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Kids require to be treated with extra care. Therefore, many parents and caregivers will go the extra mile to find the best commodities. However, if you type “kids’ products and services” on any search engine, you will be bombarded with thousands of them. The wide range of kids’ merchandise makes it harder to find the right ones.
Being aware of your child’s age-specific needs, having an understanding of the various childcare products and services categories, and knowing the key factors to consider when buying them will ensure you make the right purchasing decision.
Types of Products and Services for Kids
These are institutions or individuals who care for and supervise kids such as au pairs, nannies, daycare centers, and babysitters. While parents and guardians are the primary caregivers for children, most parents have to work; therefore, they outsource childcare services. When hiring any childcare services, ascertain that the institution or individual is qualified and certified to handle children.
Educational Products and Services
Educational products and services help to promote kids’ intellectual development. They include educational toys, books, computing kits, and educational institutions. Preschools, nurseries, and kindergartens prepare kids below the age of 6 for primary education. The curriculum for such institutions incorporates both scholarly aspects, and elements to promote kids’ development.
Kids’ Clothes and Shoes
There is a wide range of kids’ clothes and shoes including jackets, T-shirts, dresses, vests, rompers, sweaters, pants, jeggings, coats, panties, onesies, shirts, activewear, boots, flip-flops, mittens, hats, booties, and sneakers among others. As kids grow up, they outgrow their clothes and shoes fast. As a result, parents regularly make new purchases in this product category.
Recreational Products and Services
They are equipment, spaces, and child services used by kids for play. For example: the different types of kids’ toys and gadgets, backyard playsets, outdoor baby swings, Luna parks, and playgrounds.
These include products that help the baby to sleep and those that provide a safe, warm and comfortable sleeping space. For example: sleep sacks, swaddling blankets, cribs, bassinets, white noise machines, rocking chairs, nursery gliders, night lights, baby monitors, linens, mattresses, and co-sleepers.
Personal Care Products
The broad range of personal care products includes skin care products such as lotions, baby oils, and baby powders; bathing products such as soaps and shampoos; diapering essentials such as wipes, nappies, liners, diaper rash ointments, changing tables, and changing mat, and laundry products and detergents.
This category also includes products such as tethers, pacifiers, thermometers, vaporizers, humidifiers, first aid kits and nasal aspirators.
There are two main kinds of feeding products: those that are specifically designed for mothers to facilitate breastfeeding, and those that are made for kids. Essential breastfeeding products include breast pumps, nursing pillows, breast milk storage bottles, and freezer bags. Feeding products for kids include formula, feeding bottles, nipples for bottles, cups, bowls, spoons, forks, pacifiers, soothers, bibs, high chairs, and sterilizing equipment.
Products for Transporting Kids
These products help to move with the kids from one place to another. Baby car seats are specially designed to carry kids in cars. Parents and caregivers use baby carriers, wraps, and slings to wear their children either as a way of soothing or establishing emotional and physical connection, or as a means of transport.
Babywearing is limited to children aged 3 and below - beyond which the child outgrows the carriers, slings, and wraps, and becomes too heavy for the adult to carry. Strollers, prams, buggies, pushers, and portable bassinets are used to transport kids up to the age of 3 years in short distances. They could be used to wheel a child from one room to another in the house, in malls, for a stroll in the park or the neighborhood.
Safety Proofing Products
This category of products helps parents and caregivers provide a safe environment for kids to play and explore. They restrict kids’ access to certain parts of the house and keep hazardous products out of reach. Examples of safety proofing products include gates, outlet covers, cabinet latches, fireplace bumpers, furniture anchors, corner guards, toilet locks, swimming pool covers, alarms, and fences.
Welcoming a newborn baby is exciting. However, many first-time parents are confused about which baby products to buy for their newborns. Newborn must-haves products are not quite a special category of baby-products. Rather, they are a collection of the some of the above-named products categories which are needed for newborn care. They include safety products, sleeping products, breastfeeding products, newborn clothes, and hygiene products.
Factors to Consider When Buying Kids’ Products and Using Services
The overriding factor to consider when investing in any kids’ product or service is safety. Ask yourself, “does this product or service compromise my child’s safety, or are there safety concerns associated with it?” If none, go ahead to gauge the product or service against other factors and settle for the one that you deem most suitable. Clean and disinfect any washable baby product before using it for the first time. Inspect furniture and wheeled products to ensure they are sturdy.
Check online reviews for other parents’ feedback about the products and services you are considering. Visit various online reviews platforms such as parents’ forums and discussion groups for honest kids’ products and services reviews. Checking for reviews is particularly important when you are buying one-time, high-budget products such as furniture, safety proofing products, and transporting products.
Pricing vs. Your Budget
There is a wide range of price options for all the kid’s products categories. Whether you are looking for a high-end product, or a more affordable product you will find a suitable one. Set your budget, and then compare the products available at the price that is within your budget against the other factors.
Is it a Must-have or a ‘Nice-to-have’ Product or Service?
If you are tight on budget and you have to choose between different kids’ products and services, categorize them into “nice-to-have” and “must-have”. Prioritize the “must-haves”.
Kids’ needs vary with age, hence, certain products are only appropriate for a particular age. For instance, building toys are appropriate for toddlers and would not be ideal for newborns.
Question whether the product or service you are considering delivers on functionality. A good design is great, but if the product does not effectively serve the purpose it is meant for, then it is pointless to buy it. The products should also be durable.
Age-by-Age Play Activities for Kids
Play is integral in the proper development of children. It promotes physical, cognitive, and emotional growth. However, due to the varying development needs at different ages, suitable play activities change with your child’s age. Knowing what kinds of activities are suitable for your child at their current age will help you in deciding the kind of products and services they need. Here is a guide to the most suitable play activities for kids in different age groups.
Newborn babies’ lives revolve around sleeping, feeding, and a few hours awake. Although they are not strong enough to engage in play on their own, they rely on the caregiver to rock them, walk around carrying them, sing to them, feed them, bathe them, and talk to them. Ensure you have all the necessary products to take care of your newborn.
6 months - 1 year
At 6 months, the child is learning to sit on their own, hold things as well as learning to communicate. They enjoy listening to kids’ songs and other playful sounds, crawling around the house, and picking up things.
Between the age of 1 and 3 years, children undergo numerous developmental changes. They are learning to walk, communicate as well as honing their fine and gross motor skills. Kids in this age group also enjoy watching carton, listening and singing along to kids’ songs, building things, coloring, exploring books, and interacting with other kids.
Most kids at this age have already joined preschool where they are interacting with educational concepts and materials. They engage in activities such as reading, playing with other children, make-believe games, counting, and helping out with simple house chores, e.g., making the bed and picking up toys. Some children take up music and art classes or begin to develop their talent in sports.
Kids in this age group are more developed intellectually, have a longer attention span, and are more curious about life. They enjoy watching longer shows, and reading both educational books and storybooks. Some pick up new hobbies while others continue to grow their talents.
They are mature enough to engage in house chores actively, have intellectual conversations on life issues, and continue to develop their talents. They enjoy sports and physical exercises, appreciate different music genres, and enjoy playing video games.
In a nutshell, to make the right purchasing decision, establish the childcare products and services that you and your child. Do a research to find the brands and service providers in the market and identify those in the price range that is within your budget. Narrow down to specific brands and refer to online reviews to determine the most reliable and reputable ones then make your purchase.