Turning another year older got me feeling a little more adventurous than usual. The cub had been asking to go to the zoo, so I decided to bring both kids there on my own!
Being on my own with them in a zoo is very different from being on my own with them in a mall. This simply means I have to be more prepared than usual. Besides packing necessities like water bottles, EO for insect repellent, wet wipes and diapers, here are some tips to share that I thought helped made my solo-parenting outing experience easier.
One: Check the weather forecast
The weather forecast thunderstorm in the morning but I wasn’t about to change my plans cos of that. In fact, I think it was the rain that helped made our first solo-parenting zoo outing much more enjoyable! The night before and on the morning itself, I prepped the kids that they might have to check out the animals in the zoo in the rain but it will be alright because we have rain gear!
Honestly, I don’t think this would be an issue for most kids. After all, which kid doesn’t like to walk/run in the rain and jump in water puddles?!
Two: ALWAYS bring snacks.
The zoo may not be huge, but I’m going to need some incentives to motivate my preschoolers to keep them moving on their own. I kept the snacks in the bag secretly – surprise of snacks work even better! It was most helpful when we were stranded in a pavilion for shelter, with no animals to look at.
Such an energy booster!
Three: Managing Expectations
This is the most important step to me – letting the kids know what to expect from the outing and what I expect from them. So I laid some rules for this excursion.
- We don’t have to cover the entire zoo and see every animal on the map if any one of them is too tired to continue. It’s okay if that happens because we can always come back another day.
- If they fight, we will leave immediately.
- They should be holding onto each other most, if not all the time.
- They have to follow me closely and make sure they are within my sight all the time.
- Mommy is alone, so they will have to help me out whenever possible.
The firstborn definitely played his role well. He made sure to look out for his lil’ sis almost all the time. He helped me out by carrying some of the lighter stuff in his bag (so that I have more space for the heavier whatnots in my bag).
Towards the last leg of our visit, the lil’ dragonlady was feeling lots of pain from the broken skin on both her feet. The poor thing pressed on and continued walking despite the pain cos she knew I was not able to carry her with my bad back. I was so touched because I know I would have been fussing and asking to go home if I had the same pain.
Tip Three.One: Bring a little safety kit!
I felt guilty for not bringing any plasters and the souvenir shops along the way didn’t sell them. When we finally got to the main souvenir shop located at the exit, I tried my luck again and asked a staff if they sell any plasters. Again, the staff said no but she took the initiative to ask how many would we need and went in to get their first aid kit. It was a life saver!
Oh, and we learned something new from this outing! For big cat lovers, you might like to know that visiting the zoo on rainy days gives you a better chance to view them up close. The big cats don’t like to get wet and would stay in the sheltered area, which is usually just behind the glass at the viewing stand.
We had such a great albeit tiring time. Can’t believe we actually completed the long route! (I had a backup plan to do a shorter route if the kids start acting up.) The cool and wet weather definitely made it easier for us to last that long.