Tan France tells us his favorite parenting purchases—and how to shop savvy

You know Tan France as the impeccably dressed (and coiffed!) fashion expert from Queer Eye, the witty author of the memoir Naturally Tan, brilliant fashion designer, and all-around delightful TV personality. But at home, the 41-year-old is focused on a role that eclipses red carpets and runways–being a dad to two young sons, Ismail and Jayden.

In between seasons of making over people’s lives and styles, France recently took time out of his busy schedule to get real with Motherly about the day-to-day realities of parenthood. Even with two kids under three, he’s learned plenty of tricks for raising happy, healthy kids while still making time for his passions like cooking and entertaining. (Spoiler alert: He’s the kind of dad who has a Goodnight Moon themed “mouse house” built into the wall to enchant his boys. Yes, it’s as adorable and dreamy as it sounds.)

While we still need to hunt down a mouse house architect, France enthusiastically shared some of his favorite products, home design hacks, and money-saving strategies that have made managing the baby and toddler years significantly smoother.

Tan France’s parenthood must-haves

The Shusher

When friends first recommended the cult-favorite baby soother The Shusher, he was skeptical. “I thought, oh, that doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be useful,” he admitted. But the small, microphone-shaped device that recreates the”shush” sound proved to be a game changer for calming his fussy newborns. “After we introduced that, it really was massive for us,” France tells Motherly.

A sound machine

Another nursery essential France can’t live without? A sound machine to block external noise while his little ones are sleeping. “I’m a very keen cook and social person, which means I have friends over for dinner a lot, like a lot,” he explained. His gregarious hosting habits meant noise levels were often far from lullaby-conducive. Using a sound machine allowed France’s babies to snooze undisturbed while he could still entertain friends who are “are as loud, if not louder than I am.””It’s amazing what a difference that made to my life and to my sons’ lives,” he raved.

Yogasleep Dohm Classic Sound Machine

Tan on designing a safe, kid-friendly home

Ok, so stars may not be quite like us when they’re designing multimillion dollar homes which grace the pages of Architectural Digest, but that doesn’t mean every aspect is out of reach. When building his family’s stunning new home in Salt Lake City, France made implementing child safety features a priority from the start. In lieu of a coffee table that’s bound to get knocked into full blast by a toddler, he opted for a plush ottoman. Upstairs, soft carpeting replaces hardwood floors so the boys can tumble freely and without worry. Furniture with rounded edges prevents sharp corners from causing injuries. “Everything is rounded edged. They’re less likely to injure themselves, those kind of components were really important to consider when creating the home,” offers France.

Then there’s the aforementioned “mouse house.” Instead of a traditional nightlight, France went full magical storybook. Nestled in the hallway wall outside his boys’ rooms you’ll find a tiny door, and behind it a perfectly appointed diorama of Goodnight Moon. “Now my eldest son will read his book before bed in front of the mice every night, and he loves it,” France said. “It’s become a tradition in my home.”

Tan on how to shop savvy and never pay full price

Despite his luxurious lifestyle, France is financially savvy thanks to habits instilled by his frugal, immigrant parents. “I’m South Asian, I’m the child of immigrants, and any child of immigrants will tell you our parents love a deal, and therefore we love a deal,” he said. “It’s very rare I shop full price.”

His top money-saving strategy is the Citi Shop browser extension. “It means that when you’re shopping, you don’t need to try and hunt those deals down. They’re available to you immediately,” France explained. “I’m typically shopping online on my mobile phone while I’m on my way to the airport or on a flight. And so it just means I’m never missing out on a deal.”

Tan on his most recent purchases he wish he made sooner

Cushy toddler head protection

Have you ever been scrolling and impulse purchased a product you never knew existed and then wondered how you ever lived without it? Well, you’re in good company. That’s how France recently discovered a wearable teddy bear backpack designed to protect toddlers from falls. “It’s got straps as if it’s a backpack, but it’s basically a teddy bear, and when he falls backwards, he’s falling onto his teddy bear,” France described. He wishes he’d had it when his now 2.5-year-old son Ismail was learning to walk. “If I had had that with my eldest, life would have been so much calmer because he fell all the time.”

Toddler head cushion

Midnight feedings made effortless

For parents who formula feed, France cannot say enough good things about the Baby Brezza machine that allows you to make a warm bottle with just the press of a button. “You know when your baby’s screaming in the middle of the night and you think I can’t spend five minutes making this bottle and checking the temperature? It takes 30 seconds and your bottle is made. Life changer. Literally it’s like Starbucks for babies,” he raved.

Baby Brezza Pro Advanced Formula Mixer

As a doting dad juggling kids, career, and creative pursuits, Tan France seems to have his hands delightfully full these days. But with smart home designs, affordable shopping strategies, and innovative baby gadgets in his parenting arsenal, he’s ensuring his little ones thrive while doing it all in style.

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