As any parent can tell you, taking your kids on any kind of outing can be stressful. Even if you have planned something fun, children can be prone to complaining or just being plain uncooperative. This is especially an issue with the smaller ones.
Well, the good news is that there is a way to ensure that you have a great outing that everyone can enjoy. Sure, it takes some planning but, in the end, it is all worth it. So, here is what you need to do make sure the day goes as smoothly as possible:
Plan Around Your Regular Schedule
If you have very young children, there is a good chance that they will have gotten used to a schedule. This means that their bodies expect them to eat and nap at specific times. So, if you try to break this routine, there is a good chance that you will be met with tears and tantrums.
When planning your outing, pay attention to when your child needs to be fed and when they need to rest. Make sure that these needs are met at appropriate times. Plan the rest of your day and activities around these intervals. This way, you will be less likely to encounter any problems stemming from a change in their routine.
Older kids won’t mind not being as rigid. Still, you should keep in mind that they will probably get hungry or tired at typical times. As such, you shouldn’t try to push them too far outside of their comfort zone.
Start Your Outing Early
When planning an outing, particularly a day one, it is best to start early in the morning. Do this and end your day early as well. This way, your kids are less likely to get grumpy and tired. While some kids can wake up in a bad mood, this can quickly dissipate as you get your day started.
Just make sure that your kids get plenty of sleep the night before. Put them to bed early so that they can be well rested. This will make the morning wakeup call a lot easier for them to handle. Lay out clothes, breakfast, etc. so that they can go through the motions without too much hassle. Then, before you know it, you will be on your way.
Pack the Essentials
Kids need a lot of stuff. And, the longer that you are away from home, the more things that they are going to require. This is why you need to pack well. Having the right items on hand, at the right moment can make all the difference.
The first step is to get a suitable carrier or bag for all these items. Focus on trying to get one that can fit everything that you will need. This way, you won’t have several bags weighing you down. Look for a bag that has several compartments or pockets. These features make it a great deal easier for you to stay organized.
Now, think about what you will need for your trip. This will largely depend on the age of your kids. Little ones may need diapers, wipes, formula, feeding bottles, a change of clothes, etc. Older kids will require snacks, water, juice, and perhaps a change of clothes.
Once you have covered the essentials, it is time to consider the other things that you may need. To a certain degree, these can be considered must-haves as well. This could include coloring and activity books, storybooks, and more. Toys and a special stuffed animal may be required as well.
Keep these items in a separate bag, though. If your children are old enough, give them small knapsacks to carry. This way, they can hold exactly what they will need for the trip. Give them some control over what they can pack, just to help them feel like they are involved.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – And Go Early!
If you have older kids, then you can afford to be spontaneous. With young ones, though, it is best to plan ahead. In fact, try to plan out the outing every step of the way. You should have plan to move from one activity to another in quick succession. Make sure that you plan for lunch, bathroom breaks, and naps as needed.
Now, this can sound rather rigid, but planning your outing can prevent your kids from getting bored or restless. You won’t be left standing around trying to figure out what to do next. Instead, you will already be on the move. This keeps the children occupied and distracts them from complaining.
If possible, pre-book tickets and make reservations as necessary. This will prevent you from needing to stand in line with your family. Not to mention, it ensures that you get to the fun part immediately – no waiting around!
In case you are headed to a popular destination, it is important to get to your location as early as you possibly can. If you know that you will need to wait in line get there before others will start cueing up. This way, you can be let in before others, preventing you from needing to fight against a crowd.
End the Day Early
Have you ever had a lovely outing that is ruined by a tantrum or grumpy child towards the end of the day? This is more likely to happen when your kids are overtaxed and have reached their breaking point. Once this has happened, there is very little that you can do to cheer your child up. And even getting them to bed at this point will be difficult.
This is why you should know when to bring the fun to a stop. Younger kids will get tired quicker than older kids. So, you may want to call time before the sun begins to set. Even with older kids, make sure that you are headed home or to a hotel well before their bedtime. This will make it far easier to end the day on a positive note.
So, there you have it – how to have a pleasant and calm outing with your family. If you are tired of feeling that every family event is a battle, follow these guidelines. They should help to lighten your load.