Almost every time I leave the house, I have someone ask if I’m on a big outing with my three children. The answer is always no. Leaving the house for us isn’t a big deal as we usually leave the house every day. I think it is really important as a parent to teach your kids how to leave the house and how to behave in public when you go. If leaving the house is a big deal for you, it is likely that it will be more of a challenge to take your children out as they won’t learn the expectations that you have for them when you leave the house. If it is a normal occurrence, then your children will understand the expectations you have and it will become easier to leave. Remember, it may not be easy right away to leave your house with three kids. But, like anything, once they learn what is expected of them in public, it will become easier for you and them.
Another thing I love about leaving the house every day is that it gives me a few hours a day when I don’t have to entertain my kids. There are SO many things for kids to look at when you are shopping or walking or visiting a fun venue like a park or the zoo. You really don’t have to do much, and there are so many fun learning opportunities as well as opportunities to give your kids some great exercise!
Here are some things you can do to help make leaving the house easier!
With three kids, two still in diapers, it takes a long time to get ready. If I’m leaving the house in the morning, it usually takes me an hour to get all kids dressed, fed, changed and ready to go. This includes packing the diaper bag, preparing milk, and grabbing snacks. I also aim to arrive about 15 minutes early for whatever function I have. That way, when you inevitably leave your house late, you will still be on time! Parent’s have a built in excuse system for being late with kids, but I strongly believe that you can still be on time for events despite having kids.
When leaving the house, I always find it is a good idea to plan for anything. If you are going for a walk or to the zoo, pack extra milk, snacks, drinks. Also have extra clothing appropriate for weather as well as a change of clothes for those inevitable accidents that children have. Bathroom or messes – take your pick. That way, if your kids get hot or cold, you have what you need. If they are hungry, they have snacks. If they are thirsty, you have drinks. I always make sure I have extra stuff because sometimes I end up being away longer than expected or the kids are super hungry one day.
If you are planning on going shopping, you probably don’t need to pack the extra outdoor clothing, but I still recommend the food and change of clothing.
Adjust to Your Kids Schedules
I always find that there are good times to leave the house, and bad times to leave the house. If you kid naps from 9-10 at home, and you know they don’t sleep well in the vehicle, then don’t plan something for when you know they will be cranky. Maybe plan for an afternoon trip when you know they will be awake and happy. If you know your kid is great at sleeping in a vehicle or stroller, maybe plan on leaving before a nap time so that they can sleep in the car or stroller, depending on what you want to do that day.
It also helps knowing how long to plan for your outings. I know that my kids are great in a stroller for two hours and then they are done. So, I aim to do two hour walks, or find an opportunity to let them move around, eat and play after two hours before I make them sit down again.
By adjusting to your kids schedules, you are more likely to enjoy your time out with happy children than having to deal with cranky kids, although we all know there are no promises on that one either.
It’s important to remember that no matter how well you plan, there are times when children are just done. If that is the case, there are always options for you to pursue. Are they hungry? Maybe stop somewhere and get a bite to eat. Maybe they are tired of sitting. Try letting them walk around or stop somewhere they can play for a bit. Maybe they are tired. Drive around and maybe they will fall asleep in the car! Grab a coffee or snack at a drive through and wait for them to wake up before shopping again. (I do this one a lot). Throw a book in the car so you have something to do while you wait!
Make it an Adventure
I love making outings exciting adventures for my kids. There are so many opportunities to make outings fun and educational for your little ones. Are you shopping? Get them to help you pick things out. On a walk? Talk about the different things you see like cars, trucks, and nature. Places like the zoo, pools and parks are adventures in themselves. Try to make each trip fun and exciting! That way, the trips are fun for the kids and not just errands that you have to do.
Just Do It!
The more you leave the house, the easier it becomes. The first time I started going on two hour walks, it took me two and a half hours to get to my destination because I had to stop and adjust my kids. Now that they know the expectations, I can do the same walk in one and a half hours! If you make leaving the house a big deal, it’s going to be a big deal. So, just do it! I promise it will get easier.