We don’t go out with the girls a whole lot, mostly due to it being flu season. However, we try to go to the library weekly, visit family once in awhile and, lately, they’ve been taking Saturday morning swim lessons. Since their birth, we’ve been to restaurants a handful of times, same with stores.
Recently, we took the girls to their first hockey game. Being a HUGE hockey fan, this was an experience I was excited to share with them. It was amazing! Afterwards, as I always do, I review the events of the day and go over what worked and what to change.
When it comes to going out with others, one of the best things we do is to make sure we are joined by people who are agreeable and who respect our children.
Prior to the hockey game, we went to a late lunch. The friends we went with knew E and V were coming. They love our babies and know we do things a little different than them, and they respect that. They are happy to include E and V in our conversations and don’t get upset when things don’t go 100% as planned (like us needing to leave early for bedtimes).
We also make sure we are being respectful to others, as we would like them to respect us. If we are at a restaurant and one of the girls is not enjoying themselves, it may be time for us to leave. Thankfully, we have only needed to take our meals to go on one occasion.
To help ensure an enjoyable outing, we make sure we get a good amount of movement before, throughout, and/or after. We also try to give them as much freedom as we are able to the situation allows.
We also try to make sure their first nap takes place in their beds. For us, a good nap is the foundation of a good day.
While the girls don’t necessarily need to be “entertained” (I find this is common for many Montessori children) they do enjoy having something to work on. Right now they are working on their pincher skills. While they use real tableware, we’ve been providing peas and cut carrots so they are able to practice their skills. One activity they do when out is removing tape off the table or tray. I keep painters tape in their bag just for this purpose. We stick roughly two inches of tape, or so, in front of them, leaving a little bit free for them to grab. As they are becoming more proficient, the less tape we are leaving free to grab. V just requires a little corner to grab onto.
We have items that are kept in their bag that are only played with when we are out, never at home. This helps keep the items interesting and helps limit time packing. Included is a book, crinkle paper, wooden tethers, a shark lovie, and their silicon shark “toothbrushes”.
Most importantly, we keep our expectations low. For the game, I was hoping we would be able to watch the first period, but wasn’t planning on more, if even that. I expected that with the noise, lights, and people that it might be a little overwhelming. When we left with just 14 minutes left in the third period, I was pleasantly surprised. Admittedly, we came prepared: full bellies and proper ear protection for the win. By respecting the child and their needs, the event may be shorter, but much more enjoyable for all.
Do you have any tips and tricks for when you’re out and about?