Going out with little ones can be a challenge. They want to do all the things they’re not supposed to do! They want to touch everything in the store and jump on the furniture in the restaurant. There are also practical challenges, like making sure they don’t get lost in public, and staying safe around cars. I have a handful of little ones myself. Here’s how I keep my little ducklings in a row:
- Hold hands. If you have at least a couple kids, employing the buddy system can be a real help. My 4 walkers are paired off with their own buddy. Each older one is matched up with a younger one. They help buckle/unbuckle the seat belt of the younger sibling. They hold hands to and from the car. They hold hands during shopping trips in stores. Giving the older kids the responsibility of caring for their siblings give them a sense of value, while it keeps the younger ones safe.
- Hold on to the cart. On shopping trips, many problems are solved by instructing the kids to hold on to the shopping cart. If you can’t get the one kiddie car-shaped cart that seats like four kids at your grocery store, you’ll have to come up with a plan B for not losing a little guy. Holding onto the cart helps keep the kids from grabbing things they shouldn’t, it helps them not to lag behind, and it helps you keep an eye on them.
- Bring a snack. Kids get crazy if they get too hungry. If you anticipate a long shopping trip, bring a bag of dry snacks such as animal cookies or saltine crackers. Hand them out while you praise patience and good behavior in the kids to buy yourself some more time. The kids will love it.
- Stay in their world. The most common scenario for losing control over my kids is when I mentally check out. Maybe I’m calculating the value of an item I want to buy, or uploading a picture to Instagram when our outing deteriorates into chaos. Stay attentive to what the kids are doing. Keep up conversation. Ask them questions about themselves, or play “I Spy With My Little Eye” while you’re waiting in the grocery line or waiting for your food at a restaurant.
What’s your best strategy for sanity when you go out with your little ones?
He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Proverbs 5:23