Tips: Cottageing with a toddler

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


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Original Post: August 3, 2016:

I am no expert, but having just arrived home from a week at a cottage with a very curious toddler, I picked up a few tips that I feel is my swim-loving parental duty to share:

1). Dock + a pack and play
Fill it with a thousand toys and snacks. Then enjoy your morning coffee/docktails. (Note: this was the biggest game changer. I can't recommend it highly enough!)

2). Docktails + baby monitor
Game changer #2: Charge that monitor up and as soon as the kid is asleep, head down to the dock for docktails/dinner/skinnydipping, etc. Freedom! I have never been more careful about not breaking the baby monitor as I was last week.

3). An adult PFD
We all know kids have to have lifies when around the water, but wearing an adult lifejacket made for much easier off-the-dock swimming with Jack. (My egg beater is good, but not THAT good!)

4).  Canoe snacks
I wasn't sure how canoeing was going to work with a kid who loves walking/running more than anything, but we timed our canoe rides around snack times and ended up having the best paddles. And it turns out canoe rides also put our kid to sleep – added bonus!

5). A chamois pullover
100% not necessary, but amazing. We were gifted one for Jack and I want one in adult size!

6). All the stairs
If your cottage is perched on high, getting your kid to do the 50+ stairs from the water to the cottage four times a day will make for SERIOUS naps.

And two extra bonus tips:
- wooden coffee tables make excellent baby gates
- bringing up child safety locks for the cupboards was a brilliant move and meant we didn't have to do too much curious-kid-proofing in the kitchen.

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UPDATE August 30, 2016:

Because people ARE AWESOME, we received a veritable deluge of toddler + cottage tips:

- elastic bands (to babyproof cupboards
- extra ziploc bags (for waterproofing phones, snacks)
- plastic tupperware make great shovels for water play
- fill a Rubbermaid tote with water and use that as a water table, With buckets and things that squirt. (Stedman’s/a dollar store in every small town will fulfill all of your plastic toy needs!)
- popping in some ice cubes into milk to keep colder longer by the water (Editor's note: add a few extra to my docktail, please!)
- Crocs/Saltwater sandals/waterproof shoes for splashing in the shallows
- stringing up a hammock
- a winter sled for walking through sand rather than a stroller.
- a stretchy bug net for play pen or crib to keep skeeters away at night.
- tucking a dry pool noodle under a fitted bed sheet for a cottage bed bed-rail.
- lemon essential oil and distilled water in an atomizer for bugs.

Anything else I’ve missed?

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