Sunday, March 11, 2012

Going out with kids: Not Mission Impossible.

Venturing out of the house with two kids can be challenging some days, traumatizing others, but perfectly doable all the time. If it is going grocery shopping, a doctors's visit, a stop at the bank, or a nice family meal at a restaurant, I do my best to plan ahead.

What you DO need to know are your kids patterns and their likes. Avoid outings when it is close to their bed time (or nap time for younger kids), meal time, or their usual high activity peak time. I know my kids are super active around 10am and will slow down a bit after lunch time. They hit another peak time around 3pm but tapper down close to 5pm (around dinner time).

I also know that after 30 minutes at an given place without some sort of entertainments will result in acting out. I try to keep outings to no more than 2 hours and always take some entertainments options with me, not to mention some sort of snack and water. I understand that not every errand or outing can be done in 2 hours, and all the more reason to go out prepared.

Some tools I have employed can be as simple as paper and crayons and as technologically advanced as an iTouch.

One line of activity books I love is from My Doodle Masterpiece!

My soon to be 8 year old can spend hours coloring alone, but this particular book, Fabulous Doodles, gives her many more creative ideas, like coming up with designs for painting a foot with henna, or what you can see below if flying in a hot air balloon. So much fun for her.

And they have other books available depending on the interest, like Halloween or Christmas themed, among others (like they show on the back).

My 6 year old boy loves Oodles of doodles, and it also offers many creative activities from counting, to finding patters, to simply drawing and using his imagination.

What could be carrying this boy away? A dinosaur maybe? A gorilla? Or who is the mystery guest? And you can see he already came up with the scary movie. How funny boys can be!

And it offers other options at the back.

 These, along with a box of crayons, and always some extra drawing paper is all I need while waiting for our order at a restaurant, or maybe even waiting for our appointment at the dentist.

The more advanced option for us when going on an airplane or even when walking through the grocery store is an iTouch. The app store has tons of free games, but they also offer many affordable games for a more defined interest, like all the makeup and dress-up games my girl likes, or the angry birds or zombie games my boy begs for.

I paired these up with some blue tooth wireless headphones from GoGroove Audio and we can actually enjoy a quiet flight while they watch the latests movie downloaded from Netflix

(Image from GoGroove Audio)

(Images from Netflix)

These options are So Perf! for us as they restore some semblance of sanity to our outings. And yes, we do try to spend some quality family time talking, but it really doesn't work when your waiter is asking for your order and the kids are jumping up and down, or when your flight is 4 hours long. We allow ourselves to make exceptions and it works for us. All if fair in love and war, and in raising kids without tying them to their seats.

What tricks do you have up your sleeve to make your outings with kids more manageable? 

Rossana G-A  

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

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