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Out and About: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Getting out of town can be fun, but sometimes the best adventures are right around the corner. (Part Four)

Out and About: Brooklyn Bridge Park

All this week, we’ve been showing you how easy it is to explore your favorite NYC destinations with kids in tow. In this segment of Out and About, brought to you by our friends at the Earth’s Best® brand, we meet up the other half of Well Rounded NY (and her toddler) at one of our favorite local Williamsburg stops: Cafe Mogador. After all, mamas need fuel too!

After several hours of fun (and inevitable costume changes -- spills happen!), it was time to slow down over some fine food, conversation and a few rounds of Old MacDonald. I wanted to catch Jess up on how our day went, and Oliver had been asking for Libby all week.

Upon returning on the Ferry to Williamsburg, some of our babies and mamas needed to nap, so we said our goodbyes and headed to the Cafe. With plenty of room for strollers, delicious food and enough high chairs to go around, we were more than ready to chow down. Heather -- who, like Courtney, is also on her second bump -- was nearby, so she joined our group for some feasting on Mediterranean fare.

While snacks for the kiddos are good on the go (and during a long restaurant wait-time), we love to sit down with them over a meal and introduce them to new foods and textures whenever possible. A single trip to a restaurant can be an adventure of its own for babies and toddlers.

It was also a good opportunity for a much needed pit-stop, with diaper changes all around. Earth’s Best® chlorine-free diapers, are a great option because not only are they safe on our babies’ behinds, but also environmentally friendly.

Mama Tip

Even with a long wait, there’s nothing a run-in with a cute puppy can’t fix. Just make sure to wash your hands before you eat.

Time management

Sometimes even with a nice amount of seating outside for people to wait, there are just too many distractions for the baby to focus and actually eat. Luckily the folks at this resto were kind enough to let us inside so baby Jameson could nosh while waiting for a table.

Stages

Babies like to experience new flavors and textures as they grow, which is why the Earth’s Best® brand has three stages, allowing you to introduce various fruit, vegetable and protein options at the right time for your baby.

Mama Tip

When eating out with grownups around, it’s best to come well-equipped with a snack for your little one. Trust us, it will keep both them and your fellow patrons happy. The re-sealable pouches are perfect to help a toddler to feel independent.

We've had a busy day so far, riding the ferry, taking in NYC sights and getting our hands dirty all in the name of fun. Check in tomorrow when we wrap up this installment of Out and About.

We want to hear where you like to take your favorite day trip in your hometown. Leave a comment below, or better yet, instagram a photo of you and your little one and hashtag #outandaboutwithEB and @wellroundedny @earthsbest.

Photography by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.

*Sponsored post.

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But, a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4 year old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year...

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keeping an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Following children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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