One of my least favorite things to do is to run errands with my kids. It’s not that my kids aren’t well-behaved, in fact they behave really well when we go out places. But, they are still kids and sometimes going somewhere like doctors appointments or anywhere where I have to wait for anything can get pretty challenging in keeping 3 kids distracted and not bored out of their minds. I have two girls, a 9 and 6-year-old, but I’m also the nanny of an 18 month old boy that I take care of 11 hours a day. As much as I try to avoid scheduling things or going to appointments when I have them with me, it’s just not possible or realistic all the time. And why is it that school events are always at the most inconvenient hours??? Last year I had to go to two parent-teacher conferences within an hour, to two different schools, with my two kids, the toddler I babysit and my sisters 4 kids (10 year-old twins, 12-year-old and 14-year-old) who I was also taking care of that week. That was probably the most exhausting hour I’ve ever had in my life!
I’ve put together a few essentials for those times that I have to take my kids with me while I run errands or do my hair or my nails and not have to worry about them getting rowdy. These essentials have made these outings soooo much easier. The better I can keep them entertained, the easier and faster I can finish with what I need to do and the faster I can get home and back into my pajamas! Keep reading for the essentials I currently have in their to-go backpack.
My Essentials for Going Out with Kids:
I don’t know what it is about drawing, but my kids always love to have something to write or draw in. I have this slight obsession with notebooks so I guess that’s where they get it from. I’ve learned that they will draw on any paper I can find and instead of risking any important papers or receipts I may need, I have their own notebook for them to draw on.
Depending on where I go, if it’s a quieter place like a doctor’s office, I don’t like to make too much noise so I like to have a pair of headphones to keep the noise to a minimum if they will be using any electronic devices.
Small toys that I can easily fit in a bag are always a must! Since both my girls are really into these Disney Tsum Tsum’s, they make the perfect pair to take places. They’re small and they don’t make any noise and they can play with them for hours.
I can’t tell you how many visits have been interrupted my one or both of my kids wanting water. They can go hours without drinking water at home, but once the step out of our house they are constantly thirsty. I’ve learned to always carry at least one water bottle in their bag to avoid any water breaks.
Never underestimate the power of a good book. I love books. I own over 800 of them so it’s only natural that my kids love them too. There are times when they’d rather read, and that’s perfectly fine with me.
Having some kind of snack is always important, especially if your outing is on the longer side. I always have gum with me and depending on where we go and how long we will be there, I also like to have a few other snacks or candies most of the time, just in case.
My little one is pretty good at keeping herself entertained with whatever I have at hand, but my oldest is at this weird pre-tween stage where everything is boring and having a phone that she can play games or watch TV or movies on is such a lifesaver!
Of course, I’m pretty protective about my phone and since I have my phone attached to me pretty much 24-7, I don’t like letting them use my phone. Incidents like them accidentally deleting emails or messages, deleting apps or dropping it *cringe* make me wary about just handing them my phone. Not to mention that they drain my battery and my data. Since my daughter’s birthday party is this weekend, we decided to take advantage of our tax return and buy a phone for her. She’s not old enough to have the phone by herself so we will just let her use it at home and when we go somewhere and she won’t even have the phone number to give out for a while (until she gets a little bit more responsible). We didn’t want a contract and we wanted a nice phone for her, but we also wanted a ‘beginner’ kind of phone.
We ended up going with the Family Mobile plan from Walmart. What I loved about this plan was that it’s not a contract and you can cancel anytime. All I needed was to select a phone, a plan and a starter kit (SIM card to activate your service, only $25). We went with the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan, which includes – Unlimited Talk, Text and Data including 10GB 4G LTE Data plus a free movie on VUDU every month, per line for only $49.88 a month. Sounds like a ganga to me! With this plan, I don’t have to worry if they are using too much data and it’s such a nice bonus to get that free movie every month that we can watch on our Apple TV, since we watch movies together every Sunday.
As for the phone, we chose the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. Not only is it a great phone (and a more affordable option), but it has a great camera (important for all those selfies my kids love to take) and it basically does everything my phone does. I can use parental controls on it to make sure they don’t get into anything they shouldn’t be and the screen size is perfect for playing games, watching movies and reading books. The best part was that this phone costs about $150, but it was on sale for a rollback price of only $99! I was very impressed with their selection of phones which were in the price rage of $39.84 to $179. Right now is the perfect time to take advantage or your tax refund and get yourself a nice phone with a great phone plan! If you’ve ever bought a new phone or phone service, you probably know how long the process can take. I love how quick and painless this was, I literally found the aisle, picked the phone, picked the plan, got a starter kit and paid (first month is billed after). Setting it up was a breeze too and it even comes with a ‘Easy Mode’ that is perfect for kids.
How do you survive when you run errands with kids? Do you have any essentials like I do? Let me know below!