Every outing with a new baby, toddler or children has a shelf life. As a parent, it is up to you to understand the limitations of travel with kids and prepare for it best to ease stress. Nothing is worse than having the baby wailing uncontrollably because he is hungry and cant be calmed or having your toddler break down at an event at a critical time. Whether you are heading to the grocery store, library, the zoo, a friend’s home or a performance there are three simple rules that every parent needs to abide by to ensure a stress free time:
- ONE: Feed the baby or kids BEFORE you head out the door. A full tummy ensures you minimum of one hour of peace. Often times, kids who don’t know how to express themselves, start getting agitated just because they are hungry. It’s like you wouldn’t venture out on a road trip on an empty gas tank because you’d be inviting trouble and a break down. Same rules apply. Simple solutions.
- TWO: Change diapers and empty bladders. A long car trip means that inevitably someone will want a potty break. You can put a lot of miles behind you by making sure everyone uses the potty before heading out. For babies a fresh diaper is best as well. It is amazing how many parents forget this golden rule and find themselves pulled over on the interstate having a kid crouch over a high patch of grass. Not safe.
- THREE. Communicate the length of the trip. Toddlers and small children are very astute and bright. Don’t be afraid to let them know clearly how long you expect to be out. They can adjust their little brains around the idea of how long they have to behave. Avoid offering a prize for good behavior because that encourages a bad standard. They should behave because it’s the right thing to do. You don’t want to set them up to think they get a reward for every little thing. For parents of infants, tell yourself in advance how long you plan to stay out and stick with it. Don’t get trapped into long conversations or convinced to extend the outing. The beauty of having a new baby is you can usually escape being out longer than wanted by telling the host of a party, for example, that you have to go back to put the baby down for its nap.
Don’t take for the granted the power we have in planning to alleviate the host of stresses that can come during routine outdoor excursions.
Good Luck and Have Fun this Spring!