing is now the option, for any child who doesn’t find the restricted leg space comfortable, the impact shield car seats seem to be the way to go.

Do you know the real dangers of forward facing car seats? I't's difficult though when your baby or toddler doesn't like rear facing so I've tested out an impact shield car seat which seemed a good alternative.

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