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With the imminent arrival of a third child, I've started to think about the logistics of organising certain times of the day (particularly around the evenings when my husband is out at work) and started to look for products that might make life easier for us all.
I decided to buy a towelling poncho for my two (almost three) year old son with the aim of using it immediately after bath-time. I was planning on slipping a poncho over him as soon as I get him out of the bath and then he can potter about without getting too cold whilst I sort out and settle the newborn baby.
Spongebob Squarepants might seem like a strange choice of character for a two year old but he was quite insistent on this particular poncho - turning his nose up at more obvious toddler choices such as Thomas the Tank Engine or In the Night Garden! I have to admit, the whole family does enjoy the Spongebob cartoon and this particular poncho is really eye-catching featuring Spongebob at his cheekiest. It has the trademark bright yellow colouring with a toothy grinning design on the front and a winking Spongebob on the reverse and certainly stands out.
I ordered this particular poncho online from good old Amazon and it cost just under £6 including postage a few weeks ago, although the price does tend to fluctuate a little. Buying online, it can be difficult to assess the quality of items such as this and, I must admit, the actual poncho was much thinner than I had expected it to be. Despite being made of 100% cotton, it is very thin and much thinner than a standard towel or even a good quality beach towel. As you'd expect, it features an attached hood so is handy for covering up wet or damp hair (although it's not really absorbent enough fabric to use to dry hair alone.) It doesn't have sleeves attached though. Instead, it just falls over the body so there is the potential for a little draught around the sides if your room is particularly cold.
The other dilemma about buying online is whether the poncho will be a suitable fit. This is supposed to fit children aged between 2-8 years and, having two children at almost opposite ends of that spectrum, I am fully aware of what a vast difference there is in size within such a wide age group. This does, surprisingly, fit my almost three year old son quite well. It is certainly on the generous side for him but he is able to put the hood over his head and still be able to see! As this is so large and because of the slip-on design of a poncho, he can actually put this on and take this off himself without too much difficulty (just needing a bit of assistance to make it sure it goes on the right way round.) Lengthwise, it covers his entire body but isn't so long that he can trip up over the towel or be inconvenienced by it.
Despite buying this for my youngest son, his big brother also insisted on trying this towelling poncho on too! He will be 8 in September, so is right at the top end of the recommended age range, but still managed to get this poncho on and off comfortably. The hood still went over his head without getting stuck anyway. It is on the short side and we have a bit of a 'cheeky boy' view of his bottom though, so it wouldn't really conceal his modesty or keep him particularly warm! I wouldn't personally buy one of these (certainly not in this size) for a child of his age, although he has been asking for his own Spongebob poncho now.
Despite intending to use this for bath-time, the poncho has proved itself to be surprisingly versatile and proved its worth during our recent trip to Butlins. I packed it alongside our two year old's swimming stuff and it was ideal to slip over him once we got out of the water. The thickness of the towelling was actually ideal for a humid swimming baths and wearing this meant that my son was perfectly warm and content and I was able to leave him happily in this whilst I got myself dry and dressed.
It was also well used when we ventured on to the beach. My toddler wanted to go paddling in the water and, inevitably, got his shorts and himself wet. This poncho was ideal to slip over his top once he'd finished having fun and just kept him warm enough until we managed to get him (and ourselves) dry again. The generous fitting means that it can be whipped on and off within seconds and as the towelling is thin, it doesn't actually take up too much room in a bag so is less bulky and cumbersome than a beach towel, for instance.
Despite originally purchasing this with the idea of using it after bath-time, I think this poncho is ideal for swimming or seaside activities. It certainly proved its usefulness and versatility on our recent holiday. It is a little thinner and less absorbent than I'd anticipated but it provides sufficient warmth and cover to avoid a shivering toddler, especially in relatively warm changing rooms. Personally, I'd recommend this primarily for under fives as it is likely to be a little too short for older children, although they are sure to love that bright toothy grin just as much as the little ones!