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Staying sane while taming my toddler with Babies who lunch

Eleonor Pritchard

Everyone told me to enjoy the time where Wyatt couldn’t walk, because once he was walking he wouldn’t stop.

They were, it turns out, right. Although I have found a way to keep my sanity and ensure I enjoy my one on one time with my non-stop toddler – by taking advantage of the many free toddler activities available in Canberra.
I started attending Giggle and Wriggle sessions at the Kippax Library when Wyatt was about six months old, and these were often followed with morning tea at a local café with some fellow mums.

Wyatt still enjoys going to Giggle and Wriggle, but there are only so many times I can do the Hokey Pokey! So, it was with a shriek of glee when I read about Little Griffins at the National Capital Exhibition in an issue of HerCanberra’s What’s On. Wyatt and I went along and we had a great time.

The people there are so friendly, and they have tiny hard hats and fluorescent vests for the kids – so cute! There was some singing, dancing, and then building with blocks. Thankfully there is also a café, with high chairs, just next door at The Deck.

That is how I tame my toddler, and stay sane, on my one day at home alone with him each week. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has discovered that it is sometimes a lot easier to get out of the house, and have the wonders of the world entertain your child, rather than staying at home and reading Little Blue Truck again and again, and again, and again!

Depending on the time, Wyatt and I will often enjoy a pleasant morning tea together before heading to an enjoyable toddler activity. The War Memorial hosts a story time for toddlers, including some dancing and singing, and Poppy’s Café serve a wonderful chai latte. After that, it is very easy to head on home, have some lunch, and Wyatt will have a lovely long nap.

The key thing that these activities achieve is burning off energy, and giving the kids something to do while waiting for your food to arrive. The other thing that achieves this is the Toddler Play Area. More and more cafes around Canberra are welcoming parents with young children by providing a toddler play area, or some drawing supplies, to help keep the kids distracted entertained.

This makes the entire experience of taking a toddler out for morning tea a lot more enjoyable for everyone. The toddler isn’t getting frustrated and bored, parents aren’t expecting their toddlers to sit still for longer than necessary and getting stressed when it turns out that it simply isn’t possible, and the other café patrons don’t have to listen to crying children. Everyone is happy, enjoying a nice morning out, and a lovely coffee.

You can easily find cafes with Toddler Play Areas by searching Toddler in the search bar at the top of Babies who lunch. I have also started curating a list of these activities on Babies for lunch so that it is easy to find what is available in Canberra, and if there is any coffee nearby! Visit the Toddler Activities in Canberra page to find something new to do with your little one, and if there is an activity you enjoy that I don’t have listed, be sure to tell me about it via the form available under the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the site.

My favourite activities, at the moment

Favourite cafes with a Toddler Play Area


Eleonor Pritchard

Eleonor has lived in Canberra for more than three decades and has experienced being a uni student, a singleton, a wife and mother in our nation’s capital. Eleonor created Babies who lunch a website designed to help parents navigate the world of restaurants and cafes with a pram in tow – this helped satisfy both her need for a chai latte, and her post-pregnancy anxiety. When not doing her regular job, Eleonor is usually having fun with her family (painting with son Wyatt, watching movies and drinking wine with her husband Joel), crafting with her friends, or reading in a bubble bath. More about the Author