Raising a Baby or a Toddler in a Small Space

Do you feel there’s not enough space for everything you want to do and have for your baby?

To be honest, after giving birth, I wished I was back in the studio apartment from my pediatric residency days. It would have been much easier to keep an eye on the baby and maintain the home!

raising a baby or toddler in a small space

So whether you’re preparing to bring home a newborn, or have an active baby or toddler and you have a small space – don’t worry. Being in a small home has many advantages, and you can work around the disadvantages. Here are three ways to make the most out of it.

Keep things and baby gear to a minimum.

There’s a lot of gear being marketed to parents today that isn’t necessary.  You don’t need a three-in-one swing, rocker, and bouncer. You definitely shouldn’t have a baby walker. Also, try to resist the temptation to buy every toy there is.

When our family moved to a small apartment, we brought only a few toys. For us, it was a dinosaur set, Megabloks, Play-Doh, crayons, paper, a few cars, a rocketship, my son’s favorite action figures (Ironman and Buzz Lightyear), some stuffed animals, and 20+ favorite books.

That’s it! It’s probably more toys that we had when we were kids, but definitely few compared to most toy collections today. And guess what? My son started making way more complicated structures with the Megabloks and more elaborate stories with the dinosaurs. I don’t know whether it was the fewer toys, or whether he simply developed the ability this past month – but having fewer toys definitely didn’t hurt!

Use space-efficient, multitasking furniture.

I have my husband (and the recently-opened IKEA near us 🙂 ) to thank for our space-efficient furniture. 

Be sure your furniture is safe. Crawling babies move so quickly, that they’d get into spaces you never imagine they can reach. And active toddlers can climb any piece of furniture in the split second it takes you to even realize they’d moved!

Get this free guide I prepared. While it’s mainly for new parents, the babyproofing steps you take here will help all the way to the toddler years. If you know a new parent, forward this email to them too so they can get the guide.

Opt for convertible pieces. A crib that turns into a toddler bed, for example, or a chair that can be used as a desk and then later as a feeding chair.

Think vertically. Use your walls to your advantage! Hang shelves and hooks to store baby’s things or put up a play yard to give baby some space to move around.

Have a safe outdoor space for play.

Outdoor time is a non-negotiable for kids. If you have a choice, So I’m thankful that where we’re staying, there’s a great pool, and kids can play on the lawns instead of having to keep off the grass.

Sadly, many kids today – even those living in homes with sprawling lawns and perfectly manicured gardens – don’t get enough outdoor time. This “nature deficit disorder” is leading to more behavior problems in kids.

According to research done in 14 countries, when COVID hit, average time outdoors decreased from 3 hours to less than 2 hours on weekdays, and from roughly 2 1/2 to 2 hours on weekends.

However, this is quite different from the experiences of the families I’ve been working with. Even before the pandemic, the majority of the kids I see have practically zero outdoor time on weekdays, and maybe an hour or two on weekends.

So wherever you live, find a safe outdoor space for your child to play. Also, if you’re able to choose where to live, factor this into your decision.

Next Steps

With some creativity, there are always ways to make the most out of a small space. So don’t be discouraged, you can totally make it work! 

Get our FREE guide to toddler activities. These are fun, easy, and stress-free – and you can do these at home even with a small space.

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