How to Make the Most of Your Outings

Photo by __ via Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo by __ via Flickr Creative Commons.

by lauren fillmore

Taking your charges out to attractions like the museum or amusement park can be stressful. When you’re stressed out about something that is supposed to be fun, it can definitely put a damper on the day for you and your charges alike. Here are some ways to prepare yourself for a big day with the kids to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

Talk about the Behavior You Expect

A lot of times when going somewhere special, the kids get overexcited and may start acting out. Talk to them about where you are planning to go and which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not. Praise them for their good behavior in the days leading up to the big event. Discourage bad behavior by spelling out the consequences ahead of time, like time outs at the event or leaving early after too many issues.

Prepare the Night Before

Don’t wait until the last minute to pack the much-needed items that you should bring with you. Take the weather into consideration and think about what extras you may need to pack. For example, in the summer you will want to bring sunscreen if you will be outside, or in the winter an extra set of gloves is a good idea. Make sure you all get a good night’s sleep to make certain everyone is well rested for the day ahead.

Bring an Extra Set of Directions

Whether your GPS loses service or there is a detour you weren’t prepared for, it is always a good idea to have an extra set of directions with you to avoid getting lost. Let’s face it: fewer things in life are more stressful than being lost with a finicky toddler in the back seat.

Pack Entertainment for the Car Ride

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the car, be sure to pack a few little toys for the kids to keep themselves entertained. It is hard to focus on the road when you are answering questions like “are we there yet?”. Bringing toys will keep them from getting too antsy.

Prepare for meals

There is nothing worse than taking a trip empty handed and realizing they do not serve food. Call ahead to find out if there is a café to grab a bite to eat, or if you will need to pack a lunch.

Bring extra cash

Always bring extra cash with you. You may need to bring some change for parking meters, or even a few dollars for a parking garage. There may also be a souvenir shop to check out if you would like to bring home a keepsake.

Map out your activities

Make sure you know the location you are going to inside and out. Figure out which attractions you would like to see first and where they are located. Save the ones that are less appealing for last, to make sure everything gets done that is most important. Take note of where the bathrooms are located, and make sure to ask your charges if they need to use the restroom as you’re passing by.

Using these tips well help you to have stress-free fun on your day out with the kids. Being prepared is the most important thing to remember. Don’t forget to have fun making great memories together.