Packing for Toddlers and Young Children, What to Bring?

So you are moving to Rwanda and you have the babies in tow!  Are you ready to make sure you know what you need and what you don’t need?  Well, we scoured Facebook and brought back a number of comments from some Moms to help you with packing.

First things first, based upon feedback from a number of mothers in Kigali, you need to bring your children’s toys.  There is limited access to high quality toys and they are very hard to find.  Supplying your kids with great toys, Legos, dolls and  much more will be easier to bring then to find.  A focus should be on the plastic items.  Very hard to option in Rwanda.  You can find quality wood pieces and sets but all other toys seem to be a much cheaper quality and mostly from China. Same with books.  It’s easier to do a raid from home and get books at a thrift store or a half price book store and pack them for flight.  It’s hard to find the natural variety that many westerners are used to.

If you want to keep the creative juices flowing with your children, pack up construction paper, play dough, finger paint and even your Crayola crayons and markers.  While you can find those things in the city, the mark up makes them very expensive. It’s much easier to just load up an extra suitcase and have those things stored at home.

If you plan on homeschooling, you want to check out the curriculum of your program and bring all those items and resources over and not rely on shipping them.  That has caused a lot of costs to parents as well as, it can be time consuming waiting for the items to arrive.

If you have babies or toddlers, name brand pampers tend to run slightly more expensive however there are plenty of regular diapers around.  If you use cloth diapers make sure you bring the detergent that you prefer for that, especially if your baby has sensitive skin. If you don’t want to haul detergent, note the following….you can find Tide in Simba stores, the common Sunlight detergent will strip absorbency, and Ariel is a good substitute for a very clean and allergy free wash.

Formula is also expensive.  If you pack up your formula it would be wise. The heavy recommendation is to go to Vine Pharmacy to purchase Primlac.

It’s not easy at all to find car seats, if you do find some limited choices are available.   Some decide to stock up on clothes for babies and toddlers as it is hard to find first hand clothing around town, or it is at a premium price.  There is a shop call Toddler Care that has a bunch of trinkets and games for young children.

Many families suggest to bring staple snacks to help transition kids over to new food and experiences.  Goldfish and fruit snacks (roll ups!) are not found in Rwanda.  Also, you may want to travel with a first aid kit to make things a bit easier and note that many house are built with hard tile, so you may want to make sure you have socks with the grips on them for walking around the home.


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