Since I teach fitness classes in said 30-minute-away town, I like to combine my excursions as much as really possible, this means that I am frequently spending several hours at a time out and about with 6 children in tow.
Sounds exhausting, yes?
MOST of the time, though, it is really that good. Surely, we have our share of bad attitudes (mine’s usually the worst), toddle disasters, diaper blowouts, and also another normal casualties of hauling little kids out in public and then requiring them to act while doing dull things like grocery shopping or returns.
But we also have-dare I say it-interesting during our trips. (I can hardly believe I just typed that). I’ve been dragging children along with me on errands for 9 years so I thought I might share my best hints for making the encounter as wieldy and also marginally pleasant as you possibly can.
If you have already got your routine down pat feel free to skip them, but I figure it is worth posting when even one individual can be helped by them.
I do not always remember to do this, but things always seem to go easily, if for no other reason than that my attitude tends to be better when I do say a quick prayer in the car before we head out on our assignments.
Additionally, it helps hold me accountable, since my kids have just heard me asking the Lord to give us “patience and kindness.”
2. Convey Clear Expectations
So, you’ve prayed about “patience and kindness” and all that, but kids are always able to make use of a small positive reinforcement and special instruction, so I like to take a second in the vehicle to remind my kids to “be a blessing” everywhere we go and allow them to know how they can perform that (i.e. opening doors for the stroller or other individuals, carrying bundles into the post office, entertaining their little sisters, etc.).
3. Give them an Itinerary
So, I usually say something such as: “We’ve two errands to run-the post office as well as the grocery store-before the gym. IF we’ve time. Please worry about it or do not correct Mama, if we don’t. We’ll get them done another time.”
Seriously, the difference between a successful one as well as a failed errand can generally be traced back to how prepared I was.
Oh, good grief, Abbie. Have you been seriously suggesting that I make a game plan for a visit to Walmart? That’s way too much work.
Not quite. But when you understand you will have to do multiple errands in a row-particularly with really little children-having an arsenal of distractions and time -stretchers is fairly crucial not to losing your everloving mind.
I And I understood we were going to be there to get the absolute minimum of TWO hours each and every time, so I would plan ahead with levels of distractions.
For instance, I’d make sure to stash the following in my own bag:
I really think the secret to maintaining your toddler from losing it is levels of distractions.
Here’s what I mean: a small child might not desire anything to keep him happy and will probably be interested in studying his environment when you enter a shop. This might last anywhere from 5-30 minutes, if I’m blessed but I normally get about 15.
I Will pull out a bite like graham crackers or pretzels, when the natives begin getting restless. This buys me another 10-15 minutes.
And then, obviously, when they’re done using their bite, they will be thirsty, therefore I whip out the juice cups. We do not drink juice that is much at home, so even watered down grape juice looks like a big treat and keeps them occupied for a while.
Usually, by this point, they’re fairly content to noticing for a while, to go back since their bellies are full and joyful.
When, as inevitably happens, the whining starts up, I Will pull out their favourite portable plaything, which nearly constantly swings their moods back in the proper path.
Fruit snacks take some time to chew through and really are a large treat around our house, so if essential somewhere around this time, they may make an appearance.
Based on how desperate the situation is looking and how much time we’ve got left, I Will pull out the big guns. SUCKERS. You can do all-natural or sugar free or whatever you desire to to assuage your mama-remorse, but actually, we eat these SO rarely that I am ok with my children having a Dumdum every once in a blue moon.
Of course, the brilliance of suckers is that they take quite a long time to consume.
I am not fond of using displays that are portable to subdue my kids, so this really is undoubtedly a last-but sometimes crucial-resort for me personally.
While this may sound more complex than it is worth, I guarantee that the entire process is far more organic (while still deliberate) than it seems. He will usually spend about a minute on each and does not have any idea how exactly to pace himself and then throw them all and be prepared to roam.
I am a BIG proponent of teaching children to do right as IT’S right, not simply because they expect something in return. Even so, it is almost always recommended to show your children how much you value their help and attitudes that are great, instead of just taking both for granted.
If we’ve had a week filled with errands and “mundane” outings, and the children have now been helpful and patient, then I make an effort to plan a vacation to the park or the pool or Sonic as a reward for being amazing.
Sure, we do those things anyway, but so that my kids know their sweetness was noticed I attempt to point out the reason for a specific treat.
Did I need to remind them? Yes, but merely a time or two. Which is fine by me. I am not expecting perfection. Just advancement.