Understand your child’s needs when planning an outing
Having kids and getting outdoors goes hand in hand. Even if you weren’t the outdoorsy type before baby, you will find a new appreciation for getting outdoors and no doubt end up on many adventures.
In the early months, you will want to get out to explore this new world with your little one. You will end up frequenting the closest pram-friendly cafes and start searching for all the fun, baby-friendly activities. But as they get older, you will need to take them out. Busy little toddlers need an outlet and that often comes in the form of physical outdoor activity. You will be sourcing the best parks, closest music/sport/dance classes and when you are feeling more adventurous? The zoo or aquarium is always a hit.
Gone are the days where you can leave the house with nothing but your keys, wallet and phone. Nowadays it takes planning and that ‘planning’ can be dependant on age. While there are the obvious things like nappies, wipes, food and a change of clothes.. there are also a few things you might not typically think of. These can make your outings a success.
During the first few years of your little one’s life, their awake windows will change. I have found these to be a game-changer over the last few years. Planning your day around sleep times means your little one will enjoy themselves so much more – and so will you!
The Daily Rhythms found in the Kiindred App will help to guide you on what to expect for your little one. Once you know where they are at with their awake window, you can plan your movements throughout the day. For example, is your car journey long enough for them to get uninterrupted sleep? If it is, then why not let them have that sleep en route. If you are travelling on a busy train or bus, chances are they won’t be able to sleep. This is where you can either head out after their nap or make sure you arrive at the destination in time for their sleep. They will be able to drift off much easier in a more calm and quiet environment.
If you are heading out on foot, check in with your Daily Rhythm to see which sleeps are best for taking when out and about. When your little one is on a few sleeps during the day, these are usually the catnaps. It is much easier to get them to have a shorter sleep while out, rather than a big afternoon nap.
As your little one gets much older they may even refuse to sleep outside. So pick your battles. Do you want to head out earlier in the day, so that you are back for the afternoon nap? In my eyes that’s always a yes – nobody wants to be dealing with a very overtired toddler. Of course there will be occasions where you will have to take your child out at an inconvenient time. That’s life! Try not to get too worried about it and just plan around it the best that you can.
A lot of parents expect that their baby will sleep while out and about – which is true to some extent. A baby under 6 weeks will generally sleep anywhere (and well) but as they get older, they will be stimulated by their surroundings. This can make it much harder for them to fall asleep and result in them becoming overtired.
If you plan on getting your little one to nap while out on your adventure, then you will need to be prepared! If they use a sleeping aid such as a comforter toy or dummy, then be sure to take it along so that they have their cues for sleep.
For newborn babies, they will generally be in a bassinet attachment, so wrapping and swaddling can help. If they are in a capsule, they will generally be nice and snug already which can make sleep much easier. In some locations the temperature can be very inconsistent, so having a pram blanket and/or swaddle is a great idea for tucking them in nicely for sleep.
The Sleeping Environment – Pram
Another thing that people don’t always consider is how comfortable the pram is. If you expect your little one to sleep while out and about, then a rickety travel pram with no suspension may not cut it. It is also helpful to have a pram with a decent hood and seat that lies flat, so that they aren’t going to move around too much which can disrupt sleep.
As your kids grow or your family expands, you may need to work out a different configuration for your pram. You might think that Miss 3 year old likes to walk, but after a day at the zoo, I can almost guarantee you’ll end up carrying her. See what accessories are available for your pram and always have a backup. We couldn’t live without our footboard and often have the toddler fighting over who gets to ride along on it.
Snacks. Lots of them!
Heading out for an all day adventure without snacks and water, is setting yourself up for failure! Nobody wants a hangry child toddler (or mama for that matter). Whilst most cafes/restaurants will be able to cater for your needs, places like the zoo or aquarium might be a little more limited – and you don’t want to spend your time searching for snacks when you can be enjoying the sites.
Bento style lunch boxes are a great idea, as you can pack loads of healthy, nutritious snacks. Wholesome foods will also ensure they stay satiated for longer and won’t leave you with an endless request for food because the junk food you had to resort to, didn’t fill their tummy.
Whilst these things might be seemingly obvious, being prepared is key! Not planning for an outing will almost always guarantee it will end in tears, and not necessarily from you child! Set yourself up for success by preparing the night before. Have the snack boxes ready, pram bag packed and even write down your timings. This will mean that you can get out the door with much more ease and enjoy your outing so much more.