Every parent will tell you that the best thing about being a parent is the freedom and choice you have. However, what many still find hard to wrap their minds around is the fact that the ability to make decisions with such freedom is more than a perk—it is actually a necessity. As a parent, one does not have to compromise on the quality of your baby’s bedding, but you also don’t have to buy expensive brands. IKEA is the perfect example of how to do this right.
One of the worst things about raising children is not getting enough sleep. And, with a two-year-old bringing you to your knees and a one-year-old who has already mastered the art of tantrum-throwing, the sleep you get is a lot more precious than ever.
When you first walk into IKEA, you immediately feel like you’re in a warm, comfortable place. There’s a vibe of warmth and caring that permeates the …
While strolling through IKEA this morning — okay, I was completely lost in the maze of affordable European bedsheets, light fixtures, and shelf systems — I confirmed that it is prudent to recommend an IKEA outing to those of you who are fortunate enough to live near one of the 45 stores across the United States. (Greetings, European readers! I had no idea you were here! Welcome! Wilkommen!)
Before going to IKEA, parents should be aware of the following:
‘the good news’ is a phrase that means ‘good news.’
- Parking for families is available. Are you expecting a child and are carrying a two-year-old? You are welcome to park in the first row. Keep an eye out for it. Thank you very much.
- It’s worth signing up for the free IKEA FAMILY program. It took me approximately three minutes to join up on a kiosk near the entrance of the shop, and a plastic membership card was immediately dispensed. Members get discounts on some items. For example, this grey laptop bag was $29.99 but just $19.99 for IKEA FAMILY members. In addition, I received a free frozen yogurt for joining up that day.
- I’d like a free cup of coffee or tea. Another advantage of membership is that IKEA FAMILY members get complimentary coffee or tea with every visit. No, they aren’t paying me to write this; I am just ecstatic. Or I drank too much coffee since it was free!
- Area for baby care. You don’t have to use the floor model changing tables to change your diaper. There are designated areas throughout the shop for this.
- Potty-trained children are eligible for free daycare. With a three-year-old hanging on your leg, it’s almost hard to make a choice about dressers, so this is fantastic news if your kid is willing to spend an hour in a crazy amazing bright, but appropriate, play area. However, there is a very precise window for childcare, which is dependent on height. So, if you have a kid between the ages of 36 and 48, you’re in luck (at my local IKEA). According to the website, children between the ages of 37 and 54 are welcome in Smaland, the kid zone.
- This play kitchen is totally gender neutral and $99. Both of those qualities make it my new favorite play kitchen.Â Skip the top cabinet and it’s only $79. I have the doll bed from this same series, which is perfect if you want a plain wooden doll bed for a little boy or girl. (See other homemade and IKEA-hacked play kitchens for less than $50.)
- Babies and toddlers are welcome at the restaurant. There are plenty of high chairs available, as well as playthings for kids who can’t sit still for more than five minutes and a microwave in case your meal gets cold while you’re getting comfortable at your table.
- On Tuesdays, children dine for free. At least at the IKEA stores I’ve visited. Please call beforehand, or at the very least, don’t blame me if you wind up paying $5 on your child’s lunch.
- Furnishings that are straightforward. Sure, there are some quirky things on the showroom floor, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly nursery without frills, I can’t think of a better place to get a cot, stools, or even a toilet chair for under $10.
- Please bring your own luggage. They don’t offer you any bags or boxes to take your things home. I’m not sure whether this is just in my region since we have a no-plastic-bags legislation, but they don’t give you any bags or boxes to carry your stuff home. Prepare yourself. I ended there with my arms full of wrapping paper rolls and picture frames that I had to carry to my vehicle at checkout. I was extremely happy with myself today since I brought my two biggest reusable shopping bags.
- At home, measure — and convert. Because we are idiots when it comes to millimeters here in the land of the brave, the next time I go shopping at IKEA, I’ll make sure I know how many cm there are between the floor and the window in my children’s bedroom. I couldn’t decide on a nightstand since I wasn’t sure what would work in the area I had in mind. Also, since children’s bedding in Europe is branded in centimeters, measure your child’s mattress as well, as the toddler bed sheets are extremely enticing.
IKEA is a fantastic excursion for a couple of parents and children, even without the discounts and goodies. My kids enjoyed nothing more than climbing into a chair, out of a chair, and into another chair when they were just learning to walk. IKEA has a plethora of chairs, couches, rockers, and futons to keep inquisitive toddlers occupied until naptime. IKEA is a great place to go for free entertainment, but I’m fairly sure no one can go there without buying anything.
Related: Getting up early to go to IKEA with twin kids; Painting an IKEA crib
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