This is a sponsored guest post. To most parents, planning for a simple day out with the kids is similar to a strategic army attack. Equipment, food, back up resources, incidental supplies, and entertainment, must all be catered for. It’s no wonder many parents just give up and decide to stay home for next five to ten years! If spending a day out with the family fills you with dread, then we may have a few suggestions up our sleeve, to bring back a little peace and restore the fun a family outing should bring.
Transportation and travel
The single most challenging scenario for a young family with more than one child is juggling either a toddler and a baby or worse still, two toddlers. Seeing unsuspecting parents trying to navigate their way around using poorly designed or not fit-for-purpose prams, is painful to watch. Superior quality twin prams and strollers, with huge storage capacity and the ability to adapt to every age of the child – from newborn to preschool, are an investment which ultimately returns the best value for money. These versatile prams can offer the dual convenience of fitting both a newborn cot and a stroller, at the same time. Look for options with the flexibility to integrate travel systems, so you can transfer sleeping babies in and out of cars without disruption. Plan trips to allow plenty of time to get where you are going. Toilet stops, car sickness and food breaks, are inevitable parts of travelling with children, so avoid committing to a set arrival time, as this can cause unnecessary stress and angst.
As tempting as sugary treats can be with little ones sitting up in the back of the car, try a ‘no lollies’ policy. In a case of short-term gain for long-term pain, the proven relationship between hyperactivity and sugar means you can be exacerbating the restlessness, crying and irritable behaviours associated with travelling with children. Provide healthy, natural snacks which won’t leave a mess and which don’t contain additives, preservatives or sugar (as these can all contribute to behavioural issues). Kids may complain at first but hey, you have a captured audience, so they will usually take what they can get. Use age-appropriate foods to avoid choking hazards. Some suggestions may be:
- Fruit slices
- Cheese cubes or sticks
- Date and coconut rolls
- Carrot sticks
Keep everyone hydrated with adequate water or fresh fruit juices. Timing Time the trip to ensure you all arrive fresh and awake. That means for long or overnight trips, prepare so children can comfortably sleep along the way. Plan short trips in the morning or after naps to avoid grumpy, fractious infants and toddlers.
Sitting in a restaurant or down to dinner at a friends house is a huge challenge for parents of little ones. Colouring pads only entertain for so long before kids get the urge to move. Phones and iPads, loaded with kid-friendly apps, can provide a quiet source of amusement but try to use them as a last resort as there is increasing concern over their effects on eyesight, particularly in the young. Avoid using them in the evening as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with the release of melatonin and thus inhibit sleep. Providing older children with a camera can furnish them with an interesting hobby and energy outlet, as well as keep them engaged with their surroundings. Print out the best photos when you get home to foster their creativity.
One of the most important lessons we learn in life is self-discipline. Kids learn fast and teaching them that there are times they can play and times they must just sit still, will provide ongoing benefits. These are lessons which will serve them well throughout their life. If your outing involves visiting with friends, there is no quicker way to ensure you never get another invite than allowing your kids to run amok in their house. Training should begin at home with respecting their own belongings and will transfer to other peoples. Family outings should and can be, a wonderful bonding time for everyone. These adventures can create shared memories which will last for the rest of their lives.