16 Places To Visit With Kids In Johannesburg (when you are stuck for ideas)

Johannesburg offers many places to visit with kids

I moved to Johannesburg more than ten years ago, and I love it.  I found a number of places in Johannesburg where you can take kids.

The below list are places in Johannesburg I have personally visited (not a a desk top based exercise).

[bctt tweet=”16 Places To Visit With Kids In Johannesburg (when you are stuck for ideas)” username=”cherralle_”]

 

16 Places To Visit With Kids In Johannesburg

places to take kids in johannesburg

 

Picnic Spots

Walter Sisulu Gardens

Walter Sisulu Gardens are beautiful botanical gardens with gorgeous picnic spots. Pack a picnic basket and you are set. Or eat in at the restaurant on the premises. Definitely one of the top places to visit with kids in Johannesburg.

Emmarentia Dam and Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

One of our most visited picnic spots is the Emmarentia Dam and Botanical Gardens

You can feed the ducks, picnic, go for a run or just laze about.

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Delta Park

Delta Park  (situated in Victory Park) is one of the largest parks in Johannesburg. The park has a great picnic area as well as a playground for kids. In addition, we did two family photo shoots here and the scenery was lovely!

RELATED: Flying With Children: What To Pack for a Toddler On A Plane

Animal Parks and Zoos

Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo situated in Parkview was one of the spots we visited often before and after we had children. Visiting the zoo is a lovely day out with the kids.

Pretoria Zoo

Not far you can also find the Pretoria Zoo. The Pretoria Zoo is the largest in South Africa and boasts an Aquarium and Reptile Park. So, I had to add this in here!

Montecasino Bird Gardens

When you stroll through the beautiful Montecasino Bird Gardens, you would not say you are in the heart of Fourways. The Montecasino Bird Gardens also offer a fun Flight of Fantasy bird show during weekdays and weekends at set times.

Tres Jolie

A bit of a mix between eating spots and an animal park, Tres Jolie has a touch and feed animal farm. The kids can also ride a camel! Based in Muldersdrift, its a bit of a drive but so worth it. We attended a kiddies party at Tres Jolie, and it was absolutely lovely! Worth the drive.

Kid Friendly Restaurant Spots in Johannesburg

places to take kids in johannesburg

 

Nostimos

Based in Waterfall, Nostimos is a family focused restaurant. Nostimos boasts a safe playground with a mini art centre for kids, starting at R 20 for the little ones to paint an object that they can take home. The adult and kids menu is tasty! I often want to eat my children’s food.

Kiddilicious

Kiddilicious is a Family Lifestyle Centre based in Bedfordview. Centered around providing a relaxing and fun environment for children and parents it caters to your every need.

Everything you need under one roof, such as, multiple play areas for kids, mom and daughter spa, on site toy store, etc.

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Bambanani

Bambanani is  a quaint boutique style family restaurant based in Melville.  At the time of my visits Caitlyn was little and I found Bambanani particularly suitable for toddlers. As parents we know that not all play areas are made equal. The menu is divine, and the restaurant aims to provide adults and children with tasty meals and a relaxed vibe.

Papachinos

Cannot leave Papachinos off a list of family friendly eating spots! Papachinos Fourways is the one I have visited the most. It has a fun play area – one for little toddlers and one of older kids. To me, this is an important distinction as I need my children to play in a safe environment. Food is absolutely delicious!

RELATED: A Stay At The Cavern Drakensberg Resort & Spa: A Family Friendly Holiday

Indoor Fun

BOUNCE

Join the free-jumping revolution at Bounce indoor trampoline park. Another favourite.

Local library

Okay, I am going to be a nerd and add the library to the list. I take my four year old to the library twice a month or so (or once a month then we get fined!). We take at least one book. We spend only as much time in the library as she wants to. That can be five minutes or thirty minutes.

Yeesh

Situated in Woodmead, Yeesh offers parents a space to relax and chill in the coffee bar while the kids are entertained. Yeesh is set up in a huge warehouse in Woodmead and is an indoor play centre for kids. Oh, and they have free WI-FI!

RELATED: 15 Funny Mom Sayings (for moms with a sense of humour)

Johannesburg Theme Parks

Gold Reef City

Gold Reef City is one of the largest theme parks in Johannesburg. The theme park caters for all ages, there is something for everyone, and kids of all ages LOVE it.

Family Friendly Markets

Fourways Farmer’s Market

The Sunday Fourways Farmer’s Market is a a special place for adults and children. Open on Sundays from 09h00 until 16h00, so you can drop by for breakfast, brunch or lunch!

Grab your eats, sit down and enjoy, while you watch the little ones play! You may also have a picnic here.

 

There you have it! Any other place I must go see?

Are you Thinking of Hiring A Sleep Consultant? Here is Our Story To Help You Decide

Hiring a sleep consultant is just not something that is spoken of openly, it is almost ‘frowned upon’  (well that was how I felt).

With our second baby (Little Sis), I started thinking of hiring a sleep consultant. We engaged with a sleep consultant (Good Night Baby) when she was 6 weeks old.

Now, you might think that it is too soon. However, it was a positive experience for me as I had someone who could guide me into how to start with healthy habits from the beginning.

Let me get a few things out the way before some people get upset.

At this age there is NO sleep training.  There are NO reducing of feeds. There is NO hard and fast rules about soothing your baby.

The only rule is to be gentle, loving and soothe baby when she needs it. The point of establishing good healthy habits from the start is that it negates the need to do any sleep training later on.

[bctt tweet=”The point of establishing good healthy habits from the start is that it negates the need to do any sleep training later on.” username=”cherralle_”]

My first born (who is four years old now) slept well from an early age.  Or maybe I just had the time and energy to try out different things? I am slightly OCD when it comes to routines.

Returning to work after maternity leave

One motivating factor for me is that I wanted my baby to be on a routine by the time I returned to work from maternity leave.

For me, this was important.

I trusted our nanny; however, I wanted to be able to know that my baby will get the sleep and feeds she needs during the day. I needed to establish a flexible routine that also helped my nanny in her day with my baby.

What does a routine for a newborn mean?

baby sleep consultant

For me it meant, being consistent and building healthy habits from the start.

With two girls home with me, I found it hard to be consistent.  Bedtime was stressful as  I was running around with the two girls.

When thinking of hiring a sleep consultant it is important to discuss goals with your sleep consultant.

Utterly overwhelmed, everything got to me.

You see, I am not a ‘natural’ when it comes to parenting – everything is just hard and so was transitioning to two.

I was also snapping a lot with my eldest (who was three years old at the time).  I wrote here about how hectic it was coming home with baby number two and then when I calmed down, I wrote here about my tips and learning about juggling a three-year-old and a newborn. You see, I evolved.

Establishing healthy sleep habits is good for baby and the family.

With Little Sis, I was more motivated to seek out a sleep consultant. I did not have the energy and time as I did when I had only one child. With two children things needed to happen. I operate well with some form of structure. I know myself.

How did it work?

As soon as I started thinking of hiring a sleep consultant I contacted Good Night Baby online, and I received a questionnaire to complete. Carla (the sleep consultant) emailed me, and we arranged to meet at my house.

We discussed:

  • the sleep space for baby, where she slept at that point.
  • Current bedtime and bath time routine  (this was a disaster so after this I implemented a consistent routine)
  • We chatted about my parenting style and how my baby was doing (I felt this was important because each baby is a unique individual)
  • I was given tracking document to fill out during the day to pick up patters. I appreciated this.
  • We also discussed follow up support, if I had any questions or concerns.

 

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A newborn action plan (which was not sleep training) contained:

  • Tips on how to soothe my new baby
  • What type of routine is suited to a little one
  • What to expect at the various stages as she gets older
  • Understanding sleep
  • How to put her down to sleep
  • We fed the baby as per usual, as at this age there is no reduction of bottles and baby stayed her 2.5 – 3-hour feeding routine for a long time until she started solids

 

Based on our circumstances, Carla developed newborn guide document for me. It had a structured way to approach the day, but included personalisation.

As the baby is a newborn, there are no hard and fast rules it is just a gentle approach to building healthy sleep. Example, at the time, I sat with Ava when she fell asleep with my hand on her, so that was factored in.

Accountability partner

A sleep consultant also served as an accountability partner to ensure that I could feel confident in doing what I needed to do. I did not think my husband, family or friends wanted to discuss my newborn sleep issues. As all consuming as it was for me, it was not interesting for other people. We are supposed to ‘enjoy every moment’ at that point. Right?

So, I liked having someone I could pop an email to in need. Someone who got what I was trying to do.

Once the littlest was on a routine, I also had more time to spend with Big Sissy too (she was only three years old and needed me too).

And did it work?

By the time I went back to work she was able to put herself to sleep for naps and bedtime. The naps were still 30 minutes only. But when I returned to work it lengthened by itself – like it was a developmental stage.

Little Sis is 18 months now, and she has always been a darling sleeper.  Of course she has her moments of regression and issues now and then. But we keep track of her routine and adjust it as she grows up.

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I bet as soon as I hit publish Murphy’s Law will change my darling sleeper!

Tell me, have you been thinking of hiring a sleep consultant?

What Working Moms Ought To Know About Attending Daytime School Events

How on Earth Does Working Moms Manage To Attend Daytime School Events?

I often catch myself wondering if schools are built around at least one parent not working full time.

Dealing with the competing demands of daytime school events  plus meetings and deliverables in the office is a reality for working moms and dads.

RELATED: Dear Working Mother: Here Is How To Leave Work On Time

Current example

We have puzzle mornings taking place this term and parents are encouraged to sign up and join in  (sessions are 7h30am – 08h45am). A well-meaning comment from someone (I am not mentioning names but you know who you are): “are you only doing one puzzle morning, I see moms’ names down four to five times.”

Hold your horses buddy; I don’t look at what other parents do. I look at what I can do based on my circumstances.

I am sorry, I cannot just attend stuff happening at 8 am whenever I feel like it.

[bctt tweet=”I will do what I can based on my circumstances. I will not compare myself to other parents. Comparison is the thief of joy.” username=”cherralle_”]

Do not forget the important stuff

You don’t want your child to be the one child who did not wear slippers on Slipper Day (I did not forget this, by the way, it is merely an example).

Once I forgot that it was Barefoot Day (the fact that this is a thing was news to me). Thankfully, this was quite easily solved – her shoes were just removed. Close one!

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Then there is the omniscient Newsletter

Our weekly Newsletter is an all important document.  I have dubbed it: The Newsletter of Truth.

The Newsletter Of Truth pretty much controls my life. I look forward to reading it on a Friday afternoon!

Newsletter of Truth Rules

  1. If something is not in the Newsletter, it is not happening *
  2. If something is in The Newsletter, it is happening *
  3. If you have a question, first check The Newsletter

 

*No one can override the Newsletter of Truth, no one.

I joke, but in all fairness, the newsletter is packed with important information.  Such as show and tell themes for that week and any other things they need to bring to school. It really is zero effort to read it.

Top Tip: Buy a kiddie encyclopedia (with lots of pictures). This will cover the most show and tell topics.

Now, on a serious note. Although I like ranting and raving about the school stuff, I do enjoy taking part in my child’s education.

I don’t see education as something happening in school with a teacher. Education happens in school with parents and caregivers participating. It also happens at home.

Here is what I have learned over the last few years. I am a work in progress and by no means achieve this all the time.

What Working Moms Ought To Know About Attending Daytime School Events

 

working mom_attend preschool event

Plan ahead of time

A calendar is issued ahead of time (termly or monthly) allows parents to plan ahead. When you get the calendar, block out your work diary asap. The keyword here is ‘work diary.’ Not your personal google calendar.

Just block it out, and you can then work around that time. If any work meetings has to be scheduled, people will see that you are busy! And then you are in control of what you can and cannot make.

You can always work around work commitments and then decide which school events you can make.

RELATED: Leaving Your Baby At Daycare For The First Time: Top Tips for Mom and Baby

Prioritise

You may not attend the school baking day, but you would prefer to attend the sports day as you regard this as more important. It is okay to pick and choose the ones that you will attend.

Share the load

If both parents are up for it, you can make an arrangement where each parents takes a turn to attend a school function.

Currently, my husband and I split the school daytime events where it makes sense for us. Although, I do a bit more events as he takes the children to the doctor. That is what works for us right now.

Open communication with the teacher

Chat with your child’s school teacher at the start of the term about what you can and cannot make.

Teachers can step in and take care of kids whose parents don’t arrive. I have seen it at school functions where the teacher steps in. In this way, it is still a fun day for the children.

Yes, it is very challenging. However, active participation in our child’s schooling is essential. So, we need to make a plan.

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Some moments are priceless – and trade offs will be needed

I always think, I am not making the mothers tea at school, but I am making a meeting at work (let’s be honest, all meetings are not equally important). Where will be my presence make the most impact?

Seeing the joy on my daughter’s face when I catch her eye as she is sitting in class. I watch her as she nudges her friend next to her and tells her friend ‘There is MY mommy‘. That is priceless.

Yes we want to excel at work and pay the bills, but I think we should try.  Booking leave is an option if we need to.  And prioritize the most important events.

But try we have to.

How do you manage to attend daytime school events?

[bctt tweet=”Some moments are priceless – and trade offs will be needed to experience those moments” username=”cherralle_”]

 

 

Stay Relevant – How You Can Build In Demand Digital Skills For Free

To build digital skills we need to dip in and out of learning our whole careers

The world is digital.  Therefore, we are living in a world of endless opportunities.

Not only are our current jobs changing, but a host of new jobs are being created as a result of the digital revolution. For example, a Social Media Community Manager role was a new role when I started working in Corporate in 2008, now every brand worth their salt needs a Community Manager.

Digital has a place in every single career in this world. Have you heard about the robot lawyers

[bctt tweet=”Education is not a once off event. Due to the evolution of digital, we all need to dip in and out of learning our whole careers.” username=”cherralle_”]

 

Witnessing the digitization of our workplaces should not scare us.

I choose to see it as an opportunity for growth in our careers and businesses.

Learning digital skills has become incredibly accessible, with a range of free online courses available.

Remember, people and companies with the highest digital literacy will remain the most relevant.

RELATED: #CosmoHustle2018 Career Workshop: My 15 Key Take-Outs

What this means in your role, business and industry will continue to evolve.

What exactly is digital literacy?

As defined by  LearningLiftOff.Com, “Digital Literacy is more than simply knowing how to use digital tools. It is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and analyze information using digital technology. It’s also about knowing what to share and who to share it with“.

What approach can you adapt to stay relevant in your career?

build digital skills

Read

Expand your horizon by reading. Follow blogs to learn about the latest developments in your industry.

RELATED: The Side Hustle: 6 Things You Need to Start Now

Experiment

Try a digital project.

Think of something in your current role that you can drive or participate in that has a digital element. An example could be automation or could be building a corporate social media platform.

Disrupt yourself

I love this phrase, it is corny but resonates with me. Also, you disrupt yourself when you are learning something new and applying it. Be open-minded and embrace new ways of doing things.

 

[bctt tweet=”Disrupt yourself by learning something new and applying it.” username=”cherralle_”]

 

Self – Educate

In today’s age of information, there is no reason not to develop yourself.  It is free!

Get uncomfortable

Here is how to build digital skills. And it is free! I have personally tried out most these platforms, and there are many more.

[bctt tweet=”Learn digital to expand your knowledge. There are many free ways to do this” username=”cherralle_”]

These free online courses listed here may serve three needs:

  • Small business owners who want to get an understanding of how to build their online presence
  • If you as an individual want to understand digital and add a skill set to your repertoire
  • Students who have not yet decided what they want to study, and want to do something  that is less of a commitment

Stay Relevant: How To Build In Demand Digital Skills For Free

build digital skills for free
Digital Skills for Africa with Google

Digital Skills for Africa is a one-stop shop to master digital marketing, offered by Google.

Furthermore, once you access the Digital Skills for Africa website, you have access to a full topic library.

Capture your goals on the tool and it then recommends relevant topics. It is simply cool. If you are a small business owner you can utilize this tool to understand how to build your online presence.

The learning library contains the following topics:

  • Building a presence online
  • Connecting through email
  • Get found through search campaigns
  • How to Use Analytics
  • Unpacking Social Media
  • Online Advertisements
  • Building an online shop

 

These topics are not set out to make you an expert on a topic. However, it creates a foundation for learning and experimentation.

RELATED: 7 Things To Look For In A Job (Besides Salary)

Hubspot  Marketing Certification Courses

The Hubspot Inbound certification course provides an overview of how to attract customers to your website through engaging content and interactions.  Therefore, it is another useful course for small business owners, or students who want to gain an understanding of how to operate a business online. Many other courses are available depending on your need.

The Certification course covers:

  • Optimizing your website for search engines
  • Content Marketing
  • Inbound Marketing (Blogging, Website optimization, etc.)
  • Email Marketing and more!

 

This is a great way to understanding how you can leverage digital in any role you have. In the event that you play a business support role or you are client facing you can benefit from these courses. Pick one and give yourself 30 minutes. Only 30 minutes to learn something new.

Coursera

For a more general learning platform, Coursera offers a range of courses taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions. Courses include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.

The free part is mostly the videos and to get the graded work you need to pay.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is focused on team learning and offers companies and teams an opportunity to customize a learning package that is relevant to the group. The programme provides a one month free trial period.

Discover the in-demand business, tech and creative skills with personalized recommendations and courses taught by industry experts. Build your skill set by watching bite-sized video courses anytime, anywhere.

Let’s connect!

You can find me at the following links: Instagram; TwitterOur Facebook PagePinterest.

The Real Truth About Dealing With A 4 Year Old (well mine at least!)

Okay,  I don’t mean all four-year-olds are a problem. But damn, my one is challenging. I guess that is the beauty of parenting. You take the good, the bad and the tantrums. I always believe that there is no manual. There are some common themes, but all of our children are unique. This is my little rant so bear with me.

RELATED: My Daughter is Bossy, Here is Why I Am Okay With It

Firstly, we had the terrible two’s and threes, and things were finally calming down at age four.

However, it was a false sense of calm. Little did I know what lies beneath. Also as she is ‘Big Sissie’ this comes with an additional set of challenges.

Although the tantrums have become less, they have become higher grade tantrums.

[bctt tweet=”Although the tantrums are less, they are now Higher Grade tantrums” username=”cherralle_”]

More intense.

Stronger opinions.

Bigger emotions.

Endless questions.

Questions asked all the time.

Things that don’t work anymore:

Bribery

Bribes don’t work, because she can work it so that she gets the thing that you are bribing her with and still go for what she wants.

Talking her out of things

Try to reason with a four-year-old.

Don’t worry I’ll wait.

You have the spunk of a three-year-old (that does not go away guys), and the vocabulary of a four-year-old, and the mood of a thirteen-year-old on your hands. Plus sometimes the energy of an energizer bunny.

Then again, sometimes the energy of an older person. “I am so tired. I can’t walk”, she pronounces. Suitably timed to be when things are not going her way,

Distraction

Distraction does not work. She is focused and determined. Wild horses cannot take this little one off her path when she has set herself a goal.

 

Tips for managing your 4-year-old’s behavior

At every stage, it is essential to get to you know your child. There is no manual. Here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with your four-year-old

Focus on the positive, always reinforce positive behavioural traits

Catch them doing something right and recognise that. If they go ahead and brush their teeth, why not say something encouraging?

Maintain a routine for your 4-year old

Waking up, eating times, bedtime, etc.

Give your child choices whenever appropriate

Example, getting dressed give them two acceptable choices. Just for the record, this does not work out with Big Sissy. She looks at my two ‘acceptable’ options and then goes to her cupboard.

Try to always respond calmly

This is so HARD! I am a shouter mom, but I am working on it!

In conclusion

Each phase has its challenges, and this too shall pass!

I also stumbled across this article about tantrum taming phrases to use with a 3 – 4 year olds that might give you some tools to use.

RELATED: Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

A Stay At The Cavern Drakensberg Resort & Spa: A Family Friendly Holiday

the cavern family friendly

The Cavern Resort: A Family Friendly Holiday Destination (A Review)

When I say The Cavern is family friendly – I mean it. The resort has everything that would make  your life easy if you are a family who lives an active lifestyle (a lot of walking). It was perfect for our family of four.

For me, family friendly is a destination that is built to entertain children and adults alike.

[bctt tweet=”A family friendly holiday destination, catering for adults and children alike!” username=”cherralle_”]

The resort and its amenities are also built to give parents a little bit of a break to relax. Because, let’s face it sometimes a holiday with kids is still pretty much  still work.

The Family Friendly Features that stood out for us:

  • Safe and fun play area for kids (outside and inside)
  • Kids’ dining room
  • Free childcare and fun for kids while adults eat alone (don’t hide it, we all want to eat alone!)
  • If you prefer, you may eat with your children
  • Childcare for times other than meal times
  • Structured activity times for kids (30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon)
  • And last not least, three AMAZING meals per day for adults and children. My one-year-old and four-year-old both ate at all meals! Well, of course at certain times play was more critical to my 4-year-old.

 

Here is a full review of our stay at The Cavern.

A Stay At The Cavern Drakensberg Resort: A Family Friendly Holiday

the cavern drakensberg family hike

Travel

Situated in KwaZulu Natal, the Cavern is adjacent to the Royal Natal National Park and the Amphitheatre. We live in Johannesburg, and it took us about 3.5 hours to get here.  We also met a few families who flew in from Cape Town or overseas.

The drive was pleasant, and we made a stop or two along the way to stretch our legs.

Arrival

It was our second time visiting The Cavern. Again it has not failed to impress. From the moment you arrive, you feel welcomed. The beauty of the surrounding valleys and mountains is breathtaking.

Well kept and fresh rooms welcomed us after check-in. We stayed in a two bedroom cottage which was right for us! Coincidentally, it was the same cottage we stayed in when we came the first time in 2016.

the cavern drakensberg family friendly

Food

All I can say is that the food is delicious.

All meals were sit down, and the elegant menu caters for all tastes. Breakfast was sit down, and it also differed each day. From Eggs Benedict, Omelettes to Salmon and Crème Fraiche. Lunch was a buffet (different each day).

Dinner was a three-course meal.

The children’s menu was a kid-friendly version of the adult meals.  With kids, you never really know, as it can be a hit an a miss despite your efforts. The kids were treated to a marshmallow braai on the weekend, which was EPIC for my four-year-old.

Eating times were set, but there was some flexibility.
Example kids eat breakfast at 7h30am, lunch at 12h30pm and dinner at 17h30pm. The only issue here is that Caitlyn was not hungry at 07h30am and only ate a bowl of cereal. A bowl of cereal would not last beyond 10 am. However, we usually kept her real breakfast of egg, bacon, etc. packed away in the fridge until she was hungry after 10h00am.

Activities

The cavern has a full range of activities available.

Activities we partook in were:

  • Pony rides for kids aged 3 +
  • 10:00 – 10:30 Structured activities for kids 3 – 7 years
  • 15:00 – 15h:30 Structured activities for kids 3 – 7 years
    These are fun activities for the kids guided by a class nanny. The outdoor activities involved outside walks and fun on the slippery slide on the warmer days. On cooler days it involved art indoors.
  • Light Family Hike/ Walk. As Ava is still little, we did a gentle walk/stroll on two days on our own. You may also request a snack bag to be prepared for you. Caitlyn (who is four years old) absolutely loved the walking!
  • Horse riding
  • Guided hikes (at varying degrees of difficulty)

 

the cavern drakensberg review play area

For the adults

The Cavern has a whole host of activities available within the resort or nearby.

The Cavern also has a bar/ lounge area where you may have a drink at your leisure. In our previous visit, we went for drinks. Caitlyn was 2.5 years old and she was okay with childcare. However, this time Ava (who is 18 months) was not ready, and so she did not want to be left with child care. This time, we did not manage to go for drinks!

Nonetheless, we had a fantastic break as a family.

Would I go back?

Overall, The Cavern exceeded my expectations. Holidaying with kids is rewarding but at the same time demanding. The Cavern makes it easy for you to make sure that your kids eat, sleep and play!

I do believe this might be an annual thing. Overall a pleasant stay and a yes from our whole family!

 

 

Flying With Children: What To Pack For a Toddler on a Plane

This post was created in collaboration with Travelstart

Flying With a Toddler Can Test Your Limits

My husband an I have this theory. The flight attendants book families with young children in the same section of the plane.

We have noticed that when we get on a flight, we are surrounded by babies and toddlers. I guess it is because we can understand each other and so that we are ‘kept away’ from the others.

Knowing what to pack for a toddler on a plane has been a life saver for us in surviving flights.

Parents on a plane

I must admit, as a parent with two little children I prefer being in the company of other parents with young kids. Less judgment to deal with from flight attendants and fellow passengers.

That being said, when we fly with our little family we do prepare as much as we can.

The power of the carry on for a toddler

We have flown many times with eldest daughter when she was toddler, and I have learned my lesson pretty early on. We typically fly to Cape Town International Airport for family visits.

In fact when we have flights coming up, packing her little backpack (carry on) was a mini project on its own.

Keeping a toddler entertained on a plane is a combination of activities, snacks, and importantly knowing your toddler.

[bctt tweet=”What To Pack For A Toddler On a Plane To Save Your Sanity” username=”cherralle_”]

Here is my list of what to pack for a toddler on a plane (to save your sanity). Further on I also share more tips from the experts.

What To Pack For a Toddler on a Plane

what to pack for a toddler on a plane

1. Crayon and a Colouring Book

A good old fashioned colouring book and crayons always go a long way. Surprise your little one on the plane, with a new colouring book.

Golden Rule of Toddlerhood: Does not matter what it is, if it is new, the entertainment value of the item goes up. 

Trust me. Pop into The Crazy Store, and purchase a few cheapies that you can bring along.

2. Stickers will never let you down

Oh man, I cannot tell you how amazing stickers are with little kids (at least our little ones). Again, buy a new set (go to The Crazy Store). Whether it is cars, dinosaurs or princesses.

Again, what has worked for us is to ensure whatever we present is new. The novelty of even a small thing grabs her attention and keeps it for longer.

However, do not get too many things.

3. Snacks and Drinks

Try to ensure that your toddler is fed before you get on the plane. Then pack additional snacks.
We pack biscuits, biltong, chips, fruits and of course a water bottle.

Related Post: Tips For Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)

4. Wet wipes

Always be prepared. Even if your child is now potty trained, do not forget your wet wipes. You need that for all the sticky fingers and faces. Also to quickly wipe up spills.

5. Pack an Electronic Screen: Phone of a Tablet (Kiddie or Adult Variety)

For my phone, I would pre-download a few episodes from a kiddie show. Or we would pack the LeapPad.

In our experience, the plane is no time to enforce screen time restrictions. Please do pack a set of kiddie earphones. Using earphones will be more comfortable for the little one and more considerate towards other passengers.

6. Your baby bag is a must for baby’s comfort

If your baby is still a little toddler (closer to age one than three), then, of course, you have to pack your required essentials (milk, nappy changing gear, etc.)

7. Pack something for yourself

Once your toddler is settled down, you may find yourself with time on your hands (this can happen!).
Bring along a book, magazine or Kindle for yourself.

Toddlers are toddlers and life happens!

Toddlers are toddlers. They are not made to sit still for long periods of time. They are in a phase where they want to explore, talk and engage with their surroundings. Hence, adjust your expectations to this.

[bctt tweet=”Toddlers are not made to sit still. They want to engage their world. Prepare to entertain them, but also be prepared for tantrums.” username=”cherralle_”]

However, prepare as best you can using the tips above to figure what you need to pack for a toddler on a plane.

You know your child. You know what they need to remain entertained.

Remember, if your child ends up screaming, and people stare at you, just ignore them and focus on your child.

What do our expert have to say?

Here are a few general guidelines from Travelstart.

Here is a brief video containing more tips from parents

Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart. If you are looking for additional travel tips such as Passport Renewal processes please do visit their website.

Tips for Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)

Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn in tow will test your parenting skills!

I had written before about how chaotic it was for me when I came home with my second baby. It was a complete shock to my system.   My life was utter chaos. Sweet chaos. But chaos nonetheless.

It was hard on everyone, including Caitlyn (my three year old).

For the first few weeks, it felt as if we were only telling Caitlyn:

– to ‘be quiet.’
– that I can’t carry her
– that she cannot sleep with me.

Only telling her things she cannot do.

Patience was very thin; energy levels were low. I was not prepared.

[bctt tweet=”Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn will test your parenting skills.” username=”cherralle_”]

Caitlyn threw the most intense tantrums during this time

During one epic tantrum episode, a ‘concerned neighbour’ came by to ‘check up on us’. At this point, I already SOSed (whatsapped) my husband to:

‘Please, COME HOME NOW! I don’t care what meeting you are in.’

Ava on the other hand, was a relatively calm baby. She needed to be continuously held and needed a lot of cuddling to fall asleep (as a newborn that was expected). Till today, Ava remains a very affectionate toddler, I think that is her vibe.

Regression hit us hard

Caitlyn reverted to waking up at 4 am during those days, and she wanted only me.

I only have two hands!

My thinking was that Caitlyn was three years old and she can remember. How I engage with her will have a lasting impact on her relationship with me and her bond with her sister.

Although Ava needed a lot of care and attention, I had to find a way to maintain a connection with my eldest.

Creating space to find one on one time with my three year old was vital for me

Although I felt overwhelmed, I carved out playtime with Caitlyn during my maternity leave.

Caitlyn was also on school holidays when Ava was six weeks old. So I had them both to myself. All day! Luckily I was not alone during the day. I had a helper in the day.

Here are six tips on how to juggle a three-year-old and a newborn.

6 Tips For Juggling a Three Year Old and a Newborn

 

newborn and three year old

 

Wear your baby

Wearing your baby provides you with an extra set of hands. I had a cloth wrap and a Tiny Love – Tiny Hugs Carrier. The Tiny Love Carrier was freaking amazing!

I loved it so much.

I could carry and cuddle  our newborn baby while playing with Caitlyn.

RELATED: Are You Thinking Of Hiring A Sleep Consultant? Here is Our Story To Help You Decide

Recreate your family’s routine

Establish a new family routine. Before Ava came home, we had a lovely organized family evening routine. We had dinner together and cleaned up together.  However, we could not sustain it.

We changed our whole routine. Brought Caitlyn’s supper earlier, so that at least she can be done eating by the time the bath routine started for the baby (around 17h00 ish). Then Caitlyn still needed to bath.

At that point I was not okay to do bath them together.

Come to think of it, this routine did not work out. Only when we placed the girls on a synchronizes evening routine, we started to settle. Now they eat and bath together.

It does not matter how chaotic it gets, at least I know there is an end in sight. Early bedtimes are a non negotiable in our home (unless there is a special occasion).

Let your older child help out and get involved

Get your older child involved by asking her to fetch things for the baby.

When I put the baby down, and we sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ I also got Caitlyn to sing it with me. It was much better than saying ‘keep quiet please, mommy is putting the baby down.’

When it was time for the baby to sleep, of course my three year old never kept quiet. She always seemed to appear needing something (loudly) at the very moment the baby was settling down.

[bctt tweet=” #3 Let your older child help out, by asking them to fetch things or sing lullabies to the baby.” username=”cherralle_”]

When the baby is sleeping, spend alone time with your toddler

When the baby slept, I was with Caitlyn. No sleeping when the baby sleeps for me.

I watched TV with her, brushed her hair, ate with her, etc.

If you have a caregiver, use them

If you have a caregiver, leave the baby with the caregiver for thirty minutes will be okay.

I started leaving Ava for short periods from about six weeks old. If she was fed, rested and happy it was cool. Taking Caitlyn outside (just the two of us) for some play time was great (tiring but it was necessary).

Watch a movie together

If you have to keep the baby on you, that is okay. Chill watching a movie and kill two birds with one stone.

Caitlyn and I get to watch TV together, and Ava gets her cuddles in as a newborn too.

Figuring out how to juggle a three year old when I came home with my newborn, was a challenging and chaotic time.

Caitlyn and Ava at out Family Photo-shoot. Caitlyn is 3 Years Old and Ava is 3 months

 

To be honest my first reaction was to prioritize the baby’s needs and let Caitlyn take a back seat. However, these actions made me feel sad and it saddened Caitlyn too. So I changed the situation.

It was stressful, but we needed to go through it, to create our own unique rhythm as a family.

Now, these two girls are so in love with each other. My favourite cheesy ‘sisters’ quote is:

Sisters are friends forever

Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? Why I am Okay To Say Yes (My 4 Year Old’s Sleep Routine)

My 4-Year-Old’s Sleep Routine is a Give and Take

It started around the time Caitlyn was two years old. After moving her from cot to a bed, sleep became a challenge. She needed us to stay with her while she fell asleep. The reason this became an issue for me initially, is because I know myself and I know I need structure in our family life.

In this post, I will share a little bit about how we got our kids on routine and why I am okay with laying with my four year old at night.

[bctt tweet=”This post does not contain any advice or tips (I am not qualified), this is just our story.  ” username=”cherralle_”]

Related PostMy Daughter is ‘Bossy’, Here is Why I am More Than Okay With It

To set the scene, when it comes to baby sleep, I do not play.

I am a firm believer in the fact that having a baby on a routine, helps the whole family.

I am with my babies when they are awake, but when it’s time to sleep, it is time to sleep. With two kids, this time is even more precious.

[bctt tweet=”Having our children on a routine, helped our whole family. Here is our current situation with our 4 YO.” username=”cherralle_”]

Our Family’s Approach to Sleep and Routine

I know myself, and therefore I invested time and energy into building sleep routines for both my girls.

I read a lot of baby routine books. In fact, when I came home with our second baby, I struggled with the new family dynamic. It urged me to work with a sleep consultant which I spoke about over at The Rookie Parent Society. I highly recommend a sleep consultant.

Both my girls slept through pretty much since they were a few months old.

And no, they were not ‘sleepers’.  I don’t think we were ‘lucky’ either, we just put a lot of effort into it.

Through gentle, consistent guidance they always slept.

We worked hard on their routines.

We tracked their routines daily in a book for the full first year, bought block out curtains, white noise CDs, special blankets, etc. On top of this we gave up outings, events and we left functions early.

All in the name of sleep.

We never ever did family dinners out, ever. And I was okay to pay this price to have sleeping children.

Caitlyn wakes up at 5am most days, so I guess it is debatable whether it is sleeping through. Ha! Small price to pay for an early bedtime in my book.

Now for the last 1 – 2 years, she says every night, ‘mommy, I want to sleep in your bed’. We tried some techniques to get her to stay in her own bed, which all worked. Up until a point.

Consistency is key in maintaining a routine

We maintained consistency with bath and bedtime (I will never mess with our early bedtime!). However, ‘how’ she fell asleep was inconsistent.

She would sleep in her own bed for weeks, but any bit of inconsistency on our part (or illness) took us back ten steps.

So these days,  when she asks ‘Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? I am saying yes. Here is why.

 

She always slept through the night

This may sound silly.
Because my four-year-old always slept well at night and for naps, I feel that now I really don’t mind to give her the extra time she needs.

Her whole existence since she was baby, she has never required me to sleep with her. So I feel when she asks me now to sleep with her,  I a more than okay to do it.

I still maintain an early bedtime

Although Caitlyn needs us to lay with her, she does go to sleep by the required bed time. Well, provided we maintained her routine (which means no naps for her at this age). After she falls asleep, I get up and carry on with my night.

So it is not such a huge price to pay. We will maintain an early supper, bath time, stories and sleep.

She will go to sleep. Majority of the time it takes only 5 – 10 minutes for her to fall asleep by 19h00 (most of the time).

We talk

When we are in bed, it is pretty much one of the few occasions that we have one on one time during the week. I ask her every night, what made you smile today? And what made you sad? Sometimes she says she doesn’t know.

But most of the time she tells me about her special friends at school. Or she tells me about a game gone wrong at school (made her sad).

 

Making the moments, we have count

As I work full-time, I do not have much time with my girls. Coupled with the fact that I am the sort of person who needs a lot of alone time.

Even though I am at home on weekends, I do not spend every waking moment with the kids. I do stuff that does not involve them at all.

And so, it is essential for me to make the moments I have count.

If I have 10 minute of chatting before bedtime, I want to make the most of this time.

She may not need me so much in future

Right now, Caitlyn is still pretty much attached to me. I want to enjoy each moment for now. Although at times, I throw my husband dirty looks, because she only wants me. It does get too much at times.

“I can’t sleep without mommy,” she utters.

However, on balance, I am okay with it. She may not need me again in this way.

I sometimes have an early bedtime too

Yep, if I have had a hard day, and I am lying with Caitlyn, I will decide to call it a night too. An early bedtime can do wonders for your mood and energy.

Limiting our bedtime battles

So we have stopped implementing techniques to get Caitlyn to fall asleep back in her own bed. We stopped about a year ago.

I have decided based on the fact that she DOES fall asleep within her allocated bedtime and the other reasons stated above, I am cool with what she needs. And I hope that our bedtime becomes special memories.

Baby sleep Resources

Here are some of our baby sleep resources that we used, there is a lot more (which is another post), but a short version for now:

 

[bctt tweet=”My 4 Year Old’s Sleep Routine is a give and take. Here is Why.” username=”cherralle_”]

That is our sleep story for now! No advice, or tips (I am not qualified)- just us.

 

‘Bring The Wet Wipes!’ The Wail of Every Parent Faced with a Blowout {CLOSED GIVEAWAY}

“Bring the wet wipes!” My husband bawled from inside the girls’ room when he went to fetch our one-year-old from her cot. “She made a mess all over the place,” exasperation evident in his voice.

“Bring reinforcements!”.

So dramatic.

Anyway, that turned out okay.

I don’t know about you, but wet wipes are a necessity in my life with a toddler and a preschooler!

Not only for diaper changes but for life in general.

That is why I loved the adorable hamper that was sent to me by Cherubs.  It was so well presented.

I loved the little details and the extra sweet treat was packed for me.

I am giving away three of those hampers on the blog today. You can get your hands on one for yourself, for a mom to be or  a mom with a little one.

Read the below post and find out of to enter at the end!

Besides cleaning a baby’s bottom here are five other weird and wonderful uses of wet wipes.

Child with paint_clean with wetwipes

1. Get rid of deodorant marks on dark clothing.

Really handy to have at hand, when you are are rushing out the door!

2. When kids’ toys need a wipe down

Kids’ toys get grubby fast. If the toys need a quick clean, wipe them down with a few wet wipes to get the worse off.

3. Wipe down dirty cookbook pages

I always thought a dirty cookbook shows usage.
However, it can get quite grimy and then it loses that authentic vibe. Give your cookbook pages a gentle wipe down to get your cookbook looking good.

4. Wipe your remote controls

Talk about germ city! Remote controls can get quite dirty as everyone is touching them. And guess what a baby’s favorite toy is? Yep a remote, that they put in their mouths and take with them everywhere.

5. Wrap around an earbud

Wrap a wet wipe around an earbud to clean something that has a very teeny tiny space. Example, in between keyboards.

 

GIVEAWAY! WIN one of THREE gorgeous Cherubs baby hampers.

CHERUBS HAMPER DESCRIPTION_wetwipes

 

To Enter Follow This one Easy Step

Comment on this post. What is your most common use for wet wipes (besides wiping bottoms!)

That is it, you are in. Good luck!

Rules:

  • Competition is open until Friday 20 April.
  • Winners will be contacted directly by latest 25 April.
  • Only open to SA residents.
  • Prizes will be shipped by the agency.

Good luck!