outdoor lebanon locations | jaleesa

5 BEST OUTDOOR PLACES TO TAKE KIDS IN LEBANON

Summer is officially upon us and as parents we’re constantly looking for things to do with the kids. Beirut is not the easiest place to just get out of the house and unleash those little energy balls into green spaces, so we’re all working (quite) hard to find a place where our kids can run wild and free. Increasingly, and to parents’ greatest joy, little parks have been opening their doors in Beirut for us to feel a bit better about our kids’ play time. Also, there are lots of places to visit across the country which offer a great deal of outdoor satisfaction. Here are 5 we’ve tested for you:

In Beirut

1- Riverlane Park

Sin el fil, Beirut, Lebanon

At riverlane, you will find a small pond with a few ducks for your kids to feed, a few slides and climbing spots, and sand for little ones to build sand castles. A few tables are set for parents to relax, drink something cold and watch their kids spend a bit of energy before heading home for bath time.

2- Cottonwood

Dbayeh, Beirut, Lebanon

Cottonwood’s playground is quite vast with fun for all ages, from toddlerhood to teenage years. It also serves as a great venue for events such as birthdays and large family gatherings. There’s also a football court and a large grass area where families can picnic and relax.

In the Beqaa and in the North

3- Tawlet – Ammiq and Biomass

Bekaa, Lebanon

A few hours drive from Beirut, The two ‘Tawlet’ locations offer a nice green space where the whole family can enjoy the day. These eco-restaurants have a space for kids to play and for parents to have a good time. For lunch, they offer a buffet of Lebanese food – a healthy option for the whole family.

In Jezzine

4- La Maison de la forêt

Jezzine, Lebanon

If you book a cabana for the weekend at Maison de la Foret, you’ll get to spend the most amazing time with your kids, far from the pollution of the city. Apart from the peaceful sounds of nature, there are all sorts of outdoor activities to engage in! Fun!

In Metn

5- Mar Chaaya Farm

Broummana, Lebanon

Only 30 minutes from Beirut (by car), the Mar Chaaya Farm is ideal if you’re looking to kill a few hours in the afternoon to entertain your kids. There are lots of well cared-for animals they can watch and feed, and they get to run around a bit before heading home.

We would love to hear about your favorite locations in Lebanon!

toddler snacks | jaleesa

6 EASY SNACK IDEAS FOR TODDLERS 

Every mom knows how hard it is to vary those snacks you give your toddlers when it’s tempting to hand them a banana or biscuits every day. To make life a tiny bit easier, we’ve decided to compile a list of basic snack ideas for your toddlers – nutritionist-approved! Here goes:

1- Starting with the most basic and natural ones: fruits. It’s all about how you present the fruit that is essential. When your baby finally learns to eat unmashed food, you must still be careful to cut everything into small pieces or thin slices. Grapes, peaches, bananas, strawberries, pears, cherries, melon, watermelon, and oranges, are all fruits a toddler will learn to love.

The key here is not to worry about the mess they’ll make. This is actually one way for them to enjoy it.

If it’s summertime and your kids really want that ice cream, blend your own fruit mix (say strawberries and bananas) and freeze them in popsicle molds. You’ll be sure to look like a fun parent and they’ll have eaten their daily fruit portion.

2- Another basic one: yogurt. Now if your toddler likes to eat alone (and most of them do), here’s a little trick. See, what they really enjoy is the yogurt box. Just empty the box, leaving just a bit of yogurt in it and hand it over with a spoon. Every now and then, slip in a teaspoon of yogurt from the rest. Also, you can add yogurt to that homemade fruity ice cream!

3- For on-the-go snacks, here are 3 top choices:

  • Fruity rice cakes
  • Plain animal-shaped biscuits
  • Sugarless corn flakes

4- If you’re at home and want to have fun cooking with your toddler, pancakes can be a great snack idea! Choose a healthy, sugar-free recipe and make as many pancakes as you can. You can even include fruits like blueberries, raspberries or bananas to the mix. When they’re done, cut them into slices – they will look like fun finger food – and hand them to your little one. They’ll absolutely love it!

5- For something a little bit more savory, you can boil carrots and hand them over as finger food. It sometimes works, and sometimes they just crush them and play with the paste (which is also great for sensory development!)

Mamas, please do share your healthy snack ideas – there are never enough!

How to recycle in Beirut

How are your New Years’ resolutions going? One of ours is to live more sustainably– and we’re not the only ones!

Parents in our community care a lot about creating a sustainable future for ourselves and our children. Beirut isn’t the most eco-friendly city (lol), but that just means we have lots of room to grow! What better example can we set for our kids and communities?

To celebrate the new year (seriously, where does the time go?), we put together a list of resources for recycling in Beirut.

Recycle Beirut

This is a great social impact initiative that solves two problems in one: the waste crisis and the refugee crisis. Syrian refugees are employed to come to your house or building, and collect your recyclables, sort them, then send them on to recycling factories. Skeptical? Contact the team to organize a special tour of their facility. The cost is $10 per pickup.

Recycle Beirut takes all non-organic materials, except chips bags and styrofoam. This includes electronics, clothes, and batteries. Recycle Beirut operates in Beirut, Baabda, and Metn districts.

Live Love Recycle

Download the Live Love Recycle app, then request a free pickup for your recyclables. No need to sort: LLR will sort it all for you after pickup. LLR operates in partnership with Arc en Ciel and WFP.

LLR takes paper, cardboard, plastic, nylon, metal, and cans. For the moment LLR only operates in Beirut.

FabricAID

Everyone is always asking on our WhatsApp and email lists about where to donate clothes and shoes. FabricAID is our favorite option. It’s a startup that collects gently used clothes and shoes (you can drop them off at their bins throughout Beirut and the Metn). Once cleaned, FabricAID makes them available for low prices (500 – 2,000LL) so underprivileged families benefit from your donations in a sustainable and dignified way.

Here is a map of FabricAID’s bins:

Goodbye crazy wedge shoes! I’m a mom now

Did you know Jaleesa is running a holiday clothing drive? We’ve partnered with the Lebanese social impact business FabricAID — they will clean and rehab your clothes, then make them available for extremely low prices (maximum 2,000 LL) so that underprivileged families benefit from your donation in a sustainable and dignified way. (If you donate, you also get a 20% off voucher for an one-time Jaleesa booking of up to five hours, to gift or use yourself.)

I love giving back around Christmastime almost as much as I love paring down my wardrobe. Being a mom to an infant (hi Teddy!) means that I have fewer excuses to wear certain items. Like these crazy wedge shoes:

Teddy’s worth it 🙂

If you’d like to donate your gently used clothes and shoes for a good cause, check our social media pages or WhatsApp 76 817 019.

What a crap day!

Ever have one of those days where everything feels like it’s going wrong?

I had one last week.

Baby Teddy and I were in London last week, where we spend about one week in six. We do this because Will, my husband, and I both love our jobs in London and Beirut respectively and neither of us can bear to move permanently.

In London without my Jaleesa nanny I feel lost and disorganised. I’m not just saying that. I really honestly do.

My mum made the 2.5 hour journey to come babysit so I could focus on work. I was planning a big sprint to prepare for a board meeting yesterday.**

But Teddy had a fever so he was either on my boob all day, or crying. I could barely snatch half an hour to focus – and then I felt guilty and started making mum cups of tea in exchange for suffering a sick baby. I got very little work done, and felt guilty about that too.

Will tells me I’m the biggest “glass half full” person he knows. BUT… let’s be honest. It was a crap day.

**The board meeting went well though 🙂

DIY Christmas ornaments from recycled material

Now that Independence Day is past, there’s been a lot of chatter on our moms groups about how to do Christmas sustainably. Tonnie, mom of an infant, told us why she cares about teaching her baby to celebrate responsibly:

‘I guess when I thought about my baby’s first Christmas, I thought that I’d love to inspire him to be the type of person who creates, makes, repairs, shares, rather than just buys. A type of person who cares about the planet, animals and others. I thought the only way to ‘teach’ this is to make it our lifestyle in the smallest things, and how better to start than in our family traditions, including Christmas.’

Oh sorry, there’s just something in our eye… definitely not crying at our desks……

We rounded up a few links from the web and our moms groups for DIY Christmas crafts to do with your kids next month that will make your Christmas tree not only more personal, but more beautiful. Or put together a pile of throwaways and ask your Jaleesa babysitter to get creative with your kids!

Which of these crafts will you do with your kids this year? I’m obsessed with these adorable cork reindeer!

 

5 tips for handling a clingy baby

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Lebanon’s independence, Jaleesa is sharing posts on how to foster independence in babies and kids. This is the first in a series of two: check back later this week to see our post on how to encourage resilience and independence in your older kids.

Clingy infants are stressful for everyone. Not only is your baby upset by the slightest change in attention, but you’re stressed and anxious by the need to constantly be either attending to their baby, or suffering the (loud) consequences.

Babies being clingy is related to the realization that they are their own little person, separate from their parents. This stage begins at about nine months, and is a scary thing to face! So, for a while, babies will want to pretend it’s not happening by insisting on being with you– or on top of you!– 24/7.

Having a clingy baby can be trying, but it won’t be forever. Until the phase passes, here are some tips that might help:

  1. Be patient Your baby is super sensitive to your reactions, so even if you’re frustrated by not being able to do anything alone, take some breaths and stay calm.
  2. Be confident You haven’t spoiled your baby– a quick Google search will turn up evidence that a) nearly every parent faces Velcro baby syndrome at one point and b) it’s impossible to hold your baby too much. Put away insecurities about your parenting. This isn’t your fault!
  3. Teach your baby that things that go away come back Games like peek-a-boo help babies build confidence that things that leave their sight will come back. Putting a cherished toy into a box or bag, then taking it out again will help with this concept as well. Finally, add visual cues to your hellos and goodbyes, like waving. This will help link in your baby’s mind scary separation with happy return.


  4. Talk to her When you leave your baby with a family member, friend, or babysitter, tell her that you’re leaving and why. She understands more than you might think! Plus, learning how to listen is an important precursor to learning how to express herself.
  5. Know when to take a break Can’t get your baby to stop crying and feel like you’re going to lose your mind? Put your baby down and walk out of the room. Crying alone won’t hurt your baby, and if you’re not healthy and happy, your baby won’t be either.

When is it time to seek help? When your baby is inconsolable long after you’ve left her with a caregiver, or if she’s so anxious to do anything without you by her side for prolonged stretches.

Need to talk to a pediatrician? Check out our list of mom-recommended pediatricians in Beirut (with phone numbers!).

Beirut’s best pediatricians according to moms

Jaleesa did not take a commission from these pediatricians. They were referred by our community of moms.

Finding the right pediatrician is as important for parents as it is for kids. You want someone whose knowledge you trust, and who won’t make you feel guilty about calling in a panic at 3am.

We asked Jaleesa‘s community of moms in Beirut to share their pediatricians’ contacts and why they love working with them. We’ll be updating this list continually, so please let us know if you have something to add.

Dr. Fawzi Maalouf, AUBMC

01 350 000 (AUBMC appointments line) x 7950

‘Dr Maalouf is so caring and available, you can contact him any time. He was in charge of my baby girl in NICU and was wonderful in terms of communication.’ –Zena

Dr. Maruan Sokhon, Dekwaneh

03 861 296

‘A very special doctor, who gives his time to explain all details about any question you might have, and not a commercial one. I believe this is very rare in Lebanon.’ –Malda

Dr. Katia Tomme, AUH

01 350 000 (AUH appointments line)

‘Dr. Katia as well as being a great specialist for children with pulmonary issues and allergies, is very kind, empathetic and a good listener. She’s been treating my 1 and 3 year old for pre-asthma and pneumonia.’ –Mariuxi

Dr. Toufic Kikano, Jal el Dib & Hazmieh

03 359 619

‘He’s very professional, very calm, gives all the time I need, is a good listener, doesn’t like meds a lot and most important he’s not after the money.’ –Joan

Dr. Lama Charafeddine, AUH

01 350 000 (AUH appointments line)

‘Dr. Lama is very professional and has a good rapport with children of all ages. She’s thorough and also doesn’t rush to prescribe antiobiotics, which is a plus for me.’ –Mariuxi

Dr. Caroline Kanaan, Trad Hospital

03 675 763

‘She’s very responsive via WhatsApp whenever we have questions.’ –Lida

Dr. Patricia Kaldani, Bellevue Hospital

03 213 100

‘Dr Kaldani is gentle, caring, she listens to us and is very respectful towards both the parents and children. It took a few tries to find her and she’s certainly the right doctor for us.’ –Sara

Dr. Dunia Nakhoul, CMC Hospital

01 372 888

‘I think she’s great because she is super responsive to emergencies night and day and as a new mom you need someone who’ll pick up the phone.’ –Marta

Dr. Robert Saccy, Roum Hospital

03 201 455

‘He has more than 60 years experience, he’s a sweetheart and a very cool doctor.’ –Christelle

Check out this mom-approved method for handling a tantrum

Sara posted this video on a Beirut mom’s message board about how to handle your 3-year-old’s tantrum. We laughed, we cried, and we learned some great coping strategies for that most challenging of parenting crises.

We asked Sara why she thought this video was particularly helpful. Here’s what she had to say:

These videos are especially helpful; the role playing helps you visualize the situations and your reactions, which leads to more helpful outcomes. Nobody is perfect but this really helps me to be a better parent, even if we don’t always manage to put all these tools into action.

Do you think the strategies in the video will help you? Let us know in the comments!