When the weather turns that perfect shade of summer, it is time to head out of the house and into the great outdoors. We always love doing spur of the moment road trips with the kids. Sometimes they are quick afternoon excursions and other times they are multi-day road trips of exploration. No matter which you are doing, getting the kids together and into the car can tax any parent’s patience. Then there is the trip itself, which can be fun or a horror trip, depending on the kids. So how do we make it the fun it should be? Here are a few tips to help make family outings something everyone looks forward to enjoying.
Family Outings Expectations
It is always hard to predict how the little ones are going to act in any given situation. If you had your heart set on a photo op-filled afternoon at the zoo, be prepared for life to go sideways. Sometimes our expectations for family outings can stretch beyond what a tired three year old can handle. Know it going in and you will never be disappointed.
While we all tend to overpack for the kids, short trips can mean smaller daypacks for everyone. If you are only out in one of our National Parks for two hours, that sunscreen will last until everyone is back in the car again. Trips at dusk are even handier for this, less heat and need for water, sunscreen etc etc. The other advantage to short trips is the curtailing of the endless asking of “are we there yet?”
Sometimes it is just as easy to get together with a friend or two and their kids and team up on supplies. If you are both bringing toddlers, plan ahead who brings what. It also means that when you get to that beach or park, the kids can tag team their fun while the two of you relax in Mom Mode.
Stroller Base Stations
Strollers are the best place to stash that extra diaper or water bottle. We are always take along our ratty old stroller, even though the youngest is technically too old for it now. She will still crawl in when she gets tired and cranky. In addition, you can keep all the basics in it without having to lug around a big bag.
It’s An Adventure!
Most of all keep your sense of adventure intact when taking everyone on a short trip. These family outings are a way to unplug from our usual life and have fun. Take that trail that leads off to who knows where. Laugh as you slip in a little stream or find your foot in a muddy trail. It is all part of the adventure. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen if we take a trail that turns out to be really long? The kids want to turn around early, one of them needs to learn how to poop in the woods and we get home dirty and tired. It is still a family outing turned into an adventure we will all laugh about later. And adventure is what these outings are all about.
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