Momma Told Me: Encouraging Toddler Independence With Smart Snacking #GerberWinWin

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Encouraging Toddler Independence With Smart Snacking #GerberWinWin

Momma Told Me: We learn by exploring.

When I was a little girl I was quite precocious.

I was engaged almost constantly- as my mother was quite ill during my toddler years, and there was family in abundance to help out in the raising and caring of her only child. Looking back, I can imagine, some of my earliest memories are so dynamic and impactful due to the sole fact that each and every caregiver had their own passions and life experiences. My father would read to me with the funniest voices bringing each character to life, my grandfather had a passion for music and would often hum or sing along to a tune from Sinatra, and my Aunt (the fun one) constantly had something for me to tinker with or deconstruct. My mind was never lacking stimulus, and I thrived to the point I became a bit of a 'handful.' There were no limits to my exploration or the thirst for acquisition of new skills. I was quite the sassy and mischievous toddler.

Today my nephew, Nathan, shows his independence every day- as soon as he discovered how to make audible noises on command he 'talked' non stop. It was only a matter of time before his mother talking back to him turned into conversations and pronounced verbal skills. Of course then came the walking, the crawling, the climbing and the running. Isn't it curious how much we both take pride in a child's accomplishments while dreading the true freedom that comes with with it? A mother certainly has to stay on their toes with a toddler afoot! Savannah was sectioning off hallways and putting up bumpers before he'd turned 1- a triumph and a whole new set of challenges.
Everyday Nathan is practices his skills with great enthusiasm. He watches his mother father, and big sis and brothers with the intent of a mad scientist. I get a good giggle out of imaging how he 'learns' his new skills- and we never really know what he will pick up next- it's always a surprise. But, for Nathan, mimicking his family is the surest way to 'growing up' and learning more skills.

Going into one of our favorites stores, such as a trip to Target, often means a chance to explore. Nathan will insist on trying to 'drive' the cart down the aisles, pushing with all of his weight leaning into it, and not even tall enough to see around the sides at oncoming traffic. He's also sharp enough to know 'his aisles' at Target- they're always the colorful ones in the center of the store with the 'yummy' food and treats, and of course, toys! And Nathan's a kid who knows what he wants when we points at the large display of Gerber foods- it is hard to miss being all  bright and yellow!
Recently we discovered an entirely new addition to the Gerber lineup- Gerber LilBeanies- a delicious puffed navy bean snack that much resembles the snacks adults love to munch on, but with a much healthier twist. Navy beans are not only a mild flavor offering for developing toddler palettes, but offer a fun crunch that toddlers love to explore, in little puffs that are each for tiny hands to grab. And, of course, with the Gerber name on them, LilBeanies are GMO free and and free of artificial anything- they even contain 2g of protein and 1g of fiber per serving! And, for toddlers who enjoy exploring new flavors the White Cheddar and Broccoli LilBeanies are a delicious pick!
Help your child explore and discover with Gerber LilBeanies Navy Bean puff snacks, now sold at Target! AD #GerberWinWin
Nathan's a Momma's boy- so he goes everywhere Momma goes- and that includes errands, sometimes skipping his naps all together because he's so wide eyed and excited to explore. With his big sister in school during the week he can have all the heartfelt 'conversations' he wants from the back seat, riding as Momma's partner in crime to the DMV, Target, and even the optometrist. But when the energy starts to run out, and Mr. Independent gets a little grumpy, it's essential to have a fueling snack on hand to get past the crash and avoid a public tantrum. Gerber's LilBeanies come in handy there too- in fact the easy to res-seal tub is the perfect size for a diaper bag, and easily seals for transport and storage.

Having a snack a toddler can enjoy without help from the 'parentals' not only helps foster confidence and coordination skills, but keeps a toddler engaged when snack time happens to fall during time spent in a waiting room or other dull setting. It also means mom's hands are free to try on glasses with a little help and supervision skills from big sis. Nathan likes to sit with his LilBeanies tub right between his legs and explore the snacks as if each one has something entirely different to offer. It's actually kind of cute when he really focuses like that!
Of course every toddler takes plenty of down time to recharge- usually any car trip beyond 5 or 10 minutes means Nathan is lulled right to sleep. Savannah's mastered the art of removing him from his car-seat and snapping him into the stroller without a single peep. That woman has mad mom skills, after all, no one wants to wake a sleeping child!

At the end of a hard day of being Momma's sidekick, Nathan likes to relax and unwind at the park- I like to argue all of Oregon IS a park, but there aren't swings, magical bouncing panda rides, and slides in the backyard quite yet. And, did I mention that having a toddler around is the BEST gym plan a woman can find? With his inquisitive nature, and constant thirst to master new skills, Nathan never stops surprising all of us with the adventures he'll find or the situations he gets himself into. Of course, no matter what it is- it's always adorable.
Nathan just turned 2 this August, and, while he might be just entering 'terrible twos' he's definitely moving onto bigger and better explorations. In fact, he got his first bicycle- decked out in Paw Patrol of course, and looks forward to riding on a big boy bike just like his 'sissy.' We'll see what Momma has to say about that- slow down a little Nathan!
At the end of the day all that excising one's brain, copying daddy, and practicing new skills can be pretty exhausting for a toddler. Nathan never seems to want to close his eyes- ever since he was a newborn, he simply didn't want to miss a thing. I don't blame him, life's pretty awesome- especially when you're just getting to explore your world for the first time. Thankfully tomorrow is always full of plenty of new memories to be made and had.  Grab a limited time $1 Ibotta Rebate for Gerber's LilBeanies Original and White Cheddar and Broccoli snacks, available at Target now.

What Daughter Says: Toddlers constantly learn through exploration- every encounter is an opportunity to master a new skill, every person a potential role model.


  1. My kids all loved these when they were younger! They made snacking on the go a breeze and kept them entertained too!

  2. What a little cutie! My kiddo LOVED these snacks when he was that age. He always wanted to do stuff himself so this rings SO true for me!

  3. What a big boy! My kids all loved the Gerber snacks! I was out with a friend yesterday and her son culdn't stop munching on the Lil' Beanies!

  4. I have always been a fan of the Gerber brand. They make so many great baby foods and little snacks for the kiddos!

  5. My kiddos lived off the Gerber snacks. So easy for them to hold and for me to clean up. And Nathan is adorable!

  6. All my three kids ages 5-23 months like the Gerber snacks - i've been buying them for years and always recommend it to friends.

  7. Love the pictures! Looks like your little one is going to enjoy snacking on those Gerber treats. Nice that it's easy clean up too! - Sarah, Must Have Mom