Before kids we were constantly on the getting out of the house. We just aren’t the kind of people who like to just sit around at hone all day. Both Daniel and I have to have outings of some sort or we get antsy. With a two and a half year old and an 8 month old getting out isn’t always the easiest. There’s more to bring and way more to do before you even leave your driveway. Then there’s keeping them contained and entertained in public. Overall it’s just hard. But I feel like it’s so important for our sanity and to help the kids learn early on how to handle different situations and experience more than just their home.
Here’s a few tips for getting out with littles!
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Mindset. It’s going to be fine. With Elijah, and even now sometimes with both boys, I was always worried about all the things that could go wrong. Feeding, diaper changes, melt downs, it all seemed so daunting in public. But you know what? I know how to handle all of these things. Sure the location is different but my boob or bottle has milk, diapers still go off and in the same way, a melt down in public can be handled in the same way you would at home. Kids and babies will follow your lead and latch on to your confidence and calmness.
Also, be prepared to take them on “breaks” from the table, especially as babies. Look for things like a bookshelf, a fountain, or an outdoor garden area. Just something to break up the monotony of sitting at a table.
“They are not entitled to a kid free existence.” Cara, from Taking Cara Babies. (Side note – look this lady up and take her classes if you have a newborn. Best money we ever spent.) Most people are going to be so nice when you are out with kids. Most people love babies and think toddlers saying hello is the cutest thing. But kids and babies are loud, it’s just part of who they are, and there are some crazy people out there who don’t like kids. And you know what? That’s their loss. And if they want to not be around them? Well then they can shop at midnight, eat at the fancy steakhouse, and take a private jet. It’s not our responsibility to cater to their negativity. Teach kindness and politeness and forget about the rest.
Be prepared. Try to get out in between baby’s feedings and naps. This takes the pressure of doing those things in public away. Take activities for toddlers. Elijah has a whole backpack with toys, books, and coloring stuff that he only plays with when we are out at restaurants. He is entertained, and it keeps it fun. Snacks are also always essential for kids as well!
Keep them contained. When I take the kids out by myself to a store, Elijah has to stay in the cart. Even if we only need one or two things, I get a cart and he sits in it. No negotiation on this. I strap the baby to me in the Ergo, and Elijah is in the cart. Not having to chase him around makes a huge difference in both the workload and efficiency of the trip and his attitude and behavior.
Get out early! Maybe this is just my kids (or maybe even just me) but it seems like when we get out earlier in the day there tends to be more success. There always seems to be less meltdowns for breakfast or lunch than for dinner time.
Just because you have kids does not mean you are stuck at home all the time. It may be a little more difficult, but continue to get out and do things and eat at restaurants with your kids. They learn so much about life, being social, and having manners from going to all sorts of different places! Remember to relax and enjoy!
All photos were taken by Cameron Storie of Cam Storie Photography. If you are looking for a photographer, she is so talented and so sweet!