I have found that our two toddlers get stir crazy and are more likely to act out if we stay home all week. I try to get out two or three times a week with all three kids. We usually run errands one morning, go to our Bible study one morning, and go to story time at the library one morning. It’s not always easy to get out with all of them, but I know it’s important for all of us to get out of the house.
- Restock the diaper bag whenever you get home. To save myself time the next time we go out, I always make sure to clean out the diaper bag and throw away any trash/dirty diapers as soon as we get home. If I don’t have a chance as soon as we get home, I make sure to leave the diaper bag out on the kitchen counter until I have a chance to clean it out. Then I add any more diapers/snacks, etc. that we have used while we are out. After it is ready again, I put it back into the mudroom so that it’s ready to grab the next time we go out.
- Get everything ready the night before. I try to make sure the diaper bag is ready, to get snacks ready in our Munchkin snack catchers, and to set anything I will need to bring on the kitchen counter for the next morning.
- Have backup diapers and clothes in your vehicle. I have mentioned this in previous posts but in case you forget to restock the diaper bag or happen to run out of diapers/extra clothes while you’re out, I always find it helpful to have backups that I leave in my vehicle. Make sure to update sizes of diapers/clothes occasionally otherwise this won’t end up being helpful if the ones you have are too small.
- Get lunch ready before you leave or pick it up on your way home. I have started making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before we leave and having them set out on paper plates in the fridge with some fruit and string cheese. That way, if we get home and the kids are starved and the baby is crying, all I have to do is pull the plates out of the fridge and set them on the table so the older two can start eating lunch while I nurse the baby. Another thing we do occasionally is pick up lunch on the way home. The kids get excited since this is a treat and it is another easy lunch that I can just set out for them when we get home if I need to attend to the baby.
- Try to plan a time when no one will be hungry or tired. With a baby, this is not always possible since she still takes so many naps and needs to eat every couple hours. But I do try to plan our outings around our toddlers’ schedules. I don’t go over a mealtime unless I will have snacks or something for them to eat. And I also make sure to be home by nap time so they don’t get overtired or cranky. I personally don’t think it’s fair to expect my kids to be well behaved if they are tired or hungry.
- Babywear if baby needs a nap while you’re gone or bring a sound machine for carseat naps. The first couple months, our baby napped great in her infant carseat with a sound machine and carseat cover while we are out. Now that she is getting a little older and more alert, I find that sometimes it is easier to bring my ergo baby carrier since she naps great while I am baby wearing her.
- Give yourself lots of extra time. It definitely takes me longer to get all three kids ready with shoes and jackets on and into their carseats. So I make sure to account for this and give myself extra time anytime we need to go somewhere.
- Checkout this post for some more tips on how I go grocery shopping with kids.
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