Running errands is busy work that everyone has to do, but there are those who must do this with extra little bodies. Lets be honest we all wish there was an app, drive thru, or website to use for all of our errand running needs, but there is not so we have to load the car and hope that everything goes smooth enough to accomplish our agenda. I often have people tell me I am crazy and they do not know how I do it with all of my children, and I will be honest there is a science to my crazy that helps me get it all done. So I am here to share with you my successful tips to any trip with my children.
Always plan ahead, and know where you are going first. Make a list and make sure you stick to your plan. If you are forgetful like me and you tend to forget your list try putting it in your phone. If you are grocery shopping there are great apps for most grocery stores for you to make you list and see whats on sale. I am a firm believer that everything should have a drive thru…lol If I could order everything from a drive thru then that would be amazing and make my life a whole lot easier. Call me lazy, but really it is all about the hassle of taking those four little bodies in and out of the car a hundred times. It is not easy and after a few in and out trips my youngest fights be when I am getting him back in his seat.
The weather can play an important role in your day. I use to have this as part of my preplanning but the weather changes so much! Stay aware of how it looks outside and always carry extra supplies for any surprise weather that may hit while you are away from home.
If you have younger children that still need a daily nap, plan an earlier bed time and get them up earlier than usually. Doing so can aid in getting them an earlier nap, because you should never run errands until that little one has napped. Napping in the car is never a good substitute for a comfortable nap in their beds. A crabby child can wear you down, and could be the cause of all the corruption to your day!! No one wants to have their child throwing a tantrum in public so to avoid that give them their nap ahead of time.
When naps are in order and everyone is ready for the day feed their growing bellies. Do not do fast food in the car (used to be my way)!! If you do not want to cook take them somewhere to sit down and eat, but avoid those places with toys and play equipment (I have learned from experience). Getting them out of there for a day filled with running errands can put a real damper on their moods, complicating your day. The best solution for myself is a meal at home, followed my getting dressed. If you dress them before hand they look like a hurricane hit and covered them in every condiment imaginable.
No matter if they just ate, or you plan on making it a quick trip always bring reinforcements. I carry a small cooler and backpack with snacks and drinks. I only let them have drinks when we are stopped otherwise we are stopping at every bathroom along the way. Half the time you will not use any of it, but it is always a good idea to have them just incase your day does not go as quickly as you plan for it to.
If your kids are anything like mine they have to pee only when it is inconvenient! I have learned that anytime we are near a bathroom everyone is going whether they feel the urge or not! Do not ask them if they need to go. If you are by the facilities you make everyone go in and try! I am famous for the pull ups in the car as well. As a last resort I have also found that having a pull up on hand is an amazing life saver. Children can crawl in the backseat, slip on the pull, pee in it, and you can discard of it and be on your way; rather than loading everyone back into the store, because their sister decided to be a pain and wait until you were unloading groceries into the car to make her announcement of needed to relieve herself.
Children can be easily entertained so do not forget to allow everyone to bring 2 toys or whatnot with them in the car. I use to use just the tablets to entertain in the car, but now it is so much easier to let them bring along something else as well. We still do the tablets they are great entertainment, but they are hard to see in the sunlight at times. So when they get bored of trying to see their screen they have a back-up source of entertainment. Another great alternative is playing car games or singing with them. We love to sing in the car, and it makes our trip go so much faster when we are having fun!!
Also to help keep spirits high set a standard for the day, and cut you kids a deal for behaving and making your day simpler. Maybe a quick stop at a park, or an ice cream treat. I know some thing rewards should not be how we teach our children, but let me tell you what it works for me and I will continue to run the reward system until it stops working; or something better comes along.
Being a parent does not have to be hard or difficult (although there are times when it is). Parenting is just like going to school, you just have to learn the basics and everything else will start to fall into place and before you know it you will be a parenting genius.