It takes a lot of energy to venture outside with a little human in tow. It’s hard enough to just get out of the front door. Missing shoe again? Oh, did they just poo again? And as a mum who comes up in a rash at even the thought of a picnic, you can imagine how I feel about other outdoor pursuits. However, as we all know, our small people need fresh air: so, as parents, you gotta do what you gotta do. Here are my tried and tested tips for surviving the outdoors with tots in tow.
1. Set your team tactics
Getting out of the house is tricky. Make sure you’ve got everything you’d ever need, ever in the world. Bribe them with treats and toys (there's nothing wrong with that, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). And give them a plan for the day & very ‘important’ *cough*, very specific job to do. A job that doesn't really matter if they mess it up. Ours are Welly & Weather Monitors. They have, yes, you’ve guessed it, the job of sorting the wellies and the cool umbrellas (even in the summer). We love a set of cool wellies and a shiny umbrella at KIDLY. And remember: one set of spare clothes is never enough.
2. Don’t (ever) forget the snacks
When the weather decides to bathe us in glorious warmth - stop scoffing, it will happen - be prepared to rush out for that picnic. If it’s a scorcher - again, enough of the scoffs - then a decent cool bag is a must. It’s good to be organised, but my most honest, best top tip for a perfect picnic is to chill right out. It’s not every day you get picnic weather (unless you live in Australia, in which case we’re not talking to you anyway!) so, if you only manage to grab 3 multi-packs of Pom Bears and 8 cheese strings, that’s cool. Really. Just take snacks. Lots of snacks. Your organic quiche and butternut squash biscuits can wait.
3. Festival essentials
Ahh, festivals before kids… such distant memories. But who says you can’t do one with the tots in tow? Sure, you won’t be up all night & the buggy is defo a hazard in the rave tent, but hey, if it’s good enough for Kate Moss & the Kardashians, it’s good enough for us. Most mainstream festivals are kid-friendly, or pick one specially tailored to families. We took ours to his first when he was 3, but before we went, we set up a tent in his room so he’d get used to sleeping in one, then we cranked up the tunes in the car. Just don’t forget the essentials: wellies, funky raincoat - because even kids need to be festival cool - and ear defenders - to save their ears & tears. #priceless.
4. Wrap them up in cotton wool equivalents
The only thing that would get my 5-year-old outside was his balance bike. But as he grows (and now that I have Miss Diva in tow), I just can’t keep up with him. Instead of constantly shouting at him to slow down, I decided it was time to set him free (sort of). By this I mean wrap him up in cotton wool & try not to look as he hits the big hill at full speed. He’s now graduated to a scooter for extra danger - joy. So, for cotton wool read: a fab helmet and a thick jacket (even when he doesn’t need it!). Seems to have worked so far. Except now I’ve noticed Miss Diva is eyeing up his old balance bike eagerly. I can’t really face it, but as they go, this one was perfect, we loved it. Cue more cotton wool.
5. Choose a versatile set of toys
I love a bit of sunbathing and when the sun’s out I’m straight in the garden basted in olive oil. However, when you’ve got kids that planned hour of tan time turns into nano-seconds as you rush around after them. All day long. The answer to grabbing some desperate precious minutes of chill time? Cool summer toys that test their ingenuity - like den kits, crazy golf or skittles - so they’ll play with them for longer, inside, outside, at your friend’s house, in the park - you name it. Oh, and if they’re also perfect for the beach too - double tanning time!
6. Nap time, schnapp time
When you’re out and about, you can bet your last gin and tonic that they’ll fight nap time, then fall asleep on the way home. You have 2 options here: 1. Shove them in the buggy and pace around for hours until they doze off, or 2. Let them play and then fight snooze-time all the way home. If you prefer option 1 and like your nap times bang on schedule, then you should definitely invest in a blackout buggy cover. It’s genius. If you’re braving it through, then you’re going to need some in-car toys with dangly bits & jingly jangly sounds. And if everything else fails, just shout. A lot. Our eldest used to love tractors, so we used to shout “Tractor!” every time he dozed off. Worked a treat. “Oh, you missed it.” #littlewhitelies
So there they are, my few tips on getting outside with minimal fuss. And remember, if you need any more guidance, our Live Chat Team is here to help, 9am-5pm, every weekday. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.