Since becoming a Mom of two, my biggest struggle is managing to keep my toddler occupied while juggling a newborn. I am a firm believer that it’s ok for our kids to get bored. I know it helps stimulate their imagination and creative play, not to mention help teaches them independence. But I also know they need to get out of the house and burn off some energy once in a while. Sometimes the idea of leaving the house when you are still trying to keep every dressed, fed and alive can prove very intimidating. Even my beloved Target hasn’t had the pleasure of my weekly visits, (for which my husband and bank account are eternally thankful). One of the hardest part about those early newborn days is the cabin fever that builds up when all you do is feed, rock and burp. Throw a toddler in the mix and it’s a like living in the middle of a tornado. Here are my top places I like to go to get out of the house but are actually surprisingly easy with both a baby and a toddler.
1. The Park
The park is especially helpful if your toddler is a little bit older and can climb up and down by themselves. Of course I have to keep a close eye on my 3 year old because she can be crazy (just being honest), but for the most part I hover nearby with the baby in the carrier or stroller, happily content when my toddler has a blast. The other thing I love about the park is there is always other Moms around so it turns into a social activity for us too!
2. Walking Trails
Find your local walking trail where your toddler can run and chase without needing to watch for cars and roads right next to them, especially if you are living in a city like me. Getting out into nature will give you the breather you need and the extra bonus is your toddler will be occupied and wont need you in order to keep busy and have fun.
3. Fast Food Play Areas
Even though this makes the germaphobe in me freak out, much like the park, this is an ideal place to go when your toddler is slightly older and doesn’t need constant lifting and holding. You can keep a close eye on them while holding you new babe and at the same time grab a quick bite to eat. Most fast food restaurants offer a healthier options so it doesn’t mean you have to chow down on the fries each visit. But if you do, we won’t tell.
What mom doesn’t love to browse IKEA from time to time? Taking a toddler to IKEA is a different matter entirely though. However, if you have potty trained toddlers who fit the height requirements, you can leave your child at IKEA’s Småland supervised play area for one hour, or 90 minutes if you are a IKEA family member, while you shop. I can’t think of anything better then shopping with a little baby snuggled up in your wrap or carrier while you toddler is otherwise occupied. Bliss!
Most libraries offer “mommy and me” reading sessions that your toddler will be sure to love. This is perfect when you need to get out of the house, but the weather doesn’t permit being outside. Plus it encourages your kid to love reading and opens them up to a ton more books you may not have at home. Even if your local library doesn’t offer any classes, this is still a great place to take your kiddos when your going stir crazy at home and need a chance of pace.
6. Kid-Friendly Museums
Lot’s of museums have kid friendly exhibits, but there are also specific kid museums which you might be able to find close to you with a quick google search. I love this option, not only is this entertaining for your toddler, it is also educational. Many of these places have easy stroller access and some even have family or nursing rooms which is perfect when you have a tiny tot in tow.
7. Kids Classes
Gymboree and other similar places have tons of amazing classes for your kiddos to attend. These are wonderful because you get to hang out and watch your toddler have a blast with the other kids and the instructors, and at the same time get some extra snuggles in with your baby while you have two hands.