5 Ways to Enjoy Sightseeing with Your Toddler

It takes more than its fair share of planning to make a trip like this a reality. But now, coming up on three weeks away, I can attest, coming to grips with ‘Life in the Slow Lane’ and learning how to sightsee with a toddler takes even more.

Like any parent worthy of the title, I love my daughter more than life itself and I could spend hours watching her play with her dolls, giggle while being tickled, or telling stories with animated expressions whose origins will forever leave me scratching my head.

Looking back, moving forward
But having to continuously look back over my shoulder and watching for ten minutes or more as mother and daughter dawdle on a block back like two long lost school mates…? Well, that’s different. And let it suffice to say, that’s taking some getting used to.

But, I guess I should’ve seen this coming. This is what you get when you’re dealing with a head strong toddler who adamantly refused the services of her pram at the age of two in favour of walking and who is still getting used to her new backpack child carrier.

As a result, we are a two speed family now. Slow and stopped are all we have it seems and, as such, the good ol’ days of taking in the sights of a new place have taken…on…a…whole…new…SLOWLY…evolving…twist.

But I think I’m getting it. If only I’d conditioned myself before leaving, things wouldn’t have been so painful. But, then, finding a set of ankle shackles, taking out half the chain links and finally adding a bowling ball (or two) into a backpack before going for practice shuffles around the block probably would’ve seen a bit excessive at the time.

So therefore, I give you these 5 (slightly more practical) Ways to Enjoy Sightseeing with your Toddler:

  1. Keep Expectations Low—Make a list of the places you feel absolutely necessary to visit in the area. Then, envision yourself on crutches and in the throes of a five alarm hangover. Adjust your list accordingly and move on to step 2.
  2. Remember how to eat an elephant—By taking very small bites. So now your list is minimized and your big day out is taking on all the excitement of a Saturday night, convenience store beer run. Whatever you do, resist the urge to add more to your plate. Chances are good it will only end in tears.
  3. Choreograph and plan as if your life depends on it—Think elite military special forces. Highly skilled professional soldiers that make it a habit of living by the adage ‘Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance’.

Put this into practice by getting familiar with public transport BEFORE throwing your family into the fray. Err on the side of caution and actually utilize the services of multilingual information desk employees (rather than simply winging it and hoping for the best). Carry a decent map and by memorize a couple landmarks to get oriented with. And, if traveling through South America, remember to have your radar finely tuned at all times for the proximity of public restrooms. And, along the same lines, keep a role of TP close. Very close.

  1. Remember, grassy parks are your friend—As it will probably take you hours to cover distances that your childless self used to cover in minutes, heading back to your room when the little one needs a nap is out of the question. Banish the thought and push on. You’ve simply come too far. Head to a park and, because part of your planning in step three meant remembering to pack a lightweight sarong, lay it down, stretch out and RELAX.
  2. Provision as if on a trans-Atlantic passage—Food. It makes the world go around, especially with a toddler in a strange new place. Any food similar to your old standbys from home is good as is probably giving a miss to the guy selling mystery meat empanadas out of a bucket on the street corner. When the little one wakes from their nap, they’re bound to be hungry. Tuck in, have a mini picnic in the park, recharge the batteries and if the gods have smiled on you, your toddler’s still up for it and there’s still enough light, you can do the unthinkable.

Now and only now, are you really ready to go back to step one, pick another site and start all over again.




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