As a working mom with a hectic life schedule, one of the most useful skills I have mastered since entering motherhood is how to keep my toddler busy when I am running errands all day long outside the home. Here are a few tips I have learned through trial and error that I would like to share with you. If you have any tips or do things different, I would love to hear and learn more, so please do comment them on my recent Instagram post. These are specific to running errands on the go (outside) where Surah has to accompany me in the car. Whether it is grocery shopping, picking something up, mailing something out, driving to our P.O Box, banking, conducting a quick meeting or photo shoot or anything else that would require me to step out of the house with my little munchkin.
- Treasure Box
I have a little box that I keep beside her car seat in the car. It is almost like a treasure box because I like to keep new surprises for her to explore throughout long drives. A busy toddler is always a happy toddler. I keep books, stuffed animals, blocks, lego, colorful cards and open-ended objects. This box is a life safer especially when I need her to drive with me from LA to OC and we are stuck in traffic. I try to keep the box updated with new objects otherwise it becomes predictable and she will lose interest.
Surah, like most toddlers, dislikes getting in the car seat when they are engaged with something else and have to cut that activity short only to sit in the car seat. So they end up throwing a tantrum. To avoid this, I learned to build predictability which kids LOVE!! Whenever I am ready to transition her from her stroller or pick her up to put in her car seat, I always prepare her by counting out: One, Two, and Three!! I still engage in a conversation with her as I am buckling her up and then quickly dive my hand into her treasure box and pull out something for her. This works like a charm and no more fits when putting her into the car seat. Try it and let me know if it smooths out the transition.
I have a cooler backpack, something I think every parent needs! I carry her snacks and drinks in them which stay fresh especially if we are out for more than just a few hours. These snacks are not to substitute her meals. No. I ensure she is well fed in the morning, afternoon and evening. But these snacks come in hand in between her main meals. I focus on carrying healthy choices such as superfoods, fruits, veggies, puff puffs, cereal high in fiber, cheese strings, etc. I never leave the house without stuffing this cooler backpack.
Wherever I take Surah with me, I explain to her what we are doing. I know she only understands a certain part but the more I have done this I have realized the more she has learned throughout time. If she understood only 20% of what I was saying, in time she learned 40%. And so on. How do I measure this? Because when it is time to run that same errand again, she points at the same things we talked about and tries to communicate with me. The best way to help your little one understand the world and develop his/her vocabulary is simply by explaining their experiences with them and having engaging conversations. Keeps their mind occupied with thoughts and creativity as well so you can focus on getting your errands completed. Try it! The next time you take your little one grocery shopping, talk about the items you are putting in the cart and mention what you will be making for dinner that day.
Surah's Outfit: Rockin' Baby
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