Hi All! Caitlin here and like the great Ms. Frizzle, I’m here to talk “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” with help from Smockets of course!
In all seriousness, as a parent and former preschool teacher I have a love-hate relationship with the messy parts of parenting. I know that mess is important for kids. It helps create independence, creativity, and develop sensory processing skills. But I hate it. I know my little one is working on important scientific discovery when she dips her fingers in her yogurt one by one. But I cringe. I know that its good for her growing brain to experience textures like slime and finger paints. But I hate anything that squishes and plops.
Apparently I’ve needed a Smocket all my life!
I winced through the first two years of parenting with wipes and biggie bibs and a belief that stains happen. This month I finally tried a Smocket on my little one - game changer!
What makes the Smocket so special? It is a full sleeve bib made of PUL. It stays reasonably dry and wipes clean well. The Smocket also features a pocket on the front to catch messes and both a snap on neck and tie in the back to keep it in place. Its the Biggie Bib’s overachieving cousin.
Biggie Bibs are great for small messes and on the go eating. But there is nothing that protects your little one from all those wonderful messes like the Smocket. Here are 5 ways I’ve already fallen in love with them.
Smockets at Meal Time
Meal time is a great time for kids to explore with their senses. Touching, tasting, seeing, and smelling their food are all important parts of mealtime. Even sounds play a key role. The crunch of a cracker always cracked Aileen up as a small baby. However this usually means crumbs, drips, and spills.
In the beginning you might be dealing with a world class puree spoon dodger or a baby led weaning mess maker. As kiddo grows they will start experimenting with using utensils themselves. I’ve never laughed harder than watching my husband trying to explain to our two year old how to keep her spoon level while eating soup. Only to be met with spill after spill after spill... and eventually a straw/drinking from the bowl.
No matter what stage of eating you are at, the Smocket offers that extra level of protection so your little one can enjoy meal time to the fullest! Which may even help keep picky eating at bay. Learning to enjoy foods is all about exposure. It may take 15 or more times being exposed to a new food for your child to like it. And sometimes the best step is to introduce new foods slowly.
Allow them to explore at their own pace, and with all their senses. If Aileen is uninterested in a new food, I like to ask her if it feels bumpy or smooth to encourage her to touch it. If that goes well, I ask if its crunchy or soft - we may get messy but she is learning to eat a wide variety of foods and that's the real goal at mealtime. Smockets help keep me sane and our clothes clean along the way.
Painting with Smockets
At least once a week my toddler asks to paint. We paint birthday signs for grandparents, pumpkins in the fall, and more often than not paint brushes get tossed aside in favor of fingers. I used to go dig for an old shirt I didn’t care for. Smockets are now my easy, go to paint protector, and Aileen is free to get as creative as she wants.
Water Play: Warm and Dry with a Smocket
Even with regular baths and swimming lessons, there is something my kids love about splashing in different containers on the floor. But in the winter, indoor water play often meant wet clothes and I worried about them catching a chill. The Smocket is the perfect, PUL water resistant layer to keep them a little more dry while they splash and play. Water play is my favorite keep busy activity when I need a few minutes to get dinner on the table. Now we don’t have to change clothes before eating! We just take off the Smocket and away we go. Throw down a lifesaver mat and forget about spills and wet floors too.
As the cold weather returns and stay at home public health protocols continue, we are also taking up another of our favorite activities - baking! I love baking with my toddler despite the mess because its a great teaching tool. There is so much vocabulary in baking. There is math in measuring. It gives a feeling of accomplishment when we get to enjoy our sweet creations together. We have a kids apron and our Smocket and when I want to cut clean up time in half I always choose the Smocket.
Yes, there are usually egg shells in our cookies, but we are having too much fun to care.
With a long winter a head, I am also making a variety of other sensory play bins to keep my toddler busy at home. I fill buckets with sand, water beads, fresh snow, slime, really anything that I don’t want to touch and let her go wild. Its a great way to keep her busy and buy myself that extra 20 minutes to enjoy my coffee in peace. And thanks to our Smocket, clean up is a breeze!
What is your favorite way to use Smockets and get messy with your little one?