Mum tips

Foreword: This blog is titled ‘Mom tips’ because I am a mum; I can only give tips from my own view point. But the tips in here can be employed by dads, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunties, uncles, cousins, doctors, clowns, school teachers, everyone really. All categories are too many to list

Over my almost 7 years of parenting (4 and 1/2 for Kendi and 1 and 2/3 for Keyo), I have noticed some things about young children. Here are some tips that will save you a great deal of time, expense and negative emotion while holidaying with young children.

Please note that the list is in no particular order of importance. Also, it is not exhaustive; I invite any tips my readers may have, to add on in the comment section.

10. Carry your stroller with you. Your baby is so cute and ‘not that heavy’, until you have to carry them everywhere. Even after swimming all afternoon or eating everything on the buffet for dinner.

9.  Pack something that your child can eat before breakfast. My children wake up between 6:00 and 6:30 consistently. Even though the hotel might be serving breakfast at that time, there is no way, I will walk to the dining area, at dawn, in bare feet and pajamas, to get them a slice of toast and a piece of mango. What is it with toddlers and picky eating? It’s almost like a badge of honor. (Insert intense eye roll!)

8. While at the breakfast buffet, carry away fruit, yogurt and anything else that can be eaten cold, with little preparation. Because, although toddlers don’t eat meals, they snack like competition eaters.

7. Teach your children to float and/or hold their breath for a few seconds. It will save them in the event they fall into a body of water unsupervised. Martin and I, take our children swimming when they’re about 4 months old. We keep dunking them into the water, tapping into their instinct to hold their breath. They gradually build their ability and Kendi (4 years old), can hold her breath for close to 10 seconds. Keyo is 5 months shy of 2 years, and he can hold his breath for 4 seconds. These crucial seconds might one day be the difference between life and death.

6. Do not ring the bell when you visit a home with small children. Children nap during the day and door bells are not designed to sound like soft lullabies. They often jangle and shriek and wake up sleeping babies very rudely. And the door will always be opened by a very annoyed adult. Don’t be alarmed, you created that scenario.

5. Carry enough diapers for 3 days more than you’ll be traveling. You have no idea if you’ll be able to buy more if you run out. Also, your child might get diarrhea and then your carefully planned diaper count, won’t cut it.

4. Hire a babysitter on one of the nights or during the day, so that you can have some time to yourself. Of course this is a tip for parents like me, who cannot always afford to travel with child care.

3. Children are not fragile vases, leave them with child care as often as you need to. They will survive.

2. If you do not trust your nanny with your jewellery and money, and must always lock your room when you leave the house, but you trust them with your child…… I’m not sure how to finish this sentence. This always strikes me as quite odd.

1. Feed your children what you want them to eat. No do-overs, no alternatives, no special requests to the kitchen. Raise children who can eat anywhere and be grateful for what is put in front of them. Not children who say ‘yuck! I don’t want this, I want hot-dog’ when offered sweet potatoes by your close relative and friend’. Kendi one time said to me, ‘mama, I don’t want chips and sausage, I want something else’ when I placed it in front of her for dinner. I told her what I’ve always told her in moments like those, ‘onge chiemo machielo, ka ok idenyo, inyalo wee‘ (there’s no other food, if you’re not hungry, you can leave it). She chose to leave it and go to bed without dinner. I know that she won’t lose weight or die of starvation without one meal. And yes, I do this when they’re 6 months old as well.

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