Photos by Hillary Ehlen, Andrew Jason and the YMCA
We hear your questions, parents! While there are countless resources online and in books for parenting, sometimes you’re left scratching your head about some of those pesky parenting problems. Well, we heard you and we hope to finally answer some of those pesky questions. Two local couples tell us how they’ve handled some of these common problems.
Cortney and Brant Whaley
We’re looking to get our kids in some summer programs, but there are so many options in town. Do you have any recommendations on how to choose and what are worth our time?
We absolutely recommend the summer programs at the YMCA. They have so many options for all different ages, and the best part is that the programs continue throughout the school year and they are affordable. We can keep our children active all year round in a familiar setting. They have loved their teachers and the families that we have participated with. The YMCA also has a scholarship program so that all children can participate, no matter what their financial background looks like. It truly is a positive and uplifting community.
Help! I’m struggling to find the time to workout with my busy life. Do you have any recommendations on how I can find time to workout and make sure my kid has something to do?
This is such a never-ending battle with any person, we feel you. The YMCA has great fun and engaging group fitness classes. They have both land and water classes. You can workout while your children are well cared for in the PlayTown (a super fun and engaging “village” type setting – they even have their own little grocery store).
Now finding the time is a different story – we have to actually “schedule” our workout time or it just doesn’t seem to happen. We are sure to hold each other accountable by entering it into our family calendar. So when one of us gets the text, “How was your workout?” from the other, we send a good ol’ selfie while getting our sweat on at the gym.
It’s Saturday night and I have a 2 1/2-year-old and a 4-month-old. Where’s a good family-friendly spot to go out to eat?
We have recently discovered Mango’s restaurant on Main Avenue in Fargo. We ate there after a long work day and picking the kids up from daycare. We got there, sat down, ordered and received our food in less than 20 minutes. When dining out with the kids, we look for quick, delicious and friendly. Mango’s has all three.
I want to make sure I get my child involved in physical activity at a young age. What do you recommend for kids and what’s the earliest I can get them started?
We started swimming lessons right away at 6 months with our oldest. We plan to do the same with our baby when he is 6 months. We chose to do swimming lessons at the YMCA because of the wide variety time slots, and even more important, the warmth of the pool. We never were concerned about our babies being too cold in the YMCA’s small pool – it’s just the perfect set-up for swimming lessons for kids.
I want to instill the importance of giving back in my kids. What’s a good way we can give back as a family?
For us, giving back to the community helps build a humble and thankful person. Meals on Wheels here in the Fargo area is a great way to get our children involved. The friends that we deliver meals to absolutely love to see the children’s smiling faces, they get a hot meal delivered to them and our children get to experience the importance of helping others. We talk about how we have friends that help our family, and it is important to pass that on to others.
Any recommendations on family-friendly events we should attend this year?
Healthy Kids Day! This is one of our favorite events to attend as a family. Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, we want to focus on charging them up with enthusiasm for themselves, their potential and making it their best summer ever by keeping them active and learning. A few more favorites are the Midwest Kidfest and the Fargo Police Annual Community Picnic.
My husband and I need a date night. Do you have any ideas on ways our kid can participate in something fun but will give us a couple of hours of alone time?
The YMCA has an awesome program called “Parent’s Night Out.” They have this program once a month on a Saturday and how it works is this: You register your children for the program (there are multiple children discounts) by signing them up at the member services desk or by registering online. You bring your children on that day, they stay and participate in swimming, Kids’ Gym, PlayTown, Xerzone and they’re even fed supper. But get this – it’s not pizza and pop. It’s a healthy nutritional meal. The program is from 4-7:30 p.m. so that is enough time for dinner, a movie, shopping, house cleaning or even just to take a breath.
It’s important to me to expose my kids to new experiences. Do you have any suggestions on how we can step out of our bubble and experience new cultures or things to do as a family?
The best way to experience culture – put down the electronics and get outside. Visit downtown shops and restaurants, attend the Island Park events, go to Rheault Farms events, try new churches and visit with someone you wouldn’t normally visit with. There is a lot of knowledge and diversity here in Fargo, and by befriending someone – and teaching our children how to befriend – we can learn a lot and enjoy the many cultures that live in our area. When children ask why someone does something differently and if you’re not sure – then teach your children it’s ok to ask others questions. When we dig into the people of our community, we will quickly realize that our children are growing up with some pretty cool people and experiences.
It’s January and freezing outside but we still want to get out of the house. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do to be active?
The YMCA has some great areas to stay active during the cold winter months. We like to visit the PlayTown (there is one at Fercho and one at Schlossman), the Xerzone and Kids’ Gym at Fercho and the Climbing Wall and Play Loft at Schlossman. Both of the YMCA facilities also have basketball gyms where we can go and run around. Also, the new Aquatic Center at the Fercho YMCA is simply fantastic. They have three pools, one of them being a zero-depth entry pool.
We want to discover a new park in town. Any suggestions?
One of our favorite parks to go to is what our toddler calls “dinosaur park.” It’s actually called Elephant/Percy Godwin Park on 19th Ave., but we prefer to call it dinosaur park. I mean, it does have a purple dinosaur in it after all.
How can I hear about other family events going on in the FM area?
We gather most of our info from online sources. One of our favorites is the Facebook page Fargo/Moorhead Children’s Activity Page. We also will use the Fargo Park District event calendar found online.
Kara and Brian Jorvig
It’s a Friday night, we want to go out for a nice family meal and we want to go somewhere family-friendly but that still will be fun for us parents. Where do we go?
Tacos Trompo is one of our newest favorites. They have great authentic Mexican food and options for everyone in our family. It’s a local business, which we like to support, and a little taste of Mexico on a cold winter day does wonders. For something more interactive, Osaka is another go-to. Our kids love watching the Hibachi chefs do their tricks and it’s always a delicious and entertaining meal.
The kids are restless and we want to get outside and check out a new park that we haven’t explored. What do you recommend?
One of our favorite things to do is to bike from Lindenwood Park to downtown. Since we live in South Fargo, we pack up our bikes and drive to Lindenwood to get started. The winding path along the Red River and rapids are beautiful, we ride into Island Park, lock up our bikes on Broadway and go explore. A great stop for lunch or dinner is the Rhombus Guys rooftop, where you can relax for a bit before working off the pizza on your bike ride back.
We’re expecting our kid and we’re looking at daycare centers in town. How in the world do I find affordable childcare?
We were blessed to have found an amazing home daycare through a referral. Ask friends and co-workers about their experiences and then get on waiting lists right away.
My kids and I are looking for ways to get more involved in the community. What are some ways we can volunteer as a family?
Our kids have enjoyed spending a Saturday afternoon volunteering at a nursing home. For us, it has been a great opportunity to spend time with a loved one while helping brighten the days of other residents as well.
It’s -20 below outside, we’re restless and want to go do something but that’s not expensive. Where and what should we go do?
You can’t beat $5 Tuesdays at the Century movie theatre.
I want to introduce my kids to more arts and cultures. What’s the best way to do that in the FM area? Are there certain galleries or shows that are kid friendly?
Our family loves music so we enjoy attending the annual Trollwood musical and high school performances at Davies and Oak Grove. Our kids have also participated in summer camps that teach life-long skills through performing and being exposed to music and theater. The young talent in this community is amazing and the people leading the programs do a wonderful job.
*This article originally appeared in Fargo By Fargo.