Parenting in Prague

I accepted my role as a new father reluctantly, but that didn’t last. Nature gives us plenty of time to acclimate to our largest, and most critical responsibility ever.Prague Ex-pats with kids are extremely lucky. The Czech socialized safety net provides a mostly free ride, from the delivery room, straight through to university.Studies have also shown that Bi-lingual toddlers have longer attention spans, and sharper listening and empathic skills. Dual nationality is also automatic with two passports issued at birth. Medical, dental, and cultural, this is the place to do it.I live a few minutes behind The National History museum in Prague’s’ Nusle valley. This is a super-parenting neighborhood for a variety of reasons. Eateries and retailers are all now well aware, that our little people require respect too. Fancy “Kiddy-Corners” and modern outdoor nerf playgrounds are now the norm thanks to EU investment, and municipal evolution. The streets are also much safer as traffic must slow at intersections and school crossings. This is all happened rather swiftly, over the last five or six years.Before your little one is eventually vertical, you’ll be spending huge chunks of time either pushing a buggy, or strapped to your offspring endlessly circling your neighborhoods back streets. This is another fantastic opportunity to discover hidden river walkways and unseen public space. We have spent many days wandering the forested hills beyond Prague Four. I recently found an archery range, a colossal hidden train depot, and animals galore amidst the unpaved splendor of town.Super chill neighborhood cafes and restaurants are now happy to welcome our magic munchkins. One perfect example is the super hip “Rabbit in the Radio” on Charkovska 18. This retro-Wi-Fi-fun zone for parents andYoung ones alike, is a cafe/playroom hybrid with super healthy treats and trained supervision included. The décor is DIY with Pallet furniture and an actual live rabbit mascot that does, in fact, live inside an old radio. Super innovative and fun.While you check your mail and grab a snack, your child can discover and socialize with their like-minded peers. It’s cheap, and central, and can easily be combined with a walk through the vineyard majesty of the Grebovka gardens just down the block.Winter season swimming lessons are another activity that I can also highly recommend to connect with your new child. There are a variety of indoor swimming programs citywide that allow weekly swims alongside junior. They cost about 150 euros for a 10 week course. Our school, Raftik, is super Prague One central, just along Wenceslas Square.Elaborate waterparks have also sprung up everywhere for older kids. The privately owned and operated Betynka Leisure center opposite the Letna tunnel exit is a state-of-the-art facility nestled into the forested hillside of Stresovicve. Along with many immaculately maintained indoor/outdoor pools and waterslides, they offer a vast cultural roster of accredited courses and reach out to local orphans with camping, art, drama, holiday, and literary events. There’s no better family activity, than connecting meaningfully to your local community through fun.My child is still quite young, so staying local suits us fine. I’ve so much yet to discover and share that each month reveals ever-new widening options. The riverside farmers market at Naplavka is another Saturday morning favorite. Feeding the swans, or a quick boat trip to the opposite side is pure weekend bliss. With the train clacking overhead, local live musicians, and fresh food grills ablaze, the sensory bells set off my kids many alarms.The fear of parenting was a bogeyman my own mind had created that forever shielded me from this new-shared world. Now that I’ve made the jump, I can see the deeper sense of purpose and love that parenting in a magic city like Prague can offer.
Tim Otis

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Tim Otis