By Daddy Nickell
There are days when it seems you spend all day driving; groceries, endless picks ups and drop offs, the post office, drycleaning that has piled up, you name it. Running errands with a toddler in tow can be a challenge so I’ve come up with a few ways to ensure a smooth ride for both mom or dad and your child.
Bag of tricks. Always carry a special bag of goodies with you containing easy on-the-go ways to keep your toddler busy (picture books, small toys, coloring materials, etc.) So any time there’s waiting time, you will have some fun activities for your toddler. Make sure to mix it up a bit so there are always some new items in the bag and only bring out the bag of tricks when you’re out and about so that it’s fun and special for your toddler.
Music. Music is a great way to engage your toddler. Bring along your iPod with a special playlist for your toddler (and headphones, unless you want to sing along:). Make sure to check the volume setting.
Books on tape. A great tool in situations where a lot of sitting and waiting is required (appointments, driving, etc.)
Snacks. Bring along healthy snacks that aren’t messy (cut up fruits and veggies, cheerios, crackers)
The classics. These blasts from the past are still engaging and fun for your toddler and easy to carry with you. Games like I Spy and Etch-a-Sketch and activities such as felt boards and paper dolls have been entertaining tots for many decades
Take photos. A fun way for your toddler to stay busy is by asking him or her to take pictures. This works well when traveling, on walks, or running even errands). Then, when you get home, you can make a little online scrapbook together of the trip or the day’s events.
Apps. If you want to go the electronic route there are many toddler appropriate apps that are as easy to bring along as your phone. One of our favorites is the BubbleBum travel app which is FREE. It offers tic tac toe, including a version where you play with a photo of yourself as the game piece, car bingo, traffic jam and treasure hunt.
And just remember to keep a sense of humor whenever possible, it will go a long way to keeping your sanity. Plus our kids often take their cues from us, so it will also help to keep your tot happy too!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.