“You wont be able to do that when you have a baby!”…
How many times have you heard someone say that you wont be able to do the things you enjoy once you have children?
I have lost count now of how many times people have told me how things are going to change and I will have to give up so much of the life I loved before children! Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying that things will be exactly the same. How could they be? What I am going to say though, is that if you want to do something enough you will find a way and although children will definitely alter how you do the things you enjoy they should definitely not be a reason to give up altogether.
The adventures ahead may look different than the adventures past but this does not mean that they are going to be any less of an achievement or any less exciting. If anything the notion that you are going to get to share the things you love most in the world, with the little people that take up so much room in your heart can only make any adventures you are going to have from now on even better. What better thing is there than to see that smiling grin on their little rosy cheeks as they learn and explore the great outdoors with you?
Below, I have created a list of things that have made getting outside with my two a little more manageable.
- ALWAYS remember snacks– This is so important when out and about with young children, or any children/ adults for that matter! There is nothing worse than a hangry toddler or parent when out for a nice relaxing stroll in the fresh air!
- Have your change bag stocked up ready to go– This is so important if, like me, you occasionally enjoy a spontaneous trip out (especially when it is all just getting a bit to much in the house and fresh air is the only remedy!). I like to stock up my bag with nappies and a change of clothes as soon as I get in, meaning it is always ready to just grab on the way out.
- Dress for the weather- It is so important to have a look on the weather forecast to ensure you have the best idea what weather you may face for the day ahead. It is so easy to head out thinking it looks quite pleasant outside, then in typical British stile you get 1 hour away from the car (that may only be 100m away from your start point with a toddler!) to be faced with a thundering hail storm. “There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” Alfred Wainwright
- Be generous with your timings- Whatever time you have in your head to complete your walk… double it! Jokes aside, a walk always takes longer than you would expect with youngsters in tow. There is nothing more stressful than giving yourself time restraints and then stressing when your baby demands milk or your toddler is having a ‘laydown on the floor, kicking and screaming’ strop because they haven’t spotted the Gruffalo yet!
- Accept that white lies are now ESSENTIAL- Ok so after (or during) the strop you need to come up with a way to persuade your child to walk (roll, crawl, sneak- whatever method of movement they will agree to!) you will find yourself saying things like- “Quick the Bear is coming we need to get back to the car.” or “Wow did you see that huge triceratops? lets go and have a look… It went this way…” (If all fails go back to point one and break out the snacks!)
- Select your pushchair carefully- There are so many options out on the market for pushchairs now. Think about what type of walking (or running) you want to do and look at what is available that will work well in that situation. Try and use a range of different pushchairs (go for a walk with some other mummies and have a look at what they are using and if they look to be doing the job well) before you go out and spend a small fortune on something that isn’t actually suitable for your needs. Remember that pushing something around the lovely smooth floor in pramworld isn’t going to be a true reflection of how well it will perform if you are going to be venturing a little off the beaten track (or even just off smooth tarmac paths).
- Always pack a baby carrier- Even when I am going out on a pushchair walk, I always pack a carrier. I find if I am going for a long walk, both of my children can get a little fed up in the pushchair and want to come out to have a little look around. Having a carrier is a great way to soothe your baby if they are a little upset and just want to be close to mummy or daddy. They are also amazing to give tired toddler legs a little rest without having to strap them into a pushchair. ‘Babywearing’ is also fantastic if you want to get off the beaten track a little and you haven’t got a pushchair that will cope with more uneven ground!
- Have some fun activities up your sleeve- Take your favourite children’s book, pack some nature activities, pop your child’s favourite toy into a little bag for them… It is important to have activities up your sleeve in case your child starts to get a little bored. Children have fantastic imaginations however sometimes need a little push in the right direction to get their minds going. It is also important to notice the cues of them getting bored and try to intervene with some fun activities before it is to late. An engaged child is a well behaved child!
- Slow down and take a breath- This is one I really need to remind myself at times. I can quite easily get focused on ‘the walk’, how far we are going and how quickly we are going to get there. More recently I have learned to take a step back and allow Harris to take the lead. It may mean that we spend 3 hours walking less than 100m. It is amazing how much nature we miss that is right under our nose, simply because we are focused on speed and distance!
- Take an extra carrier bag- It is amazing how often we are out on a walk and I am searching inside my bag for a little carrier bag to collect pine-cones, put rubbish in or use as a waterproof cover to put on a log to stop my bottom getting damp when having a snack stop! It is so important while we are out with our little ones that we teach them to respect the environment we go out in! I ALWAYS make sure Harris sees us picking up our litter to take home and explain why this is so important for the environment and the creatures living there! The increase in litter on our local footpaths over lockdown has been absolutely disgraceful and something which there is simply no reason for! If you can carry stuff in, you can carry it out and dispose of it when you get home!
For more hints and tips for getting out doing specific activities please click the links below…