Baby is becoming his own person, complete with specific interests and preferences for certain characters or activities. What better way to make his day than to bring him to a big event that highlights all his favorite things, right?
Pump the brakes. To you, an outing with lots of other people (including kids his own age) may seem like a great idea, but your well-meaning adventure can end up being a disaster if you’re not prepared.
Before you load up and head out, do a little prep work to help the day run smoothly.
- Mind the schedule: In a perfect world, any exhibit or show would fall perfectly in line with your toddler’s nap time, leaving him well-rested and ready to take in the event that lies ahead. In the real world, sometimes the event you had in mind will run into his sleep schedule, or will begin before he would typically wake up. In this case, it is probably best to skip it this time around. Rest is key for toddlers, and enjoying an event will be near impossible with a cranky little one who’s running low on sleep. If it’s an all-day affair, try to head home before his regular nap time, or wait until he wakes up on his own before starting your adventure.
- Safety first: It might be your instinct to keep Baby restrained, maybe in a stroller or carrier, while out in a big crowd. While it’s smart thinking to keep him close to you, it may cause some frustration for your big explorer who wants to take in the scene. Remember to keep your eyes on him at all times, and make note of any security areas, which you may need to find if you become separated.
- Maintain realistic expectations: After an hour at the fair, Baby is tantruming and ready to head home for a nap, but he hasn’t had a pony ride yet. Should you stay? The answer is probably not. Big events can be overwhelming for toddlers, who can easily become overstimulated. Keep in mind the fact that your reason for taking him there in the first place was so he could have a fun day, and trying to push it when he’s had enough can start to push the day in the other direction.
- Be prepared: Making a checklist and packing up the night before can help to ensure you won’t forget anything you need in that last minute frenzy that is getting a toddler out the door. Pack a little extra, too, in case you end up spending more time away from home than you’d anticipated. It’s always better to have an extra snack or diaper than to have to head out while he’s still having fun because you didn’t bring just one more.
Taking your toddler to events and exhibits can be a great way to engage his interests, and a little extra preparation can help the day go off without a hitch. But big outings can be a lot to take in for a tiny person, following Baby‘s cues can help you figure out when he has had enough excitement for one day.