Most dads have likely seen how liberated and fulfilled their children are outdoors. 85% of children agreed that the outdoors made them very happy, and for good reason, as going out can be both educational and exciting. Before most excursions can happen, however, dads need to be adequately prepared. If you have multiple kids, that’s all the more reason to pack necessities such as extra clothing, portable transport systems, and snacks. Adopting the right mindset can also foster a positive and encouraging atmosphere during the trip.
Is it even possible to enjoy a stress-free adventure with your children? Well, while probably not entirely possible here are five tips for dads going outdoors with multiple kids that will help make it less stressful.
Store spare clothes and nappies in the car
No dad wants to be caught in a scenario where not just one but two kids ruin their outfits with dirt or spilt juice. Storing a supply of fresh clothes and nappies / diapers in the car helps dads through unforeseen mishaps. On the car ride alone, your kids may not escape motion sickness. Having their clothes soiled before your day out even starts can cause them to become irritable and, in turn, can cause you stress. Generally, we advise keeping two sets of outfits ready at all times. Pack in a coat as well, so you won’t have to worry about your children braving the outdoors exposed when it gets colder.
Use a tandem pushchair
If you have a toddler, a tandem pushchair is essentially two seats arranged in a straight line, making it roughly the same width as a single pram. Looking at the tandem pushchairs by iCandy demonstrate how they are ideal for dads who are taking a baby and a toddler out. Because one seat is padded and can recline in three positions, you know that your infant will be comfortable throughout the trip. Likewise, if you have a four or five-year-old, the more upright seat guarantees they can move around more freely. If you’re visiting the mall specifically, tandem pushchairs are also easy to steer around shops or narrow walkways. With the pushchair’s ease of manoeuvre, dads can reduce the need for any complicated wheel adjustments as they go about their trip.
3. Pack snacks and refreshments
Even if your trip outside includes a restaurant visit, children are serial snackers. For dads, it’s important to anticipate when their kids need an energy fix, so you won’t need to deal with unwanted tantrums. Bite-sized snacks like Cheez-Its or M&Ms are a good way to tide over their cravings until the next meal. Make sure to pack enough good food, though too. You wouldn’t want to be compromised as your kids begin to quarrel over snack portions. Similarly, carry a few water bottles with you to avoid dehydration. When kids are dehydrated, they’re prone to spells of dizziness, which can hinder the enjoyability of your outing.
4. Have plenty of activities on hand
Though you might have your day planned down to the very last minute, it’s crucial to have on-hand activities that can distract and soothe your kids while waiting in restaurants or relaxing at parks. One form of entertainment that’s easy to bring is colouring books and crayons. Although, if you’re at a restaurant, you can also ask the server if they provide activity booklets for kids. You can also utilise activities to inject a bit of creativity into your children’s day. In our post ‘10 of the Best Things to Do Indoors with Kids’, we’ve discussed how treasure hunts add an interesting element to at-home activities. If you want to take it up a notch, you can also easily pack colourful objects like balloons when visiting public places like parks. This way, you can stimulate their children’s imagination while maximising their time outdoors.
5. Praise good behaviour
An outing with your kids will definitely be more pleasant when you offer praise for good behaviour. Of course, children can take a while before listening to your instructions. When that happens, it’s easy to lose composure and get angry. However, shouting can prove detrimental in getting your children to listen to you and will only exacerbate your stress when they end up in tears. When your kids fail to follow you, continue to provide praise. Eddie Brummelman explains that praise, when given regularly and sincerely, can encourage children to cope with failure. So when your kids struggle to meet an instruction, like staying quiet during long lines at an establishment, affirm them so they can do better next time.