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Going out with young children is an event at the best of times but it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant event. With these handy tips it can be a fun filled relaxing event. All you need is a little planning and organisation and you will literally be good to go.
1. Pack an activity bag
Depending on the age of the child/children fill a small bag with items to keep them occupied during the car ride. For example, colouring books and crayons, storybooks, and any favourite toys. If you have a hand held device with children’s apps on it that’s always handy. Fisher price has some pretty amazing educative, interactive and fun apps. Check your device’s app store and download them for free. Another great children’s app is by You Version Children’s bible. It is colourful, interactive and very engaging.
If a young child will be handling a hand held device ensure that he/she is supervised or that the device is encased in a child proof covering to minimize damage to the device.
2. Always have snacks on hand
With the unpredictable traffic in busy cities like, Lagos, Benin and Port-Harcourt the last thing you want is hungry cranky children. Water, low sugar juices, bread sticks, biscuits and fruits are fantastic to have along for the ride. Children are naturally messy eaters so ensure that the snacks are items that are convenient for the children to handle.
It would also be helpful to have disposable bibs on hand and antibacterial wet wipes to clean up those little sticky fingers.
3. Get your nappy bag stocked up
If your child is an infant then you must have the obligatory nappy bag with all necessary supplies (diapers, diaper cream, baby wipes, receiving blanket, formula or expressed breast milk, bottles, flask of hot water, change of clothes, a warm jacket or jumper if the child will be exposed to extremely cold temperatures (like a highly air conditioned environment). If the child is a toddler maybe a change of clothes and spare pull –up diapers (if not potty trained)
4. Dress the children in comfortable clothing
For warm weather it should be cotton loose fitting clothing. They are confined in car seats and they don’t need to feel restrained by their clothing; in addition you don’t want them feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. Although linen fabric is great for warm weather it is not ideal for squirming children; they’ll end up looking like rumpled sheets.
5. Child friendly music
Children love to be engaged and a CD with nursery rhymes that they can sing along to or a nice classical chill out CD can help soothe and calm them.
6. Cover with Sunscreen and insect repellent
If the outing will involve a lot of time being spent out doors, it would be worthwhile investing in some child friendly sunscreen and insect repellent. Always ask the pharmacist for the appropriate product to purchase for children especially for insect repellent ointments as the concentration of some products are unsuitable for the little ones. If you prefer you can also opt to get repellents that have do not have direct contact with skin; some come in the form of wristbands and others are units that ou can clip unto clothing.
Protecting your child is essential we want to avert sunburn and any insect related diseases like malaria.
7. Take Breaks
If the outing or trip is going to be a lengthy one, it may be important to break it up. Children cam only stay cooped up in their car seats for so long. So take mini breaks at convenient locations and always the children to stretch. This will also present an excellent opportunity for older children to have bathroom breaks.
8. Come up with your own games
We all know that most children have a short attention span, so if they have gotten board with the toys, games and books in the activity bag, make games from what you can see on the road. My son, who is two, just loves identifying the different animals he sees on the road and makes the corresponding animal sounds too. He also enjoys identifying shapes from the different road signs.
For older children, it can be fun and educational, if you go by a landmark of historical value you can point it out tell them about it. There is so much too see along the way so have fun with it!
These tips can make the difference between a fun filled time and a day spent with a throbbing migraine.