Once your baby becomes a toddler and is able to walk, it won't be long before he runs full speed ahead towards his independence. You can help them accomplish their goals by providing a safe and sturdy step stool to reach for those things that are just beyond their reach.

When should you buy your child their first step stool? A personalized step stool makes a sentimental baby gift. It can be part of their nursery decor until the toddler is ready to use it. It is better to have the step stool at your home and ready before your child starts climbing your cupboards, dragging your dining chairs across the floor to the counter, and before your back goes out from dangling them over the bathroom sink to wash their hands! If your baby was an early walker, chances are he will be ready for a step stool sooner than most. Watch and listen to your child - he will let you know when he's ready to do it all by himself!

What style of step stool should you buy? Generally, there are 3 basic styles:

  • Step Stool Chair -- the bottom step can be flipped up to create a chair, so will have dual purposes. This is good if the step stool will be used by a bookshelf, where the child can reach her favorite book then sit down to read, or by the television.

  • Single Step Stool -- the step may be oval (cricket style), round, square, or rectangle. These are usually lightweight and easy to transport from room to room. be sure to check for a sturdy, well-balanced design.

  • Double Step Stool -- this is the most popular style. The flat back is sturdy against a cabinet or bed. The top step may have hidden storage underneath. Some have cut outs in the side or back for easy carrying. Many styles may be personalized to make it extra special.

The most difficult choice to make may be which design or color to choose. Step stools come in a wide array of wonderful colors to match any decor. Choose a hand painted stool to fit a theme and to become an heirloom. A puzzle step stool not only makes a great gift and provides a step up, but it also teaches the child to recognize and spell their name.

If your toddler wants to help you in the kitchen, check out the Learning Tower, Learning Pod, and Kitchen Helpers. With their tall height and protective sides, they are used in the kitchen to allow the child to help but remain safe.

Before purchasing a step stool, decide which area of the house it will be used in. Many households have one that stays by the child's bed, one in the bathroom, and one in the kitchen that can be moved around by the child. As your child becomes more independent, don't forget to make sure household cleaners, medicines, and anything hazardous remains out of your child's reach.

Whatever style or color step stool you buy, you'll be amazed at how attached your child becomes to their very own step stool!