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As all parents know, the dining table can be a battlefield when it comes to kids. Those memes about cutting a banana too small or offering a toddler exactly what they asked for only to be met with raging tears are all too funny until it happens to you. I’ve tried my best to dodge the meltdowns by implementing baby-led weaning tips and buying top-rated dino-shaped plates and toddler-size spoons. But in the past four years of parenthood, nothing has once dethroned my top two mealtime must-haves: a mini manual fan and tiny food scissors.
Some parents use the ice or frozen peas trick, where you add either to hot food to cool it down quickly, but this Japanese hand fan (I also found a $2 Amazon alternative) works so much better—and who likes a watered-down dinner anyways? Plus it’s manually cranked, which means you’ll never run out of batteries or forget to charge it before your next meal (which we were guilty of doing all the time). Sure, you might get some peculiar looks as you’re wielding this weird-looking object in a restaurant, but I’ve learned not to care, especially if it means less time spent blowing on my child’s food and more time enjoying my own hot meal, a rarity in the parenting world.
Our second essential is the small food scissors I purchased when my first-born started solids at 5 months old. Cutting food into strips and small pieces is imperative to prevent choking hazards and this makes daily tasks a breeze. There’s an open/close button to make them safe and portable, so when we go out to eat I no longer have to cut noodles awkwardly with the edge of my cutlery or ask to borrow a pair from the kitchen. I’ve bought other portable scissors before, and this specific brand just feels sturdier, like actual kitchen shears instead of some dinky craft scissors you know weren’t meant for food.
The best part? Not only are these two tools affordable, I’ve never had to replace them—not even once.