Babysitter Checklist for Parents

I came up with the idea for this blog post and the creation of a babysitter checklist after a conversation I recently had with a babysitter of mine. As we chatted about her morning at the park with my daughter it dawned on me, what did I even tell her before she walked out the door with my child?  When it comes to working with new babysitters, I often find myself rambling a bunch of nonsense as I head out the door and then worry for the next 20 minutes about what I might have left out. Well, my days of worrying are over! Ok, maybe not all worries, but I’m done playing a game of memory each and every time someone watches my child. Out of frustration and a poor memory, my babysitter checklist was born.

Babysitter Checklist for Parents

In order to get a wide selection of checklist items {no two moms are exactly alike},  I asked some of my friends for their input. Depending on the age of your child and when your babysitter comes, during the day or at night, choose which items are applicable and create a list specific to your needs. Below is a helpful guide to get you started!

Babysitter Checklist for Parents 

The Basics:

  1. Go over your list of emergency contacts – your number {cell, work}, your spouse {cell, work} and at least one additional person who is reliable.
  2. Emergency contacts should be WRITTEN and kept in the same place – do not rely solely on cell phones.
  3. Discuss any allergies in detail, no matter how minor the potential reaction.
  4. Your child’s status for the day i.e.: just getting over a cold, a little cranky, or she’s in a great mood!
  5. If your child happens to be sick and requires a dose of medicine, be very specific with your instructions and write them down.
  6. Give a guided tour of your home, focusing on the kitchen and the nursery. Also, demonstrate how to use your stroller or any other applicable gear.

Mealtime Prep {include as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with}:

  1. Lay out a menu for the day, include portions for all foods and a schedule
  2. Explain or demonstrate for a new babysitter how to prepare the foods {i.e.: how small/large you cut up specific foods}
  3. Be clear with certain food items and personal sticking points {i.e.: I always cut grapes in half}
  4. Does your child drink milk or water with meals? Does he use a bib or utensils?

Sleeping:

  1. Provide a bed time and detail any “sleepy” cues to take notice of i.e.: becoming silly or clumsy
  2. Explain your child’s bedtime routine {i.e.: brush teeth, change diaper, read a book, turn on white noise machine and off to bed!}.
  3. Do you get your child if he or she cries through the night? How long do you wait before going in? If so, how do you handle it?

Playtime: 

  1. Be specific about seasonal gear for heading outdoors; hat, jacket, gloves, and shoes for the winter and sunscreen, hat, and a bathing suit for the summer {lay it out ahead of time}
  2. Are you ok with your child playing in the water, or with certain toys or playground equipment? BE SPECIFIC, no one knows your child like you do.
  3. Provide cues for “ready to go home” or “hungry” {i.e.: if she starts trying to eat everyone’s food..}.

Apartment Living specifics:

  1. If applicable, write down the lobby/door man contact information and how to operate the intercom {it’s not always intuitive}.
  2. Provide a quick rundown of where the fire exit stairs are located i.e.: to the left of the elevators

Regardless of what items make up your babysitter checklist, never be afraid to communicate with your caregiver. Whether you review a list of 50 items or simply say “have fun” and walk out the doorthere is no right or wrong way. Certain checklist items will vary depending on the age of your child and the experience of your babysitter, but it’s helpful to keep a running list for both you and your caregiver. Now that I’ve created a babysitter checklist, it’s time to press PRINT and keep this list available for next time! I think I see a date night in my near future…

What is on your go-to babysitter checklist?

xx
Anna

 

 

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

I’m writing today, The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler to say, I lived to tell the story. I’m back from vacation with all my limbs, most of my marbles, and absolutely wonderful memories from our European vacation. As I often admit on The Baby Bump Diaries, I’m not one for sugarcoating the truth and there were admittedly some tense moments throughout our vacation. I would unequivocally say yes to another trip, but I might need a few months to fully recover!

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

The challenges of traveling with a toddler
The challenges of traveling with a toddler, hmm, let me count the ways… The best way to describe the challenging moments would be to say this, when I expected the baby to melt, she did. On the first leg of our trip, we took a redeye flight to Zurich and it was difficult getting her to settle down and sleep {not a big shocker}. At 10pm, roughly three hours past her normal bedtime, we reached a breaking point. She was exhausted, most likely confused, and probably a little peeved at her parents for making her sleep on an airplane; fair enough. Thankfully, she finally settled down and slept for several hours {tips on how to get there, below}, but it was exhausting to say the least.

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

Aside from the flights, which were the most difficult part of the trip, I think the adjustment to the local food was probably second in line. In typical toddler fashion, she has her favorite foods: yogurt, cheese, various fruits, pasta, etc. Well, the slight variations in flavor and texture sent her on a food strike, which was a bit stressful. I scrambled to figure out what she would eat and it turned out to be bread and soft pretzels.  Yup, carbo-loading was her method of choice for handling her new environment; again, fair enough.

Mom guilt
One feeling I hadn’t anticipated on experiencing throughout the trip was guilt. There were certain moments, as I detailed above, when I felt bad for bringing her along. If I hadn’t wanted to travel to Europe, she wouldn’t have struggled to sleep on a plane, eat strange food, or sleep in an unfamiliar crib. As a mom, I am generally very regimented with daily naps in the crib, a schedule for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I rarely change it up. I tried as hard as I could to maintain some resemblance of her schedule, but it admittedly wasn’t easy.

Throughout the trip I also felt joy, excitement, and relief as I watched her run around, laugh, and play with some of the most beautiful backdrops in the world. As far as mom guilt is concerned, I think it’s important to know when enough is enough and not to push your own agenda to hard. My husband and I traveled to Europe with a very laid back schedule and understood the majority of our activities would be determined by our daughter.

The Truths of Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

Tips for surviving a trip overseas with a toddler: 

  • If you’re a first time parent {like me} and haven’t traveled a ton, observe other parents around you. On our flight to Zurich, a father methodically walked up and down the aisles {probably 50 times} with his son and eventually he became so bored/sleepy he passed out; my husband and I took notice and followed suit.
  • Another tip I picked up was to drape a blanket across the seat {the seat in front of you to the back of your seat} to create a tent. My daughter finally fell asleep around 10pm and we laid her down across a seat with the blanket draped overhead to shield the light.
  • Pack tons of food for the flight, don’t rely on the airline to provide anything resembling a healthy meal for your child {or you}.
  • A lightweight stroller was an absolute must for our trip. If you are traveling to a city, check out the public transportation and decide whether you need to bring a carseat {we did not}.
  • We did not purchase a plane ticket for our daughter, but the outgoing flight wasn’t full and we were able to snag an extra seat; game changer. Despite the cost {eek}, I would purchase her a seat if we had to do it all over again.
  • I think we were very lucky with the 6-hour time change, my daughter changed over the first night in Switzerland. Upon arriving at our hotel {11am local time, 5am EST} we all took a two hour nap and then ventured out for the day. The baby went to sleep at 8pm and was set for the remainder of the trip {I don’t deserve any credit for that}.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip. The biggest change from our previous trips sans baby was the lack of any nightlife activities, there were no late night dinners on this trip. We ate dinner most nights around 6pm and enjoyed a glass of wine in the hotel room afterwards. My biggest piece of advice for those who might be contemplating a similar trip is to not overbook yourself. Create a list of places you would like to see, but factor in time for slowly roaming around and stops at parks and playgrounds. As I wrote previously, traveling with a toddler is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, but you might need to let your little one pave the way a bit!

xx
Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

In my last travel post, I wrote about the start of our European vacation in Zurich, a lovely city to explore with kids. After a day and a half, it was time to pack up and head to Lake Lucerne, located an hour south of Switzerland’s largest city. Exploring Lucerne with a toddler was truly an unforgettable experience, with breathtaking views of both the Swiss Alps and the stunning lake, it is an absolute must-see if you are visiting Switzerland.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

14th Century Kapellbrucke

How to get to Lucerne via Zurich 
Lake Lucerne is located south of Zurich, approximately a 50 minute train ride from the city’s central train station {Bahnhofplatz 7}. Unbeknown to us, the train we booked had a small playground on the second level, which we discovered after hearing repeated shrieks and giggles from above. I LOVE the idea, but it’s a little hard to balance while on a moving train; it looked easier for the older kids.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler  Once we arrived in Lucerne, we were immediately blown away with the views of the Alps and the charming medieval city. Our hotel was situated several blocks away from Lake Lucerne and up the side of a mountain {yes, really}. After confirming with Google maps, we decided to walk the 20 minutes and stretch our legs after the train ride. Well, what Google maps neglected to point out was the elevation; we essentially hiked up a mountain with two suitcases, two carry-on bags, and a stroller with a 25 pound toddler inside. After we FINALLY arrived in the lobby, sweaty and panting, our lovely concierge pointed out the hotel’s private funicular (cable car) that transports guests to and from street level in 30 seconds; major fail.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

What to see in Lucerne
The city of Lucerne is extremely walkable, we never once thought of using a taxi and chose not to bring a carseat for that reason {we did our homework before traveling}. During our three day stay, we enjoyed a stroll around the Old City {Altstadt}, took an hour long boat tour of Lake Lucerne, walked the famous Chapel Bridge {Kapellbrucke} and the promenade along the lake, and saw Bourbaki’s Panorama {painted in 1881 by Edouard Castres}. We also visited The Lion Of Lucerne monument, a very moving tribute to the Swiss Guards who were massacred in the French Revolution in 1792.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

The Lion of Lucerne

One of my favorite activities throughout the entire trip was our afternoon spent atop Mount Rigi {known by locals as the ‘Queen of the Mountains’} and home of the first-ever cogwheel railway in Europe {it’s steep}. The train makes stops along the way to the top, where you will find a hotel, restaurants, shops, hiking trails, and small playgrounds scattered throughout the mountain. While taking in the views, I heard the beautiful sounds of Swiss cowbells ringing in the distance while my daughter splashed around in the rain puddles {we had our own ideas of “fun”}, it was truly an unforgettable experience.

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

The view from Mount Rigi, Lucerne Switzerland

 If you travel to Lucerne with kids…

Let me share a few tidbits of information if you decide to travel to Lucerne with a toddler or young child {you should}.

  • The only grocery store open on Sundays is located in the train station, it’s called COOP. The store carries a decent selection of baby items, I picked up a pack of Pampers.
  • A local informed us that Mount Rigi is more family-friendly than Mount Pilatus, which is part of the reason we chose to spend our afternoon there. Mount Pilatus, the higher of the two mountains, is mainly for the view and there were major clouds during our stay in Lucerne. Rigi has restaurants, hiking trails, playgrounds, hotels, etc., so you can easily spend a few hours exploring along the various train stops. Also, it’s not cheap, expect to pay about 100 Swiss Francs per person, kids are free.
  • Check with your hotel prior to arrival about their distance {and elevation} from the train station, don’t make our mistake of hiking up a mountain for no reason!
  • There is a beautiful farmers market {Unter der Egg, Bahnhofstrasse} in Lucerne on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6am-1pm {the blueberries were amazing!}.
Exploring Lucerne with a Toddler

Farmers Market in Lucerne, Switzerland

Hope you enjoyed the tour of Lucerne!

xx
Anna

 

A Parenting Milestone: Learning To Let Go

I was at the park recently, chasing my daughter around as she attempted to climb up and down the playground stairs, sneak underneath the jungle gym, and splash in any puddle she could find. In typical first-time-mom-fashion, I haphazardly tried to help her as she tackled a world that seemed much to big for her. After following her every move for a while, watching her successfully maneuver from one activity to another, I realized that maybe she didn’t need me as much as I thought; she can do this. The playground turned out to be pretty uneventful that day, not even a skinned knee, but we both learned a valuable lesson in learning to let go.

Learning To Let Go

Learning to let go is a process
Learning to let go is a process, it doesn’t happen over night. Starting with the moment I returned home from the hospital with my daughter, she began to change and grow. In such a fragile state, it’s almost impossible to imagine what your newborn will shortly become, a crawling, walking, running kid! On the park that day, the slide acted as the perfect metaphor for what I was feeling, I needed to let her go. I carefully placed her at the top of the slide, gave her a gentle push and watched her zoom down from above. She reached the bottom and turned back towards me with the most beautiful smile, she did it. And because this is real life and not a Lifetime movie, I slid down after to help her off and we carried on with our day.

Go at your own pace
The great thing about motherhood is that you get to be whoever you want to be, the type of mom YOU want to be. I tend to ere on the cautious side of life {I always have..} and this is reflected in my parenting. Why am I chasing around my daughter and another mom is comfortably watching from a distance? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. But what I do know is the wonderful thing about motherhood is that we can all go at our own pace and the same goes for our children. I know toddlers the same age as my daughter who are much more adventurous, carefree, and frankly, daring. Chances are, those kids were ready to face the slide alone much sooner than my daughter and their moms had to make the same decision at some point, do I let her go? 

Learning to let go

Thankfully, the process of learning to let go is gradual, our children aren’t born and out of the house in a week. As parents, we have many hours, days, weeks, months, and years to nurture and teach our children all that we can to prepare them for the outside world. Nowhere in the parenting handbook does it say this process will be easy or enjoyable at times, but it’s happening, each and every day. As a new mom, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I try to savor the moments and celebrate the small victories for her. The day at the park was a good day, even maybe a great day, and we both walked away with a bit of pride for what we had accomplished. Learning to let go, for both my daughter and I, is a process. We will take our time, create our own path, and end up right where we belong in the end.

How have you dealt with the process of learning to let go?

xx
Anna

 

Exploring Zurich with Kids

Zurich is often known as the business center of Switzerland and often overlooked when visiting the country with kids. However, despite only being in the city for less than 48 hours, exploring Zurich with kids is absolutely possible and enjoyable {just beware of the strong local cheese with your little one!}.

Zurich with Kids

Exploring Zurich with Kids
The city of Zurich is absolutely pristine, I was challenging myself to find roadside trash, homeless people, or anything remotely dirty and I found nothing. Zurich is typically European with it’s sidewalk cafes, espresso, and breathtaking architecture. We did a ton of walking and stroller pushing, which was exhausting but thankfully the tram service was available at most street corners to rescue us. The tram is handicap and stroller accessible, very easy to navigate, and most stops have ticket kiosks.

Zurich with Kids

Aside from our city gazing and occasional stop at a cafe, we visited Kunsthaus Zurich, the modern art museum. The museum features a ton of famous works, including pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Cezanne and a number of popular Swiss painters and sculptors. The museum also has a cafe in the lobby for grabbing a meal or beverage on the go. While the museum was very cool, it was unusually quiet and required a lot of “shhhh-ing”… if you’re at all concerned about your little one’s behavior, this might not be the place for you.

Zurich with Kids

A visit to Zurich with kids wouldn’t be complete without a walk along Lake Zurich. The beautiful lakeside promenade has cafes, green parks, lake entry points {yes, kids were swimming in the water}, swans and ducks, gelato carts, and stunning views of the hillside mountains. The promenade is the perfect spot to picnic and enjoy a break from a day of sightseeing.

Zurich with Kids

Relaxing along the Lake Zurich promenade

Aside from the toy museum {we skipped it}, I found several delightful toy shops, including Pastorini Spielzeug Ag {Weinplatz 3}, Franz Carl Weber {Bahnhofstrasse 62}, and Meinrad’s. Pastorini sells beautiful wooden toys, Franz Carl Weber is located on Zurich’s famous shopping street {think 5th Avenue} and Meinrad’s is filled with so many teddy bears the tiny shop might burst!

Zurich with Kids

Pastorini Spielzeug Ag

A Few {Parental} Observations
A guide is never complete without a few points to note:

  • Swiss cheese is REALLY pungent and unfortunately my daughter hated it. Grab a tomato, basil and mozzarella sandwich {found at any local cafe} and the mild flavored cheese should be much more appealing.
  • The consistency and flavor of yogurt is different from the US, don’t be surprised if your little one isn’t a fan. Try to find a plain or vanilla flavored yogurt for a compromise.
  • Swiss chocolate fixes EVERYTHING {gelato works as well}.
  • Catching an early dinner to accommodate the baby is no problem in Zurich {it is Europe after all} and the lakeside restaurants boast beautiful views.
  • The Zurich International Airport has an amazing Family Services Lounge located in departure areas A and E. The immaculately clean lounge has toys, changing tables, a crib, child sized utensils and so much more {it’s a parent’s dream, really}.
  • We didn’t make it, but check out the Zurich Zoo, it looks great!

Zurich with Kids

 

Next up, Lucerne!

xx
Anna

 

 

 

Summer Vacation in Europe

Hello from Switzerland! I am in full-on vacation mode right now, enjoying every second of our family trip to Switzerland and Sweden {still to come}. I wrote a post a few weeks back entitled 9 Reasons to Travel with a Toddler and I’m happy to report my reasonings have proven true thus far. As expected, the flight was a bit of a challenge, but we were all able to sleep {at one point} and I actually watched a movie, wow! I will have SO much to share when I return, but in the meantime I wanted to post a few pics and give you a little glimpse into our travels!

Zurich, SwitzerlandIt was a bit cloudy and rainy in Zurich, but the city is pristine and beautiful.

Zurich, Switzerland A taste of a Swiss classic, Fondu {it was as delicious as it looks}.

Lucerne, SwitzerlandThe view from our room on Lake Lucerne, it is truly breathtaking.

Lucerne, SwitzerlandTouring the old city in Lucerne, with a blue balloon.

Lucerne, SwitzerlandA birds eye view.

xx
Anna

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

I had the opportunity recently to sample a week’s worth of Blue Apron meals and what I found was a practical mealtime solution and inspired cooking all rolled into one box. As a busy Mom, finding the brain space to think of meals is a challenge, never mind the grocery shopping and meal preparation. I am always thinking of ways to spend more time with my family and less time in the grocery aisles and Blue Apron offers a way to do just that.

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Heirloom Tomato & Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Dijon Green Beans

About Blue Apron
Blue Apron delivers local and artisan ingredients right to your door, which means you can skip the grocery store all together and spend more time where it matters. Opening a box is reminiscent of Christmas morning and finding all the ingredients perfectly portioned brings the celebration to a different level, like new-pink-bike-level. Also inside each box are recipe cards with a list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions and accompanying pictures, Blue Apron is essentially a cook-by-numbers service {a.k.a very hard to screw up}. If you’re a Blue Apron subscriber you get to specify your meal preferences {i.e. vegetarian} and enjoy different meals from week to week.

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Meals
The chef-designed meals are inspired, creative, easy to follow, and downright delicious. The three meals I created were Cod and Pattypan Squash En Papillote, Hatcho Miso Soba Noodles, and Heirloom Tomato and Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, yum. On average, preparing a Blue Apron meal takes approximately 40 minutes and costs $9.99 per person/meal. The detailed instructions are extremely easy to follow for a non-master chef like myself and what I loved about the particular meals I sampled were the diversity of the ingredients, who knew Pattypan Squash even existed? Not me! I stepped out of my comfort zone by cooking with new ingredients and techniques to produce some really awesome meals; win-win for everyone, especially my husband who ate like a king, but later did all the dishes {thank you}.

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For MomBlue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Is Blue Apron For You?
Obviously my perspective is that of a busy, work-from-home Mom and the reasons I loved my taste of Blue Apron was because of the convenience: door to door service {the food is sent in a refrigerated box to maintain freshness}, no trip to the grocery store with my 17-month-old-daughter, the portioned ingredients {eliminates waste} and the opportunity to impress my husband with some stellar meals. If you are a Mom looking for the same conveniences or looking to spruce up a date night in, Blue Apron is certainly worth a look.

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Cod & Pattypan Squash En Papillote with Garlic Butter & Fresh Herb Salad

Blue Apron Offers Mealtime Solutions For Mom

Hatcho Miso Soba Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes & Candied Cashews

If you’re interested in trying Blue Apron because you are new to cooking, love to cook, are in a recipe rut, or because the sky is blue today, I have an awesome savings to pass onto my first 50 readers, 30% off your first Blue Apron order, redeemable here. Who doesn’t love to save time and money?

Happy cooking, everyone!

Thank you to Blue Apron for sample meals. As always, opinions expressed are my own. 

 

Learning to Let Dad Parent

I have been inspired lately by the role of Dad, I wrote about this a few months back and have seen similar minded pieces {Scary Mommy} popping up all over the place, including this post entitled Letting Daddy In {Well Rounded NY}. From my perspective of a work-from-home-mom, I am front and center as the primary caregiver. In order to maintain my sanity however and avoid a true 24 hours a day, 7 days a week position, I am learning to let Dad parent {albeit a little slowly}.

I am Learning to Let Dad Parent

Relinquishing Control
I am learning to let my husband aka Dad parent, but it isn’t always easy. Throughout the week when I am home solo with my daughter we have a system, a schedule and a certain way of doing things. What we eat for breakfast, where we eat it, lunchtime, naptime, and everything in between. My daughter is older now, but for a long time she would only be put to sleep by me, not Dad. Certain adjustments can be made with age, but the sooner Dad is a part of the equation, the sooner you will start to feel comfortable and begin to relinquish control. Involve Dad is your daily routines {when he’s home or on the weekends}, show him how you prepare, serve and cleanup after a meal, let him read the bedtime story or be the first to greet your little one in the morning; the small, seemingly insignificant tasks will begin to add up.

Give yourself a break
As a Mom I often struggle with the notion of striving to do everything when it comes to raising my daughter, but there comes a point when you just need a break. Several months ago, I told my husband that every weekend {when it was feasible} I needed to leave the apartment at least once by myself, whether it was to meet up with a friend, go for a pedicure or even grocery shop. I needed an opportunity to miss my daughter, even if it was for 20 minutes at a time. In my experience, my husband was more than happy to take the reins and enjoy some alone time with her, especially without me telling him what to do the entire time.

I am Learning to Let Dad Parent

Watch Dad flourish
In my opinion, the absolute best part about learning to let Dad parent is actually watching him parent! I truthfully feel no greater joy than watching my daughter run to the door every night and greet my husband when he comes home from work. The love she has for him is just amazing and I’m so happy I’ve learned to step aside a bit to allow their relationship to flourish. Whether it’s designated daily tasks or on random occasions, give your husband the opportunity to parent in his own way, meaning without a laundry list of do’s and don’t. Let Dad pick out the kid’s clothes {eek}, make a meal or take a solo trip to the park. As difficult as it may be, allowing Dad a seat at the ‘parenting table’ will prove to be beneficial for the entire family!

Do you allow Dad to truly parent?

xx
Anna

 

 

 

 

9 Reasons To Travel With A Toddler

When I title a blog post, 9 Reasons To Travel With A Toddler, you know I’ve just about lost my mind. Day to day life with a toddler can be a challenge, never mind throwing a trip into the mix to really shake things up. I might be the smartest or least intelligent person on the planet, but I’m leaving soon for a trip to Switzerland and Sweden with my 17-month-old-daughter. Yup, we are going for it. I am really looking forward to the trip and I’ll share with you my reasons to travel with a toddler, the reasons that lead my husband and I to take the plunge (not marriage, just the idea of boarding a plane with a toddler using our own free will).

9 Reasons To Travel With A Toddler

1. Toddlers Can Be A lot of Fun
My daughter giggles harder and smiles brighter than most people I know, including myself. In moments of traveling chaos, toddlers provide the perfect dose of comic relief and always find a way to lighten the mood, even if they are responsible for causing the chaos in the first place.

2. Toddlers Go To Bed Early
A little tidbit about myself, I’m not much of a party animal these days; I really enjoy a glass of wine and a peaceful night in. Trendy nightlife spots are all I came across when researching our vacation and honestly, I’m thrilled my daughter goes to bed early and provides me with a valid excuse for skipping out. :) 

3. Toddlers Rise Early
Carpe Diem, everyone! My human alarm clock of a daughter never lets me skip a beat in the morning and thankfully I’ve learned to appreciate the idea of hitting the streets before most people have even woken up.

4. Toddlers Appreciate The Little Things
While adults look at the 7,000 pound elephant, a toddler points out the colony of ants marching at his feet. It’s the little things that make all the difference in the eyes of a child and I’m happy for the reminder every once and a while.

5. Toddlers Are Small
The simple fact that toddlers are small make them wonderful travel companions. Toddlers can share beds, sit on laps, fit in strollers, be held when times get tough, and best of all, their clothes are tiny and don’t take up much room in a suitcase.

6. Toddlers Sleep In Cars
If any leg of a trip includes traveling by car, I know I’m usually in for a peaceful ride with my daughter; turn on the ignition and she’s half asleep already.

7. Toddlers Can Get You Upgraded With Their Cuteness
I can’t personally attest to this, but I’ve heard of first class plane seats being offered up because either the child is SO incredibly cute or someone just feels really bad for Mom or Dad. Here’s to hoping someone feels really bad for me next week! :)

8. Toddlers Eat For Less
Restaurants these days serve up quite the impressive kid’s menu, so much so that I often want to order a meal for myself: belgium waffles, homestyle mac and cheese, and fish tacos are a few I’ve come across lately. Despite the “adult-like” offerings, many times the meals are a fraction of the cost; cheers to more wine for Mom!

9. Viewing The World Through The Eyes Of A Toddler…Is Priceless 
As a parent, there is nothing more exciting, rewarding, and sweet than seeing your child discover something new for the first time. Traveling brings together family (for better or worse), promotes the exploration of different cultures, and creates memories to last a lifetime.

Don’t be afraid to travel with a toddler, whether you plan a trip within driving distance or 5,000 miles away. While it’s true that young children can be difficult at times, you might be pleasantly surprised with their resiliency and sense of exploration. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you need to give up exploring, it just requires changing the way you travel; seize the years of toddlerhood and take the opportunity to see the world through their eyes, you just might enjoy yourself. :)

xx
Anna

Exploring Governors Island with Kids

Governors Island, located in New York Harbor and only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, is a former military base that was redeveloped and opened to the public in 2005. Since it’s opening, the island has undergone a number of additional developments to reinvent the space, the most recent finishing up prior to the start of the 2014 season. Exploring Governors Island with kids is the perfect NYC summertime activity, with acres of open green lawns, mini-golf, food stands, and historic buildings stemming from the late 1700′s.

Governors Island with Kids

Explore The History of Governors Island 
Governors Island has served many uses over the years, but primarily as a US military base for roughly 200 years before it was turned over to the Coast Guard in 1966. If you visit the island today, you will still find Castle WilliamsFort Jay, and Colonels Row, all part of the former military base.

When I visited the island recently with my parents, husband and daughter, we particularly enjoyed walking around Fort Jay and the former military barracks; they have a very cool air of desertion and spookiness. If your kids are old enough, Governors Island serves as the perfect destination for an impromptu summer history lesson, a win for everyone. :)

Governors Island with (young) Kids
At 16-months, my daughter was a bit young to appreciate the historic structures, but she certainly enjoyed running on the green lawns, the make-shift library (a mother’s dream) and the stellar views of the Manhattan and Jersey skylines. Ok, maybe it was me who enjoyed the views…

Governors Island with Kids

View of Manhattan from Governors Island

The picture above was taken from the island’s waterfront promenade and ‘WOW’ was all I could say, it was beautiful. The promenade is a great spot to sit and city gaze or ride a bike. In fact, the entire island is very bike-friendly and you can even rent a wide selection of bikes, including multiple-seaters.

For entertainment purposes, the mini-golf, playhouse, green lawn (there are many) and installation structures are all located on the island’s Parade Grounds and a small library can be found adjacent to Castle Williams

Governors Island with Kids

Governors Island with Kids

Governors Island with Kids

The island is also home to a number of food trucks and stands, and a cool new area called Hammock Grove that features swingings hammocks for visitors of all ages to enjoy. We treated ourselves to a delicious Blue Marble ice cream cone, perfect on a hot summer day!

Governors Island with Kids

All in, I think Governors Island is a great place to visit with kids for the following reasons:

  • Location, location, location – it’s SO close to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey
  • The ferries run every 30 minutes, check the schedule for week vs. weekend times
  • The island is small enough to walk, run, bike, skip or hop your way around
  • The delicious food choices are aplenty
  • The island has a mini library for kids (yay)
  • Explore the historic buildings and churches scattered throughout the island
  • Governors Island hosts special events, check the calendar ahead of your trip
  • The open fields, mini-golf, clubhouse, and swingings hammocks are perfect for kids of all ages

Hi Manhattan, see you in a few minutes.

Governors Island with Kids

xx
Anna