It’s so easy-being at home snuggling with your little one, trying to clean the house or shower between naps. This is home. This is comfort. I totally feel you- I am the biggest homebody sometimes- however, it’s SO important to get out with your baby/kids and I’m going to tell you why and how!
What it does for your baby/toddler
Socialization>> let your kids get out and see the world. Home should always be their comfort zone, but they have to know other places and people or they will be scared of everything that’s not “home”. This can bring up extreme social anxieties in kids any time they leave the house.
Learning and Growing>> kids don’t just learn by reading books, especially when they’re little. Babies and toddlers are very tactile. They like to learn by touching, then possibly saying the word (repeating after mama). They learn how to associate physical things with words- so cool!
Fun>> we want our kids to think of us as fun, right?! This is the perfect opportunity to show them “we don’t just keep you locked up in house all day with the same 5,000 toys”, but we love taking you places!
What the heck can I do with a baby?
There are so many things you can do out and about with a baby, depending on seasons of course! I was lucky and had Cam in June, so I was off for the summer with him. It was a hot summer, but I still wanted to take him places, even if it was indoors. I wanted him to get used to the car, outside noises, going places, etc>> because I sure as heck was not going to sit inside for 3 months!
When he was an infant it was more about taking him to restaurants when my husband and I went out to eat, running errands with him (hello, Target!), and taking him on walks in his big comfy shaded stroller on those cool summer evenings.
As he gets to be 11 months old, I LOVE taking him everywhere. Guys, he loves getting out and going places. He loves watching people, seeing animals, and hanging out with me, which is most important of course! I want him to be exposed to things and be a curious kid. The saying goes- “let boys be boys”, or “let kids be kids” and I’m all about that. He gets dirty? I have a perfectly capable bathtub and laundry machine to clean him + his clothes. It’s all about the experience. Of course, I’m not letting him roll in dog poop, but if he wants to run around barefoot in the grass, play with sticks and bugs, get dirty in the mud- I’m going to sit back and let him. Know why? AMAZING sleep that night. Can’t beat that. But more importantly, the memory, he will remember THAT, not the fact that he was clean all day.
How to prepare for taking your baby or toddler out and about?
Snacks. Lots of snacks. I swear they eat even when they’re not hungry. Sometimes food occupies him for a little bit so I can scarf down 2 bites of mine in the meantime. Of course you want to have the other essentials in your diaper bag, but don’t bring a bunch of toys that he/she already plays with at home. A couple, sure, but don’t stuff your bag full. We learned that the hard way- Cam wanted to play with everything on the table even though we kept just cycling through his toys. He’d throw them on the ground and want to play with silverware and sugar packets. #cool
Have the mindset and stick to it. “No matter what, we are going out to the park today”. Change your life to fit baby’s/kids’ needs to an extent, but don’t let them run you. If you wanted to meet a friend for lunch or go to Target with your little one- do it. Sometimes the beginning (ie putting him in his car seat, getting him in the car) he’d be screaming and id be thinking “ohmygosh this is going to suck, he’s going to be fussy the whole time”- then he wasn’t. He’d fuss half the way, then he’d be comfortable once we got going in the car. Once we got out of the car, it was a change of scenery and he’s usually a happy baby after all that. I always second guessed myself and I cannot believe the amount of times it ended up being ok when I just stuck to my guns. I would have missed out on so much! And guys, #realtalk, I said he USUALLY was a happy baby after that, not always. You have to try to succeed though.
Go with the flow. Even if you’re an anxious person TRY your best to just let it roll off your back. Getting ugly stares from people in the restaurant because your baby is crying? I always tell my husband- who cares, we don’t know any of them anyway. Obviously, I calm my crying child, but sometimes you just have to be prepared to deal with other people’s rude antics. Worst case scenario: get your food to-go if needed. That is life>>unexpected.
Be present with your child. Put away distractions and play with whatever your child shows interest in. I see so many moms sitting in the park on their cell phones while their kids run around and play on the playground. You want your child to remember this as something fun you did together. Even if that means standing at the bottom of the slide clapping when they go down on their own, or helping push them on the swing. They will leave thinking “mom and I had so much fun at the park” instead of “I had fun at the park”. So important.
*These pictures were from a little picnic we went on together and he LOVED it. He loves being outside already, so this was the icing on the cake. I packed some things to keep him “occupied”, but come on, he played with my food and some grass the entire time. He was all up in my sandwich. And I dealt with it. Best memory ever.