When the weather is nice and you want to get out and about with your little one, how do you prepare for a short trip out of the house, whole days, weekends away with relatives or even mini breaks?
Kiddylicious sat down with our panel of early years experts to discuss how you can keep confidence high when you’re not at home:
Steph: A great place to start is to try an experiment and start off with a shorter day trip, because that will give you confidence. It depends on the kind of trip you’re doing but try to keep it a bit shorter the first time that you go out. Perhaps you could aim for a half day out, rather than planning somewhere that’s two hours in the car there and then two hours back. I think so much of this is based on feeling confident, isn’t it, that you think: “I can do this!” You can also identify teething problems such as what equipment you should have brought.
Laura: The sheer volume of stuff that babies need in those early days is phenomenal. I remember going away to see family when my son was three weeks old and honestly, there was so much stuff in car we could barely move.
Sophie: Be prepared and take more than you think you need – snacks, nappies and changes of clothes as you don’t know what’s going to happen.
SO: Always take an extra top for yourself, too!
SP: It’s worth taking things with you to wash your children’s hands to make sure that they have clean hands before you give them a snack. Sometimes you forget that don’t you, especially if it’s just a snack in the buggy. It’s a good idea to have wet wipes to clean their hands.
SO: Wet wipes are a good option. You don’t want to use alcohol hand gel with really young ones.
Getting prepped for a day out
SO: When you’re getting ready for days out, I like to prepare in advance and there have been times where we’ve done it last minute in the morning and you think, I should have done this the night before. Trying to set everything out the night before just makes the next day a lot easier.
LM: I think also that when you’re going out, whether it’s a picnic or a day out, it’s great to have lots of ‘picky’ things. Handheld foods that can be shared, little pots of plain yoghurt, plastic boxes full of chopped up veggie sticks and anything that you can prepare, such as mini pizzas, sandwich fingers and things like that.
SP: Boiled eggs are a good one. I’ll often put some on for the next day while I’m making tea. You can keep them up to a week in the fridge. Crinkle cutters are great to use for prepping bits and pieces for weaning babies because they make slippery things easier to grasp.
SP: It’s nice to prepare lots of different ‘picky’ things. If you’re going for a walk, you can stop and have a little snack, then stop at a later point and have another. If you offer little portions, it can sometimes be easier. You can get reusable plastic bags that you can wash and beeswax paper, to avoid plastic waste and we have baby-sized snack cups with a silicone top. They can help themselves and it takes a bit longer to eat things from the pots, which keeps them occupied.
SO: I don’t think you necessarily need to have baby-specific equipment at the beginning. When they are toddlers, it’s nice for them to have ownership over their stuff but at the beginning, you can use whatever you’ve got at home. It’s a big area in terms of marketing and parents will spend a lot of money on it but you don’t have to go and buy specific things for kids.
SP: We like bento boxes as well because it’s so nice to be able to portion things out and then again, there’s no plastic waste. When you close the lid, everything’s sealed, so you can even add a sliced banana and it doesn’t oxidize. I get asked a lot about cups – what kind of cups are best for babies to use? From a developmental point of view and a dental point of view, we should be teaching kids to drink from an open cup as soon as possible.
Useful kit for eating out
SO: I know some restaurants will have colouring pencils for the kids but I’ll usually have those in the bag for an emergency. We do take a computer tablet with us as well, not for pre-food time but because inevitably their food comes and you sort them out and then while you’re trying to finish your own food, they’re starting to get antsy. You just need them to stay in their seat for a little longer.
SP: That’s a really good point. I think people can feel guilty about doing that. People have quite strong feelings about it, but meals can take a long time and it’s got to be enjoyable for you as well.
SO: I totally agree. Screen time has its place. I don’t think any parent should feel guilty about using it.
LM: I think you can also lower your standards a little bit when eating out. We’ve all had horror experiences where our children are screaming or crying. Just be aware that those things happen.
SO: It’s about planning, isn’t it? If everything just goes to pot, we know that my daughter will be fine if we give her a little treat. So, I think it’s just about planning for those moments.
SP: If you have a younger baby, and you want them to sleep while you’re in a restaurant, you can use things like white noise, which you can get on your phone. We also have a breathable net for the pram that creates a dark environment.