Maybe it’s living in a small apartment. Perhaps it’s the gloriously sunny mornings. It could be the boundless energy that only toddlers seem to possess.
Whatever it is, living in Singapore sees me leaving my apartment, with toddler, more often than I imagine I would if I was living back in Australia.
If there is anything I have learnt in the last few years of parenting it is this: I must be prepared if I am to have any chance of enjoying an outing with my toddler. There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at my destination, having braved public transport with a little one in tow, only to find I don’t have what I need.
Here’s what I have found are absolute essentials when getting around Singapore with young kids (besides the obvious ones like wet wipes, nappies and snacks!).
Ez-Link Cards allow you to catch public transport with ease; hop on the bus, touch your card to the machine to deduct the fare, touch again when alighting and you’re all done. You can add value to your card at any MRT station customer service desk (for free) or in any 7/11 (costs 50c). Kids travel free until they are 0.9m in height, when you’ll need to buy them a concession ticket (available from MRT ticketing desks).
Hat and Sunscreen
Singapore could be (or perhaps it already is) known as the sunny state. The sun shines for a disproportionate amount of the year – it only really disappears during thunderstorms – so wearing sunscreen and a hat is pretty much a uniform everyday in Singapore. Carrying extra sunscreen and a hat around in your nappy bag will ensure you never get caught without it. I tend to use one of those “kids” sunscreens, minimum SPF 30+, as they great for those with sensitive skin (me) and the kids (of course).
Keeping adequately hydrated is a constant battle in Singapore. It is just so hot and humid all the time that keeping your kid’s water levels up can be a real challenge. Toddlers, in particular, dehydrate more quickly than adults, so need to be offered frequent sips of water. Carrying a water bottle around with you is absolutely necessary, particularly so when your little charges have been running around the park or play centre all morning.
One of the things I really love about being in Singapore with kids is that there are so many free waterplay areas dotted around the island. Many of the major shopping malls have water play areas – VivoCity, 112 Katong and Nex, to name a few – which are usually met with squeals of delight from my 2-year-old. Bring a towel because the kids (and probably you too mama!) will be getting wet.
Change of Clothes
Carrying around a spare t-shirt and shorts might seem a bit over-the-top but can be so useful for hot and sweaty kids. A morning at the playground can see well-groomed kids descend into red-faced, sweaty beings, where there is nothing left to do but get the kids changed into dry clothes. I never thought to carry a spare t-shirt with me until we moved to Singapore and it has come in handy more times than not.
Originally from Australia, Sarah Fennell landed in Singapore via Hong Kong, where she spent 3 years eating Dim Sum and doing laps of the Peak Trail (in between having a baby and changing nappies). Since arriving in early 2011, Sarah set out to explore the Lion City in search of the perfect cappuccino (for her) and playground (for the toddler). All this exploring – combined with her moderate addiction for online media – lead to the Little Notebook blog, Sarah’s very own corner of the web, where she shares her ideas for enjoying family life in Singapore. In between blogging and child wrangling you’ll find Sarah writing for various online publications – like right here at Sassy Mama!