I've said this before, in order to make your trips and "staycations" filled with not just joy but also fun, observe the cardinal rule in parenting while traveling - always create a home away from home.
First of all, PREPARE AN ITINERARY BASED ON YOUR CHILD'S SCHEDULE (and I'm not talking about the timing - but more on the sequence of activities). Try to avoid disrupting your child's established routine unless you are willing to suffer the consequences. Respecting your child's inner clock will make her less likely to throw a tantrum in the car, the street, or a crowded place.
Second, LOOK BEFORE YOU BOOK. Check if the hotel you are booking has put a lot of thought into what it does for those travelling with children and if their offerings for children are as great as the rest of the property, you and your child may just fall in love with it. Do a research online and check out the guest reviews and photos. Don't leave it to chance that you may like it.
And if you observe a Montessori lifestyle like us, you really don't need to worry too much about the set-up -- what is important is you embrace the principles wherever you go.
PRINCIPLE 1: FOLLOW THE CHILD
This doesn’t mean allowing the child to do whatever they want without limits, but GIVING THEM CHOICES based on their interests and capacities. We do this by preparing the activities that Kara is very interested in.
Upon booking, we advised the hotel that we have a toddler and that she really loves to draw and paint. We brought our own set of activity bags but we were pleasantly surprised to see a Welcome Basket for Kara, filled with art materials. She immediately grabbed the art kit and started painting at the living room.
Kara accidentally spilled some of the water for her water color and she remembered that there was a kitchen towel by the kitchen so she asked to borrow it, and started cleaning up (see video here).
PRINCIPLE 2: MOVEMENT
Everywhere we go, we promote hands-on learning. Children learn best through experience. Kara attended the swimming lessons for toddlers by Aqua Logic and we make sure to give opportunities for her to continue practicing what she has learned. Children master skills through repetition.
Ascott has a wonderful pool for both adults and kids. They also provide swimming vests and other flotation devices. Compared to other luxury hotels we've stayed at, this was actually the first time we got offered with these. Kara tried to use it at first, but later on she took it off because she wanted to swim under water.
PRINCIPLE 3: FREEDOM WITHIN LIMITS
A child is free to MOVE, to follow their interests and make choices on what the wish to do within limits of appropriate behavior. They learn to respect themselves, others and the environment.
Children learn to focus when others avoid interrupting and commenting while they work (or play). We respect Kara's “uninterrupted work cycle" but of course, we do make adjustments depending on the situation. While out and about, there will always be distractions and sudden change of plans. We just make sure we still give enough time for Kara to be able to do what she wants.
Ascott Makati has a Cubbies Kids' Club and I absolutely loved the fact that there weren't a lot of toys - just enough to keep different age groups entertained.
Kara immediately went for the digger and she played in the club for an hour before we headed to dinner. Another great thing about The Kid's Club is that it's open from Mondays through Sundays from 6AM - 10PM. If you have a very active toddler, this is actually a great place to let them expend their energy aside from the pool.
PRINCIPLE NO. 4: PREPARED ENVIRONMENT
This is all about setting spaces on a child-friendly scale, as this encourages both independence and self-discipline.
It sounds impossible while travelling right? It's not really difficult once you understand that the important part is SAFETY and that the focus is LETTING THEM HELP THEMSELVES.
We had our dinner at Myron's Place and I just asked them to provide a High Chair for Kara so she can eat by herself. She has been eating independently since she was 6 months old. The high chair is very stable (it's made of wood - not the wobbly plastic kind).
Kara had a lot of their pasta (everything we ordered was so palatable that there were no leftovers at all).
Hubby tried their signature dish, the President's Steak.
We also brought Kara's potty. We actually bring a potty every time we leave the house. This is one of the ways we encourage independence. For staycations and short distance trips, we bring this one. I got it from SM Makati for P349.
For long trips here and abroad, we bring our Oxo Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty.
Montessori is really a lifestyle for us and what I love about it is that it's adaptable to any unique family situation. You just apply what you can, when you can. Ultimately, the objective is to raise a Happy, Independent, and Confident child.
As for our staycation, we really had an excellent time at Ascott. This is without a doubt, one of the best luxury hotels with a fierce commitment to parents and to kids. We're planning to stay at Somerset or Citadines for our next staycation!
Anyway, here are more photos during our stay. Get ready to be wow'd. They also have a washer and dryer and a complete kitchen (you can totally cook and prepare meals for your family). Plus, the malls and grocery stores like Rustan's are conveniently right beside Ascott.
The second bedroom.
The Master's Bedroom
Complimentary Dishwasher and scrub
Loccitane is LOVE!
Ah yes, this was extremely important to me -- different ports from VGA to USB to HDMI, for charging devices, and mirroring my laptop into the giant Flatscreen TV in the Master's Bedroom while watching a feel-good movie with the family.