We’ve had a pretty full week this week. We’ve done downtown walking, dentist appointments, strawberry picking, David preaching on Wednesday night and now it’s Thursday and I’m tired. Some weeks are like that, I hate to call them busy because that sounds stressful and some weeks are busy but not stressful so I’ll call them full. It’s funny when I think about having outing alone or as a couple versus having outings as a family or with the kids and one parent. I like to think that I’m a pretty efficient person when I want to be so I tend to be pretty productive when I have outings that I need to make. For example I’m fairly certain I could have done the dentist, picked up some things downtown and picked strawberries all in one afternoon alone. But since most of my outings are not done alone these are things that needed to be spread out over a period of days to make them more enjoyable for everyone.
Yes, outings with children can a bit more hectic than without for a few different reasons. First of all the “things” that you need when taking children on outing can be daunting. Strollers, bags, snacks and things to occupy little ones, it can honestly look like you’re going on vacation when you’re just trying to make it to the mall to pick up a few things. I’ve learned to simplify over the years but you have to take a certain amount of things with you. For example I rarely take a diaper bag in anywhere unless I’m planning on being there for an extended amount of time. This makes sense to me because I don’t utilize changing stations I do pretty much all diaper/clothes changing in our car if possible. It makes more sense for me, otherwise I would have to wrangle four kids into a bathroom and that’s too much trouble (on that same note bathroom visits are done before we leave home and little to no drinking is done until we’re on our way back home). I also limit stroller use. If I’m going in for a quick trip I let B3 walk and I put B4 in my wrap.
Outings can sometimes be difficult for us because we still have two nappers. B3 naps in the afternoon and B4 naps in the morning and afternoon. Most of our outings have to be in the middle of the day because I do not like to mess with nap time and even then I risk someone falling asleep in the car which is not ideal. Yes for everyone’s sake it is best to be at home during nap time.
Unfortunately some outings are just plain boring for the kiddos. No one really wants to sit in the waiting room while their brother gets his teeth cleaned. Outings like this may need a little more pre-thought. This week when we were in this situation I brought everyone’s lunch and we ate in the parking lot while B1 was getting his teeth cleaned. We only sat in the waiting for for about 15 minutes and then we followed up that trip with a quick trip to the .99 bookstore so everyone had something to look forward to.
Lastly I have realized that when going on outings with our kids I have to limit what we can accomplish in a day. Just the getting in and out of the car with everyone starts to get tiring very quickly. Instead of pushing it and trying to get everything done in one day we have to back off and do things a little less stringent schedule. It’s better for everyone, including me.
I do enjoy outings with our kids. I think that it is good for them to get out of the house and interact in a variety of places even if we’re just running errands. I even find that sometimes their behavior is better when we get out of the house more. The key to outings with kids is finding things that work for you that make it just a little easier. Do you have any tips that make getting out with your kids any easier?