It’s the school holidays! To me, the easiest way to manage the kids is to bring them out!! Drain their energy.. including mine as well. Haha. It’s actually so much easier to handle them outside because they will be running around, playing with all the activities that are arranged for them. I will just be the ‘paparazzi’ or ‘photographer’ busy snapping their photos or just chill and zone out. By the time they reach home, they usually fall asleep within 5 mins. No need for me to scream them to sleep.
But many times, I’ve encountered strangers or friends asking me how I could manage to bring the 3 kids out.
Honestly, it wasn’t always so easy, especially when you do not have a helper. The preparation to go out, stuff to prepare, maintain order and discipline out of the house, and the list just go on and on.
It took me almost 3 months to get things right and catch the right routine to get used to. At the start, it does get really frustrating and the public judging you sometimes make you doubt your decision. But being the stubborn me and refusing to admit defeat, I persevered on and decided on some rules and routines for the kids to follow. I hope this set of rules and routine will help you too!
1st: Expectations and Preparation
I will prep the girls up the night before, we will be going out tomorrow, so they can wake up, prepare and choose their clothes, and make sure they have their breakfast eaten when I wake up. (yes, my kids make their own breakfast).
– Let them know what kind of event we are going to, so they can get dressed appropriately for the event. Although sometimes, there are still some moments of ‘wardrobe malfunction’ -.-“
– Tell them the time we are going out. They cannot grasp the time very accurately, so what I have always done, is the moment when I wake up, finish my breakfast, then we will go out. Either that, we go out after lunch.
2nd: Packing and out
Yi He won a Decathlon bag from an event, and I find it quite handy and lightweight for the girls to carry out, so I bought the same one for Xin He. Inside her bag, is her coloring book from Ikea, color pencils, some of their toys, 1 storybook, and snack box. This is to keep them occupied during waiting for meals or event to start or bus trips. The snack box is the only thing I will prepare for them if we are planning to be out for the whole day. The rest is packed by them, so sometimes I will do a spot check, if not they will bring lots of unnecessary items that will make their bag heavier.
The whole ‘automation process’ took about 2 months for them to get really used to it and get accustomed to it, By the time I was ready, they were already outside the house waiting for me to go. I can still remember, during the initial stages, I was like, really literally chasing them to wear socks, and shoes, why their own water bottle is not packed, why did you not bring your bag. Oh god, I really feel old after all this nagging. But fortunately, they managed to get it right after all.
3rd: Hold hands and traveling rules.
This is the most difficult and takes a longer time. Because kids are kids, they are still at the stage of managing their emotions and behavior. They do not have a sense of danger, especially for Xin He. When I started instructing them by asking them to hold on to the stroller wherever we go, it’s pretty difficult as Xin He tends to let go whenever she saw something interesting to her.
It took her some time and lots of scolding from me to get her to understand the danger and consequences. Sometimes, showing her videos or pictures of accidents does help too. When we encounter a narrow walkway or need to go up the bus and gantry, I will tell them to hold hands and walk in front of me. This one is tricky when they fight or not happy with each other on that day.
So now my “chant” is
“Let’s go and hold on to the stroller”
“Hold hands and walk in front”
Traveling has always been the toughest part of all because traveling takes time, and with limited moving space, kids get restless easily. Very often, I have to keep asking them to sit down, don’t keep changing seats, stop holding the bar, stop raising their voice, don’t quarrel etc.
In rare occasions, they will sit properly to chit-chat, read books or do some coloring.
After having encountered so many upset, angry, and embarrassing moments, I would say, a lot of passengers have been very kind to me, some offered help, some played with the kids and most importantly, they don’t give me a deadly stare or irritated look. I really appreciate that.
It’s not difficult to bring the kids out, the tough part is to break the social psychological barrier of feeling afraid to bring them out. The ‘what ifs’. Most of the time, we worry too much. We are worried about not able to handle them, the judgmental and perceptions from the public eyes and also the number of things you’ve got to bring. If your kids are old enough like 4yrs old, they are good to carry their own stuff, like water bottles, small snacks and toys to accompany them.
You will need to train their sense of responsibility from a young and slowly they will learn how to manage. I’m still at the training stage, I wouldn’t say my kids are perfect in that area. Slowly but surely, they are adapting to the changes instead of whining or complaining why are they being ‘forced’ to do this, do that, carry this and so on. This will definitely make our future outdoor trips much more enjoyable.
Gone were the days that I needed to rush to get out of the house and yet, the kids were not prepared or taking their own ‘sweet’ time’, making me so stressed up while preparing everything.
Feel free to have a chat if you really encounter any problems that you need help! Cheers!