Toddlers are creatures of habit. They do best in places that are familiar, on schedules that are routine, and in situations where they aren’t expected to behave well for very long. However, there will be days when you do have to go out and about. 

Toddlers can take only so much “behaving” in a stimulating environment before they have had enough. Going out with your toddler will be a lot easier if you understand exactly how much they can handle. Try and adjust your schedule accordingly. 

It’s all about preparation

If your toddler can’t deal with an hour-long trek through a crowded shopping centre, then get in, get what you need most, and leave.  

Don’t prolong the experience by trying to fit in too many things – it usually ends in tears. 

If you absolutely need to stay longer, find a quiet corner so that you all have a break from the noise and the crowd. Have a drink and a snack. 

Pack the essentials

  • Nappies and wipes 
  • Lightweight, spare clothing which you can easily roll up – think about whether you need a whole outfit change
  • Small toddler toys or books 
  • Disposable bibs for messy mealtimes 
  • Toddler snacks such as small tubs of cooked fruit, cheese sticks or raisins and water 
  • A cup with a non-spill lid 
  • Hat and sunscreen 
  • Toddler-friendly cutlery if you’re planning on eating out (not all restaurants offer this) 
  • If you’re potty-training or newly toilet-trained, consider taking a pop-up travel potty – bring spare trousers and pants, along with plastic bags to store damp clothes 
  • Make sure you have your toddlers favourite music for the car journey in case you are stuck in a traffic jam. 

Want to know more?

Essential baby – Tips for going out with a baby and a toddler