When we planned to have a second baby soon after Little J was born, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. The thing I was most terrified about was coordinating everything with 2 kids under 2: their feeding schedules, their sleeping schedules, daycare pickup, and SO.MUCH.MORE.
When the time came and Little N was born, it was a struggle to figure out how we could balance the two boys. Plus, they were at completely different developmental stages. Yes. It was hard. But we’ve managed to stay afloat (so far…).
Despite our fears, we were sure of one thing: we didn’t want to stop doing outings with our boys. I firmly believe that we need to foster curiosity and exercise at a young age, so it’s my primary goal to take the kids out to do something – anything – on the weekends. I just want to take them away from the inevitable screens that surround them inside the home for at least one full day.
But how can you take out 2 kids under 2 (or any kid really…) without going insane? It can be daunting to imagine taking your kids out in public when you expect at least one of them to have a meltdown at some point.
I wish we were those parents that can get their kids to behave perfectly in public. But that is not the case, especially at such a young age. I don’t personally know any kid who never has a meltdown in public. If your kid is one of those, please give us your secret!
While we try to unlock that mystery, we’ve actually been following simples rules to enjoy outings with the kids. We first started following these rules when we took Little J to the Dominican Republic when he was just 3 months old and we’ve been using them ever since!
Plus, you can follow this stress free game plan whether you have 1 baby or 4!
The first thing you should do before packing up the car is setting the expectations for the outing.
You know your kid. You know what stage he’s at in his life.
Right now, Little J is in his no-eating and randomly-screaming phase. Little N is in his I-want-to-eat-all-the-time and I-don’t-want-to-nap phase. So, that’s fun.
Therefore, I know that Little N is going to get tired at some point and will refuse to nap in the stroller. I also know approximately around what time he’ll get hungry.
For Little J, I have to make sure he’s constantly busy to avoid a random scream fest.
Now that expectations are set, you can plan accordingly:
Figure out what time you’re planning on heading out. Take naps and feeding schedules into account to avoid surprises.
GET EVERYTHING READY THE NIGHT BEFORE
- To avoid a morning rush stress, plan snacks for both the kids and yourselves.
- If you plan to be back home for lunch, prep everything ahead of time so that you can have lunch ready in 20 minutes or less once you get back home.
- Be prepared for the possibility of eating out. Make sure there are restaurant options in the area you’re headed to that can accommodate your family.
- Prepare the diaper bag, snowsuits/swimsuits, backpacks, and baby carriers so that all you have to do in the morning is get the kids ready and pack up the car.
HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY
While setting expectations and planning ahead will make for a less stressful outing, what happens if everything goes south?
The key is having an exit strategy. I.e. think of all the possible scenarios in which your toddler could have a major meltdown, or where your newborn needs to eat RIGHT NOW. What will you do?
Will you take your toddler aside to calm him down? Will you pack up everything and go? Which parent takes which kid?
If you’re alone, how will you handle the situation? Who do you get dressed first? Should you have some kind of entertainment for your toddler while you take care of the newborn?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself.
I know it all sounds like quite an ordeal. But the longest step is the planning and making sure that you’ve got everything ready. Otherwise, it’s a simple 10-15 minute exercise at the most. Once you’ve done this a few times, it will take less and less time and you’ll be able to really enjoy your outings!
Good luck! But mostly, HAVE FUN!
What other tips can you share to help a mama out?