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Tips for Buying Secondhand Baby Items

baby clothes hanging on wire

Raising a child is expensive. From cribs to clothes to toys to food, you’ll be stretching your budget thin if you always buy the latest and greatest items. That’s why many parents turn to secondhand items to buy for their children. By buying secondhand, you can get the great quality products for half the price as it would be new. Nevertheless, buying secondhand is different from buying new. That’s why we’ve put together these simple tips to help you get started.

Where to buy secondhand baby items

You can’t buy secondhand baby items in a traditional store, so you’ll have to look elsewhere. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are the most common places to find secondhand items. Plus, you can arrange an in-person meet-up to inspect the item. There are also apps such as ThredUP that specialize in selling used items.

What NOT to buy secondhand

There are many baby items you can buy secondhand, but there are some that you shouldn’t. Breast pumps and crib mattresses should never be bought secondhand. And while many items of clothing and blankets can be bought used, you’ll want to inspect them carefully to ensure they’re in good shape.

Inspect the item carefully

Every item that you buy secondhand should be inspected carefully before purchase. While most used items are in good condition, you still run the risk of buying an item that is broken or soiled. If you’re buying online, try to find pictures of the item or make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller. If you’re buying in-person, test the item out and inspect every inch of it before you buy it.

Check for expiration dates or recalled items

Many baby items such as clothes or blankets don’t have expiration dates. But some do. Car seats, for instance, come with expiration dates of about six to ten years. Cribs or toys, meanwhile, may have been recalled after they were first purchased. Do your research before buying any older item.

While buying secondhand items can save you lots of money, it’s important to still get new items for your child. In that regard, consider buying your child a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of options available, just look through our website to get started!

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How to Prepare Your New Babysitter

babysitter helping child color a drawing

After spending weeks looking for the right babysitter, you’ve finally found the perfect person for the job. However, finding a babysitter is just half the battle. You also need to prepare them for the tasks ahead if you want to set them up for success. Even the most experienced babysitter knows that no two families are alike. As such, you should take steps ahead of your babysitter’s first day with the kids to help everyone prepare.

Create an emergency contact list

Your babysitter will know to call 911 if a true emergency occurs. However, they should also have a list of family members, friends, or neighbors to call if something happens and they can’t reach you. Have at least three names and numbers on your list other than your own. You should also create rules as to when your babysitter should use these numbers. You may want them to call only if a true emergency occurs, or you may want them to call if they have questions or if one of the kids had a minor accident.

Make a schedule

Kids depend on routines, but your babysitter won’t know what your daily routines are. You don’t need to map out every single detail. Nevertheless, you should at least mention the most important parts of the day: when they eat, when they go to bed, etc.

Prepare meals or have a list of allowed foods

In most cases, a babysitter will be working around dinnertime, so they’ll need to know what to feed your kids while you’re gone. This is especially important if your child has food allergies or is a picky eater. You can prepare meals ahead of time, or you can create a list of allowed foods that your babysitter can either have delivered or make themselves.

Introduce your child to your babysitter ahead of time

Don’t wait until the first day to introduce your child to your babysitter. Even if your child isn’t particularly shy, they may have trouble dealing with a stranger at first. So, take some time out to have your babysitter get to know your child before the big day. You should also take this as an opportunity to let your babysitter in on anything they need to know about your child. This could include their food preferences, favorite toys, what they like to do for fun, etc.

Inviting a new babysitter into your home can be a challenging experience at first, but it doesn’t have to be. By creating a welcoming environment with plenty of toys and stuffed animals, your child and your babysitter will become the best of friends. To get started, look through our website here at The Zoo Factory today!

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How a Teddy Bear Might Help Your Child Sleep

Little boy sleeping with teddy bear

Dreaded are the nights your child doesn’t sleep, whether they are flat-out refusing to go to bed or waking you up often because they simply can’t sleep at all. Establishing a bedtime routine often becomes a nightly battle with little ones. Unfortunately, the effects of poor sleep can extend from the night well into the morning, following your child to school which can contribute to trouble retaining information, a lack of concentration, and even behavioral problems.

However, recent research shows that there are a variety of ways to remedy these problems, some of which might surprise you!  A healthy sleep routine should be encouraged by both parents and educators.

Creating a bedtime routine

Research has shown that teddy bears can be effective when demonstrating a sleep routine to a child. Parents and educators alike have been using the teddy bear to teach children how to develop a bed time routine. By having a child instruct a teddy bear on how to get ready for bed, much like a parent would instruct a child, a child can learn to model and mock the behavior.

A source of comfort

Teddy bears can not only help create a bedtime routine, but they can also provide a source of comfort. After all, who wouldn’t feel at ease curling up in bed with their favorite teddy? This is especially helpful for kids that deal with nightmares, as a teddy bear can keep them calm and hopefully keep the nightmares away.

Interested in incorporating a beloved teddy bear into your child’s bedtime routine? Visit The Zoo Factory today and choose from dozens of fun and soft teddy bears and animals.

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Toys that Enhance a Child’s Imagination

Toys that Enhance a Child’s Imagination

Children have amazing imaginations and their ability to play pretend and think up stories is inspiring. For many children, role-playing and creativity is often sparked through play. Playing with different types of toys can help to fuel a child’s imagination, helping them to become more innovative and imaginative. Read on to learn more:

Playing with Costumes

When children play dress-up, their imaginations run wild! They can take ordinary clothes and turn them into fantastical stories, but they can also play with costumes. Costumes allow children to dress up as superheroes, historical figures, doctors, movie stars, animals, and more. They allow children to “become someone else” in a matter of minutes, resulting in endless hours of fun. Save some of your old clothing, such as shoes, purses, and ties, that could work perfectly for a costume!

Playing with Art Supplies

Give a child (washable) colorful markers and watch them create new worlds and amazing ideas. Playing with art supplies triggers a child’s imagination, allowing them to put their thoughts and dreams into something real and tangible. Art is the perfect platform for allowing children to explore their personal creativity. Children just love to get messy with glitter, glue, stickers, and paints! You can also follow these tips on an easy clean up to limit the mess.

Playing with Toy Cars

The concept of traveling to new and unseen places can heat up a child’s imagination. Children relate vehicles with trips to school, the park, grandma’s house, the beach, and more. Children love going places and experiencing new things, and they often associate cars with that concept. Playing with toy cars, buses, and trains give children the opportunity to take trips in their minds.

Playing with Stuffed Animals

Playing pretend often starts with your child’s first stuffed animal, which they will love and adore like a true friend. Stuffed animals, such as teddy bears, can kick-start your child’s imagination because they will often treat their furry friend as a real person. Stuffed animals can benefit children of all ages.

Encourage your child’s imagination with a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory. Children will love the idea of building their very own stuffed animal and making it on their own.