Spring time in this beautiful city is just around the corner and so is my favorite time of year, Festival Season! There is a festival or two, or three every single weekend once the end of March and April set in! We are so fortunate to have so many options! Surviving festivals with a toddler can create its own set of challenges, but we are here for you! In some ways, Festing with an Infant is much easier – they are content to sit longer! Keep these in mind when you pack your car to head to one of the local festivals here in New Orleans.
Bring the Big Stroller
Trust me. There's nothing sadder than a toddler asleep in an umbrella stroller with their little head bobbing as you walk along. It gives me a crick in my neck just looking at them. Bring the big stroller. You will be grateful for it and it gives them a place to sit comfortably, snack, and relax to sleep (when they finally give in). Plus, this will free up your hands from a diaper bag and where else are you going to put your cooler?
Adjust Your Expectations
One of the most important parts of heading out to pretty much do anything with a toddler is to adjust your expectations. Accept that your day will be shorter than you were used to, even when you had an infant. Your toddler will want to stretch their legs and may need to take a break from being so stimulated. Go with the flow. There's always another festival tomorrow or next week. Take the nap break and go back for session two in the evenings.
Take a seat in the back
Your toddler will want a little room to move around and to get away from the music if it's a little loud. Move to the back of the crowd and stake a little claim for your little one. Get ready to dance and twirl and jam to the music from a safe distance. I'll tell you what – Jackson Square, under a palm on Sunday mornings during French Quarter Fest is my favorite place to lay back and relax!
If you're heading out where it's especially loud, invest in a pair of headphones or ear plugs for your little one. Protecting those little ears is really important. Sometimes, the venue is not big enough to get to a safe distance for your wee one's hearing. Better to have something with you than to be without.
I can't say it enough! Bring sunscreen and REAPPLY over and over again! Any children over 6 months always should have sunscreen applied to their skin before going out in the sun. Every area of exposed skin should be covered, including the face, neck, arms, legs, hands, feet and often-forgotten areas such as the ears. Your child's sunscreen should have a sun-protection-factor, or SPF, of at least 15, or 30 for children with fair skin, such as those with blond or red hair, suggests the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. Have your child wear a hat when possible to protect the scalp from getting burned and help shade the face. Sunglasses with UV protection are also important to prevent your child's eyes from getting burned. (Livestrong.com)
Festivals are a great time to play with water! Bring a spray bottle to keep your toddler cool. I even picked up a fan that clips on my stroller to help keep them cool. Don't forget to pack lots of water and snacks for your favorite tiny people too.
While your little one might love collecting their favorite bugs while out in a field, they will not love itching all night with bug bites! Spring rains are notorious for washing out those ever-present ant piles and spreading them all over your favorite picnic spots. Be vigilant about red ants, and prep with bug spray or your favorite mosquito repellent. I'll spray down my little man, but then I'll stick a Glade Clip On to the top of the stroller for a little added protection.
Most importantly – RELAX! Relax and enjoy this time with your kids! Go with the flow a bit and just have a good time. If it doesn't turn out so great, it's ok – there's always next weekend. Reevaluate and try again!
Insider Tips for New Orleans Moms
- If you are headed out to the quarter to get some Festing done this Summer, and you need to take a potty break, stop by the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve on Decatur. It's two doors down from Bubba Gump. This is an awesome museum, beautiful courtyard and some clean potties. Just be sure to be considerate and support this national park!
- Use your Aquarium Membership! If you are a member of the Aquarium, fest in the Quarter are great times to use them. Take a break, use the potty, see some awesomeness!
With these tips and a little patience you will have a great time surviving festivals with a toddler in tow! Have fun introducing your little one to our local culture through festivals!
Do you have any tips for festing with a toddler that we forgot?