Since both my girls are too little for school, and my husband is a full-time med school student, anywhere I want to go, the girls come too. I’ve gotten used to running errands, discovering Knoxville and having my own fun while trying to manage nap schedules, snacks and meals. Some days are smooth and easy and others are just plain embarrassing.
After so much experience getting out and about with my little ones, I’ve noticed some trends in successful outings compared to unsuccessful outings. I admit that I’m not always diligent in following these tips, but on the days I’m not, I wish I would have taken an extra five minutes to get my ducks in a row before heading out. It really makes all the difference.
4 Tips for Successful Outing with Little Ones
- Food: Bring snacks and drinks anytime you leave the house. Even if you think it’ll be a short trip or they just ate. Having a favorite snack on hand can quickly dispel an approaching tantrum. While shoving food at our kids isn’t necessarily a habit we want them to continue, I’ve found that most of the time my kids are cranky it’s because they haven’t eaten in a while and they’re feeling hungry. When hunger is the problem, having snacks on hand is the best solution.
- Choose Activities Carefully: Some activities are more kid-friendly than others. The same is true of restaurants. Be aware of where you’re going and how your little ones are likely to act while you’re there. We were shopping (with my husband) and went into a formal dress shop. In my mind I figured I’d go in and Brent would stay out with the girls. However, they all followed me in. It was a nightmare! The store employee was hyper paranoid about every little things the girls did and I could hardly see a single dress because I was trying to keep their hands off of everything. Formal dress shopping is best down without kids. (Duh!) This means I don’t get to shop for myself very often. At this stage in my life, this is something I’ve come to terms with.
- Don’t Over-Schedule: For us the drive to Knoxville is over an hour. So when we go, I try to get as much done as I can. But the reality is, I can go 2 maybe 3 places before we have to take a break. If I take them to play somewhere for lunch, then I can maybe get one more store out of them before they are exhausted and ready for the nap on the way home. If I try to do more, they are usually very fussy and it’s difficult to get the extra errands done. It’s always a game of balance and what I feel up to dealing with.
- Plan for Play: Little kids needs oodles of free play and time to move around. We try to make physical play a part of each outing. Depending on where we do our errands, we spend time at the play area at the mall, the Wee Play area at the Knoxville Zoo, Chuck E Cheese’s (I love their coupons for tokens) or the park. Whichever we choose, the girls are more cooperative and happier when they get the chance to play.