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Five things to pack to keep your toddler entertained

Heading out with small children is at times a huge task. Whether it be a toddler or a preschooler, leaving the security of home can often cause anxiety.
When you have a school aged child and a toddler in tow, if unprepared, it can prove to be difficult to attend school functions and be attentive while keeping your youngest child in check.
Even simple things such as going out for dinner may seem like a daunting activity. You may even decide to avoid the situation all together. Young children are unpredictable at the best of times as they are still learning and may not behave the way you’d like them to in order to enjoy the experience.
Although this shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying life and being present in the moment. Avoiding a situation just because it may be uncomfortable doesn’t seem like a good idea in the long run. It doesn’t promote growth. Children need to learn how to behave in social situations, I repeat, learn. They aren’t automatically going to sit quietly and behave on command. Children aren’t wired that way. Although as they grow, and learn acceptable practices in their own time, these experiences will become easier.
Until then, here is a checklist of five things to pack in your nappy bag that I’ve put together, in order to keep your child occupied enough to enjoy your experiences outside of the home.
Make sure you have plenty of snacks at the ready:
Children who are occupied with snacks are just that: occupied. Even if you are heading out to a restaurant, children become restless while waiting for their food to arrive. It might come in handy to keep some of their favourite snacks at the ready to keep them busy enough not to vent their frustrations.
Keep activities in your handbag:
Pencils, crayons and colouring books are always a winning combination as a boredom buster. If you have a school assembly that is too long for your toddler to sit still through, plan ahead and bring along some activities to help keep them quietly active enough so that you are able to concentrate on your other children. Sticker books are also a great, no mess activity for public situations.
Phone apps:
Phone apps such as ABC iview can be an absolute game changer. Your toddler/preschooler’s favourite shows on the ready can be the difference between monumental meltdowns and a peaceful experience. Although word to the wise, this should be given as a last option because data usage may be expensive if you go over your limit.
Bring their favourite toys along:
Whether it be die cast cars or your daughter’s favourite teddy, it may be a good idea to bring something you know that they enjoy playing with. Even if it buys you ten minutes of peace, it’s ten minutes that you wouldn’t of had otherwise. Paired with the other activities, it will be enough to get you through that dinner or parent teacher interview without your eye twitching out of nervous tension.
Take things that bring your child comfort:
If your toddler has a dummy or a security blanket, ensure that you pack it along with you when heading out. Small children are vulnerable and they may feel just as intimidated as you do. Don’t concern yourself with what other people think. They don’t matter. People are going to judge you no matter what you do with your child. I assure you they’ll be judging if your 2 year old is attached to their dummy, and they’ll be judging if your 2 year old is screaming the house down. Do what you feel is right for your child and your situation. A calm child who feels secure is always going to behave better than a child who feels anxious.
It helps to remember that children are not wired to sit still and listen on command. Being prepared for occasions that require them to be more reserved, is the key to having an enjoyable experience.
Do you have any other hacks to keep your toddler occupied outside of the home?

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