Planning Day Trips for Toddlers: Keep It Simple & Focus on Quality of Time

Focusing in on the toddler ages from 18 to 36 months - keep one thing in mind when planning a day trip: The quality of time.

1. Toddlers have schedules and they are for a reason. Little ones do well with boundaries (as they do not have copeing mechanisms in place yet for restraint), so stay on your set schedule. First and for most do not take a day trip that interferes with nap time! The pleasent day with your tot will not be pleasant and will make an impression on you to where your not going to want to do this again.

2. Start by planning ahead. Look for things to do that are interactive and think simple. Shopping is not interactive, movies are not interactive. A toddler's world is about touching, tasting and experiencing. Zoo's are fun, but not interactive unless it is a petting zoo. Looking at the animal's isn't fun for kid's until about age 4 or 5.  Movie's are entertaining, but toddlers could care less about sitting in front of a movie screen or a t.v. and for that matter commercials. YOU are the center of their universe, from ages 15 months until as far as 24 they will experience seperation anxiety from you. Why do you think that is, because YOU are their world.

Keeping this in mind plan activities that fall after the mid-day nap. Pack a lunch, walk to a community park then picnic and play - don't make it elaborate, finger food and a sippy cup is just fine. Do not sit and watch, interact. Smell flowers, look at bugs, read a book. Toddlers do not need much, it's the parents that get bored with the routine, kids thrive on it. I'm sure you have a ball around and if your dying to get out, take your tot to a soccer field and kick a ball or just play chase - but remember that after about 20-40 mins they will be done, so don't go far or expect hours of play time and just let them run. If the weather is bad, go to the pet store and test drive a bunny or a used book store and read from dozens of books (you'll only get through 2-3 pages of each book...who cares...they don't) AND there is no cost involved.  If the weather is great and you have access to a lake, take them wadeing.

Day trips do not need to be elaborate or even very involved for a toddler, they just want time with you experiencing the world around them.

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