5 tips on taking your kids on outings

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Getting out of the house with kids is tough. You spend hours wrestling them into clothes, feeding them, bribing them, packing, getting yourself ready, and finally dragging them kicking and screaming out the door and fighting them into their car seats only to find you're hopelessly unprepared for this excursion you've embarked on. Sound familiar?

I have a hard time staying at home all day with the kids. I need fresh air and adventure or I find myself feeling isolated and stir crazy. Getting out is so important to me and, after realizing how hard it was with two kids, I was determined to figure it out and make it possible. After two months with two I think I can say I have it figured out. Here are my tips for getting out of the house with two very young kids:

1. You need a good double stroller.

Seriously, get one. I thought I could manage without one for a while but my toddler would get super jealous of my baby when I was pushing her around in it. I would have to drag her out of wherever we were in the midst of a melt down wishing I could just plop her in with the baby so we wouldn't have to leave.  When I go out with both my kids a double stroller is a must!

My favourite is the Contours Options Elite Double Stroller. This stroller makes going out with two kids a breeze and I never leave home without it now! The two seats are equipped with a 5-point seat belt for safety and can recline back for when the girls are sleeping. When my toddler gets tired while we are out, we don't have to leave for nap time; I can just recline her seat, put a cozy blanket around her, extend her canopy and, voilà!, nap time is covered. The seats can be adjusted to face forward or backwards or you can put your carseat on instead of having the seat. This option is a must-have for babies because you don't need to disturb them by transferring them from their carseat to the stroller and then back again. Its lightweight, and folds down easily with both seats attached. The large storage compartment below holds all of our stuff so I can stroll around without having to carry anything.

You can find this stroller at Best Buy Canada and it is on sale for $100 off for a limited time! If you're in the market for a double stroller, now is the time to grab it over at bestbuy.ca. I'm doing a giveaway on my Instagram feed right now so head over there for a chance to win one of these amazing strollers.

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2. Pack in advance.

Don't leave it until last minute because you'll end up forgetting important things. I usually pack the night before so everything is ready to go when we are. I try to organize my diaper bag so everything is ready and easy to find for when I need it. Since I have the extra storage space in our stroller, I bring a "special surprise bag" for my toddler. This typically includes toys, colouring activities, and fun snacks. I give this to her when she is starting to get restless.

I also pack a baby carrier so I can be hands-free for when my baby wants to be held. I love the ErgoBaby carriers because they are so easy to just strap on! This one is on sale at Best Buy Canada the week of March 8th.

3. Find the best time to take them out.

Go with your childrens' easiest time of day and make sure everyone is fed and happy before going to your destination. Or, if you're going out for a meal, get there early before your child gets too hungry. Timing your outings can make a huge difference in how your children respond to what they are doing. For me, I've found that mornings work best for us because everyone is rested and ready for the day.

4. Make it a positive experience.

If you're stressed out, everyone is stressed out. Each time we leave the house I try to make it a fun and positive experience for my toddler by involving her as much as I can so she looks forward to our little outings. She now asks me to go shopping or to go for walks and it makes getting her ready to go so much easier.

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5. Accept that there will be tears.

Babies and toddler cry. A LOT. You need to accept that there will be moments where there will be a lot of whining and crying. Have patience and stay calm. I find when I prepare myself for the melt downs, I can handle them a lot better because I am expecting them to happen. Don't panic when things start to go south. Stop, listen, and try to figure out what they need. When you tend to their needs, whether they need a snack or a hug, you'll find their mood will bounce back much faster than just ignoring the whining.

These five things have made all the difference to me when it comes to going out with my girls and I hope they help you as well!

xo Christina.

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