Tips from a part-time disaster also known as ‘Mum’
Do you really think you can tackle your toddler ? Forget it! You can’t, I can’t, nobody can!
So what do we poor parents do, to minimize the impact of taking our children out? Here are some tips.
1- Clothing overcomes loathing!
Make sure your child’s clothing is suitable. By suitable, I do not mean, just suitable for the occasion. Focus on ‘suitable to weather conditions’. In my early days as a Mum, my baby used to drive me crazy by crying incessantly on any outings! At first I thought he hated his pram. Then I thought he just wanted to stay indoors. I finally realised he was just feeling too cold for comfort, because his jacket wasn’t good enough. We got him a really good jacket (yes, its worth investing some money in that quarter!) and he has not cried ever since! Wait a minute, don’t get the wrong idea. I meant, he hasn’t cried for feeling cold or uncomfortable, since then. There have been other reasons though ;-) And if its really hot, allow the children to dress the way they like..even if it is to a bare minimum. Kids can be really cool, you know!
2- Food defines the mood!
My friends say this isn’t the right thing to do. But I still do it. Because it keeps my child happy. And that is a HUGE stress-buster for me, as it is for any parent. I always carry a mini-snack of my child’s favourite things – some raisins, juice/water, biscuits/crisps. Children are not tyrants, though they often seem to be. They just get bored. I mean, how would you like to be taken around your dad’s office or a musem full of abstract art (assuming ofcourse, that you have no specific interest in either)? You would feel bored, right? Claustrophobic too, at times. That’s just the way children feel when we take them out to places that do not cater to their interest. So I bribe my child with a mini snack to keep him in good humour while I do my little errands.
Another key factor is to feed your child well before you leave the house, so that he/she is in a relatively good frame of mind. And I do not mean, stuff your child with food. Simply make sure he/she isn’t hungry, or this could aggravate a bad mood or tantrum.
3- Short or what?
As far as possible, ensure that your outings are short. Keep it to the minimum. In my experience, anything that lasts more than two hours is tiresome. But that is entirely subjective. A more energetic parent than myself would probably last for more than just a couple of hours. You are the best judge. You know your child, yourself and the situation. So try keeping your outings to the tolerable average duration. And if it is indeed going to be longer than that, then fortify yourself ! Also try doing one thing at a time. For example, a trip to the Library could be restricted to just that, or at worst, top it up with a visit to the supermarket. Try not to juggle too many balls all at once.
4- Trauma with Tantrums
You are at the mall. You see a child kicking and screaming. Crying inconsolably! And you suddenly realise everybody is staring. Because that child is yours. Huh! What a nightmare it is for us parents. To see every other child walking/playing around quietly, while the apple of your eye brings the roof down. Here are Three Ds.
– DISTRACT – Try distracting your child with something he/she likes. He/she is probably distraught at you not buying that expensive toy. Try to distract by showing something else that is equally interesting. Some books, puzzles or other toys, may be? Or just a quick trip to the Cafe, to grab a fruit or something that will soothe your child, and yourself too.
– DEVISE – Devise alternate means to calm your child. If possible, find out what it is that he/she wants, and if it is reasonable, and if you think its a reasonable request, then indulge your child. If not, then explore other options, like promising him/her a play-date with the best friend! That almost always works for me!
– DISTANCE – He he! If nothing at all works, and your child is in the midst of a full-blown tantrum, pretend you don’t know him/her ;-) Just kidding. Distance yourselves from the crowd. Might just help calm the nerves. Atleast, it won’t cause you further embarassment!
5- Relax and Rejoice
That’s the only way to handle things and people, I guess. Relax because it cannot get worse, and rejoice because like they say ‘This too shall pass’!