Home Hudson County Local Parenting Hacks from Hoboken Moms

Local Parenting Hacks from Hoboken Moms

by Melissa Lacks
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Being a parent of toddlers and tweens is tough enough — but try being a parent of toddlers and tweens who are rambunctious and full of energy during a 35-degree day. In honor of International Women’s Month, we interviewed three amazing, powerhouse local moms who’ve given us their hacks, tips, and tricks for Hoboken’s amazing parent community. As the old adage goes, moms have that sixth sense, that moms just know kind of vibe – we’ll call it ‘ESP’ which for our purposes stands for eat, sleep, and play. So let’s take a deeper look into what exactly that ESP means here in Hudson County and how local parents can meet and stay connected. Read on to learn some tips for local parents from Hoboken moms.

hoboken mom hacks

Meet the Moms

Maria Roberts

The content creator behind @spinach4breakfast turned @mariaroberts. Maria is a pediatric speech pathologist but started out @spinachforbreakfast as a recipe blog — which then grew into a motherhood-focused lifestyle social media following of around 137K. Maria is a longtime Hoboken resident with two adorable toddlers.

Vanessa Rissetto 

A registered dietitian nutritionist, co-founder and CEO of Culina Health, Vanessa is on a nutrition revolution to make personalized clinical nutrition care accessible for everyone. She has been a Hoboken resident since 2002, and is a mom of two, ages nine and 11.

Melissa Ben-Ishay

Founder and CEO of Baked by Melissa cupcakes, Melissa, her husband, and two girls ages seven and four, have resided in Hoboken for over seven years now. She started her cupcake business back in 2009 after being let go within the advertising industry and has never looked back. She currently has 14 locations across the country and can ship cupcakes across the US. Melissa also released her first cookbook in 2017 titled, Life Is What You Bake It.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Baked by Melissa (@bakedbymelissa)

Read More: Resources for New Parents in Hoboken


For all the picky eaters out there, what are some of your tricks to get them to eat?

Maria: I love to follow the motto ‘high exposure, low pressure’. If they don’t like an item, don’t push it — always give them two things on their plate they like along with something new. Exposure is key and I always strive to hit about 10-20 exposures if I can.

Vanessa: I love bundling, always looking to bundle one item they like with one item they don’t like — i.e. a vegetable like carrots + piece of bread. I also know that kid’s pallets are always changing, so in my house ‘you don’t have to like it, but you have to try it’.

Melissa: Being a cookbook author, I’m all about gravitating towards hiding ingredients — i.e. Zucchini cake, hiding a ‘healthy food’ into a ‘sweet food’ that kids may gravitate towards. I also love educating my kids that food is not a sin and it gives you the vitamins and nutrients you need to be alert for your day.

What are some great local spots to take your kids?

Maria: 10th and Willow is a great, easy spot for young kids. I also love the Biergarten uptown on 15th and Grand — has a great area for kids to run around.

Vanessa: Elysian Café at 10th + Washington, every Tuesday night kids eat free. I also love Turning Point uptown and Zack’s on 3rd and Willow. Since my kids are a little older now, I love to pick a place that is a little louder and entertaining so they don’t necessarily need a screen to watch during mealtime — my goal is to teach them how to sit during the meal so we can connect.

Melissa: Onieal’s on 4th and Park, the best-grilled cheese in town. Also, love Northern Soul on 1st between Harrison and Marshall — great open restaurant with arcade games for kids.


Tips on getting kids to bed and making bedtime easy? What are your thoughts on screen time being included in the routine?

Maria: Consistent routine is key, and it may look different for every family. I also love using routine charts from Etsy, especially at bedtime. While keeping it consistent, it also lets the kids take part in the routine and keep it fun. Screen time is ok if they ask for it to calm them down and let them be comfortable with a favorite show.

Vanessa: Definitely need consistency, whether that is a bath, book, brush teeth or bed — I don’t steer them towards the screens as I want to keep reading consistently.

Melissa: Scheduling is key — having a regular schedule is incredibly helpful for bedtime and naptime. I also tell my kids, what you do with your brain when you wake up impacts the way your brain develops — therefore, after a good night’s sleep, I don’t allow them any screentime during weekday mornings before school.

Did you sleep train?

Maria: Yes but tried to keep it very casual, I followed the 12-hour 12-week method and even sometimes used the cry-it-out method.

Vanessa: Oh yes, I highly recommend but do what works for your family.

Melissa: We did for our first kid — we tried the Ferber method which did work for us.


What are some of your indoor play hacks?

Maria: My whole view on play for toddlers is allowing them to be creative on their own. If you see them playing, do not interrupt them — even when you see them struggle, let them struggle and figure it out. Independent play is super important. I like to set up sensory trays, scavenger hunts, or brain breaks on YouTube.

Vanessa: Finding places or spots to meet other kids is key, whether that be indoor gyms or classes.

Melissa: Coloring, playing checkers, cooking/baking — really any activity to keep them busy so they can express their creativity.

Any indoor play recommendations in the area?

Maria: Love My Gym in the Monroe Center and The Hive on Park and 10th, both great spots with kid-centric areas for play.

Vanessa: The Little Play Co. is great. Also, the American Dream Mall has indoor skiing, a waterpark, an aquarium and so much more for kids.

Melissa: I love The Hive on Park and 10th, such a great atmosphere with a great kid play area. Northern Soul is also so much fun and can keep your kids busy for hours while the adults relax with good food and drinks. My kids also take Taekwondo over at the Monroe Center. The Monroe Center on 7th and Monroe has great class options for kids of all ages.

Thoughts on outdoor play? Where can parents go to get outside?

Maria: Anything active, all the great parks in the area, outdoor coffee shops.

Vanessa: Can’t go wrong with the park.

Melissa: Parks, bike riding, scooters — anything in the Pier A area is fun and enjoyable. I also love the Biergarten uptown where the kids can be outside and do arts and crafts while the adults hang out.

See More: Incredible Montclair Moms Who Inspire Us

Lastly, how do you recommend meeting other parents in the area?

Maria: It is all about meeting moms through your kids. I always find myself chatting with another mom if I am with my kids for a certain activity, i.e. the park, the Hive, a class, etc.

Vanessa: If you see a mom you want to chat with, just say hi — odds are someone is happy you did and you are likely going through the same ‘mom stuff’.

Melissa: You need to put yourself out there. When I had my first, my husband and I made a pact to be more friendly and outgoing — and I tried to say hi and chat with any moms I saw pushing a stroller. I met so many great friends to this day from this. Also, huge advocate of daycare, an amazing way to meet moms.

read more button

Become a local expert in no time.
Enter your email address to stay in-the-know. No spam, promise.
Thank you for subscribing!

also appears in

0 comment