It’s been just over a year since the pandemic started, and if you have a toddler or a preschool-aged child, chances are, you’ve lost your mind… just teasing.
There have been the days that go smoothly and the days where you can’t catch a break. Days where nothing seems to make your toddler happy. So, what is a parent to do? I am going to share the closest thing to a quick fix as you can get.
Can you guess what it is?
Change environments. That’s the easiest, best thing we can do to change your mood and your toddler’s mood as well. I took to my Instagram page @thriving.toddler to survey my L.A. audience about their favorite spots to take their toddlers. Here is what they came up with.
LA Arboretum – With 127 acres, The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is an arboretum, botanical garden and historical site nestled into the hills near the San Gabriel Mountains in Arcadia.
Beach – You can’t go wrong at the beach. Soak up some sun and get messy in the sand. If the sand isn’t for you, take a stroll on the strand.
Griffith Park – This oasis offers several attractions great for kids, such as the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, Pony Rides, Ranger Station the LA Zoo and much more.
South Coast Botanic Gardens – The South Coast Botanic Garden is a 35-acre garden in the Palos Verdes Hills, in Palos Verdes. It includes a cute children’s garden with a pet turtle.
Southern California Live Steamers – Located at Charles Wilson Park in Torrance, the streamers offer fun, short train rides around the park. The fun can be had twice per month: first Sunday of the month and the third Saturday of each month.
The Pirate Park – Another great spot for little ones, located at Brookside Park located in Pasadena.
Pan Pacific Park – located in the Fairfax district, this is a beautiful modern park in the middle of the city.
Underwood Family Farms – located in Moorpark, the farm offers wagon rides and the chance to pick your own produce, which your little ones will love.
Aquarium of the Pacific – This is a personal favorite, and my toddler never seems to get enough of what the aquarium offers.
Shane’s Inspiration Park – The first inclusive and accessible playground in L.A. opened in 2000, and is located in Griffith Park.
Descanso Gardens in La Canada – Springtime is the best time to visit any garden area.
The Nature Center at Friendship Park – Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center offers breath-taking panoramic views of San Pedro, Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles / Long Beach harbor complex. Comprised of 123 acres, it is also home to the beautiful, captive-bred and federally endangered Palos Verdes Blue butterfly. The park also offers recreational activities, including hiking trails, field trips, nature camps and a nature center.
Valmonte Farm and Garden – This is a private farm open to the public and located in Palos Verdes Estates. The farm has chickens and many veggies and fruits.
South Park in Hermosa – This local favorite offers a community garden, playground, playfield, play structure, and restrooms.
Peter Weber Equestrian Center – Located in Palos Verdes, the center offers pony rides, a petting zoo and horseback-riding lessons.
There you have it, a list of toddler-friendly outdoor places to keep the mood relaxed and happy. Here are some other ideas for mood changing activities.
- Have a dance party – Throw on your favorite music and dance that bad mood away.
2. Create new gameplay, some kind of variations of hopscotch.
3. Immerse your toddler in a nice warm bath or engage in any water activity– no matter the time of day!
4. Connect by giving a big, long hug. You may not feel like it when both you and your toddler are in a bad mood, but connecting through physical touch will surely create a shift in energy.
What mood-changing activity will you try this week? Visit me @thriving.toddler on Instagram and share your favorite mood-changing activity with me.
Michelle Tangeman is a mom of two toddlers and a licensed marriage and family therapist and board-certified behavior analyst living in the South Bay. To learn more, visit www.michelletangeman.com or www.thrivingtoddler.com