Hi friends! Today’s topic has been a much requested one since we’ve been home with our newborn baby – we’ve gone out several times a week (even up to once a day) since she was 2 days old! Whether it was a short trip to the park or a big trip to Disneyland, we’ve made an attempt to be active and it’s been so worth it.
Getting out of the house with multiple little ones on is a challenge, but here’s why it’s important to us. It builds confidence, creates a healthy challenge of working together with your spouse to problem solve and communicate efficiently, and lets your older kid(s) see that you have not “forgotten them” just because a new sibling is in the mix – which was super important to us to do for izzy.
On the flip side, we firmly believe in rest and down time at home as well, especially after having a baby. It’s all about balancing fun days out with casual days at home so we can all adjust well to our new normal.
Though I am no expert in parenting and definitely leave the house some days forgetting various essentials (hello, extra diapers), I’d love to share our tips and secrets for making outings happen early on with your kiddos 🙂 It’s not easy to get out of the house with a newborn and a toddler throughout the week, but it’s definitely doable!
How to stay sane through the process
Its so easy to get frustrated or impatient with your Littles as you’re getting ready to leave the house. They might put up a fight getting dressed, or take their shoes off, or mess up their hair, or have a poopy diaper right as you’re leaving – or decide that suddenly they’re hungry and thirsty as if they haven’t eaten in weeks (anyone else’s kid? Just mine? Lol). Here’s how I manage my cool while we are trying to get out:
1. Give EVERYone grace: your husband, your kids, and yourself. Our little ones are still so little. They don’t always grasp the concept of “we’re in a hurry” or “we’re on a time constraint.” Give yourself plenty of extra time in the morning to eat, have clothes out, and ways to entertain one child while you help the other. Remember that your babies look up to you, and that you set the tone for the house. Be kind, practice patience, and speak gently out of love.
2. You do YOU: Make an amazing cup of coffee (or tell yourself that you’re going out for one), play your favorite music, read your Bible, whatever it takes to hype yourself up mentally/emotionally/spiritually before you attempt to seize the day will keep you accountable to keep your mood in check.
3. Remember that these are the days: through the hustle, the tantrums, the late nights, the daily mundane, the prepping, the cleaning, the chaos, and the busy moments – these are the days with your tiny ones that you will look back on and wish to have again. When they completely depended on you, when mom and dad were #1, when you had them around 24/7 to do life with. Treasure these moments, even the sour ones. The little years are the best years!
how to leave the house with a new baby and toddler
1. PLAN AHEAD
This might seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times planning our adventure ahead of time completely transformed our morning and got us out the door easily the next day. ESPECIALLY necessary if you’re doing a bigger/all day outing like the zoo, Disneyland, or the beach! Having your outfits, lunch/snacks, and diaper bag ready to go by the door the night before saves loads of time in the morning.
What this looks like the night before, for us
-Make it exciting: hyping up our outing for the next day is always a win with izzy. When we get excited and tell her what to expect when she wakes up in the morning (who she will see, what we will do, etc), she is more excited and willing to go to bed knowing that she has something to look forward to.
-Checking the weather: make sure you have the right attire and accessories packed for the weather wherever you’re going. I will have hats and sunscreen ready if it’s a bright sunny day, or layers and a blanket if it’s going to be chilly/if we’re staying late.
-Packing the diaper bag: if you have an older kiddo and a new baby with two totally different needs, packing your diaper bag beforehand is huge! See #4 below for more details on this one.
-Packing snacks/lunch: I will put together a lunchbox of healthy + filling snacks for izzy like fruit, yogurt, graham crackers, her water/a juice box, and a small pb&j. I will also bring bars for John and I, along with fruit and our own drinks. No one wants to be out and about and hungry!
2. have options/a ‘plan b’ in case your itinerary doesn’t quite go as planned
Having a loose/flexible plan allows us to feel more confident going out, because we have a general itinerary to sick by rather than winging it! To help us feel better about staying out for a few hours, we normally base our timeline around a few factors:
Is our toddler taking a nap beforehand/can she nap there?
Yes > then we can stay out longer
No > then we should probably leave to go home earlier to avoid a tired meltdown
Are we going to eat an actual meal while we’re out?
Yes > bring snacks to hold her over
No > either pick a kid-friendly place to eat out, or head home before dinner
Are we going to be driving more than 40 mins or stuck in traffic on the way there/back?
Yes > have our toddler’s fav music playlist ready and some busy toys/books
No > nothing to worry about then
Being flexible with our timeline takes the stress out of packing in a bunch of stuff, and makes it okay if we miss something or need to leave early. When we went to Disneyland with the girls the other week, we wrote out a mini “itinerary” of all the things we wanted to do and see at both parks. The Frozen show was one of the things we really wanted to see – but right when we parked the stroller in front of the theater, we realized izzy was fast asleep. As bummed as I was that she was going to miss it, we decided to take that “downtime” to walk around Pixar Pier and window shop.
3. Bring some fun “busy toys”
Bubbles, stickers, a small coloring book with crayons or markers, or anything that gets their little hands busy and keeps them entertained is like GOLD when you’re out of the house. I will stock up on sticker sheets from the dollar store or hobby lobby, and I have these color wonder markers and paper from Target.
We also got her this Ariel Dress Up Doll by Melissa and Doug that she loves to play pretend with – we will bring some of the dress up magnets and the doll and she’s good to go. Anything like this works to keep her entertained, happy, and busy while we’re out.
4. Make sure the diaper bag is packed and ready
One thing John and I always always ask each other as we’re getting ready to leave is, “did you do the diaper bag?” Especially with a newborn and a toddler, we need to pack completely different things for both kids. Here’s what you will find in our diaper bag at all times:
-Fun busy toys/books (see #3 above)
-Snacks and water bottle
-Stain remover pen
-Soothing tablets (either Hyland’s or Nuby – more so for when we reach teething age)
-Swaddle blanket and burp cloth
-Change of clothes
-Hat if we’ll be outside walking around
-Sling/baby carrier if we’ll be outside walking around (the Tula and the Solly Baby are my favorites)
-Nursing cover (I have this one, and it can be doubled as a car seat cover too!)
-Diapers and wipes
-Sanitizing wipes (like Wet Ones, or similar)
-My wallet, sunglasses, and some chapstick
-Snacks and water bottle
5. expect that it won’t all go smoothly, and that’s ok
There will be meltdowns, you will need to have down time, and there will be moodiness. You might have to leave early, or postpone to another day. That’s just how it goes with kids! And learning to expect that will make it a lot easier to deal with when it happens.
I’m in the works of writing a blog post on how we do meltdowns in our house – how we deal with them, how we communicate to each other and to our toddler, and strategies we use to get through them. Be on the lookout for that to go live next week 🙂
6. Just Go For It!
In Aspen’s first month of life (tomorrow she is 1 month!!), we went to Disneyland twice, the zoo and safari park twice, to the pool twice, went on walks and played at the park (almost) every day, went to the splash pad, went out for coffee/out to eat numerous times, went grocery shopping, went to the beach once a week, went to church, and on 1.5 hour drives (one way!) to visit family. It was a LOT of going, but also a LOT of fun.
When we threw around ideas for what we wanted to do the coming week, we didn’t hold back because of having kids. If we felt like something would be fun (like the zoo or Disneyland), we would plan it out and make it happen. Saying “yeah, we can totally do this!” and being your own personal cheerleader is all the magic you need to get out of the house and just go for it.
If you’re a parent to multiple kids, how do you make getting out of the house happen? What’s the biggest outing you’ve done with your little ones when they were small? Share below!