Our little family has been on plenty of days out in the last month or so, as my husband has been on holidays. The outings have all been great, but they've also come with the inevitable challenges that accompany taking a two-year-old and a one-year-old on a big day out. I think we've been getting better at the outings as the holidays have gone on - we've been learning our lessons, you could say. And so these are a few facts about days out with the kids that I now know to be true.
1. Choose your outing wisely
It's worth really thinking hard about whether the attraction you're planning on visiting is really going to be something your children will enjoy. The last historic house we went to looked beautiful, but we didn't go in. Instead, we bought a ticket just for the gardens and woodland walk, because the kids wouldn't get much out of touring the house - but they did love running around the surrounding garden.
2. Time it well
Don't be afraid to call off an outing if the weather turns. If it's not going to be as fun as it could be, there's no harm in postponing and trying again another day. Sometimes it's just not worth going along with something and trying to make the best of a bad situation because you feel you have to; as every parent knows, if the kids aren't comfortable, you'll hear about it! Plan journeys to coincide with naps too, so you arrive with rested kids who are ready to go.
3. Get organised early
For me, packing our bag and getting our clothes ready the night before really helps. It always seems like we're in a rush in the morning, no matter what time we're meant to be leaving. Little things like having the children's shoes by the door, or the pram already in the car, save time and stress.
4. Pack a picnic
I know my children are fussy eaters, so instead of making a big deal of this when we're out (and having showdowns at a zoo cafe, for example), I take a packed lunch for us all. We all get something we wouldn't usually be treated to at home, but we also get meals I know the kids will eat. It's much better for them to have full tummies than get hungry and annoyed while we're trying to have fun.
5. Take a friend
Many hands make light work and all that - it's the same with kids. Adult company is always nice to have, and if you take a friend who also has kids, they'll hopefully entertain each other.
6. Wipes, wipes and more wipes
Just pack lots more than you think you'll need, basically. Be prepared for a child being sick in the car; be prepared for nappy explosions. If you plan for the worst, and have enough spare clothes and tissues and muslins, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you make it through the day disaster-free.
Got your own advice to add? Have your say in the comments.