kids

'It’s their schedule, you're just driving.' 5 things I've learned about days out with a toddler.

Honda
Thanks to our brand partner, Honda

Toddlers are funny creatures. Unlike the fragile, still (oh how I miss the immobility!), little squishballs newborns are, toddlers are rambunctious, busy little beings. They’re always going places.

I totally took for granted the lazy days spent in the living room - actually sometimes days on end - with a newborn who was happy with any surroundings just so long as mum was there.

Not toddlers. They've played with all the toys at home and are sick of the four walls of the lounge room. They want to go out and explore the world! And they let you know that in no uncertain terms by bringing you their shoes (and your shoes) every 30 seconds and by pointing at the front door.

So, here are my tips for a relatively successful day out and about with a toddler. Most of these came to mind while I was road-testing the new Honda CR-V with a toddler on board (as seen spitting out food in the conversation mirror. Normal behaviour.)

I got him to sit still in front of the car for exactly 0.37 seconds. Image: Leigh Campbell. 

It’s their schedule, you’re just driving. 

Or so you like them to think.

In my limited experience (with one small boy), toddlers do not like to be kept waiting. Think of them like your cranky boss at work, except they're only a metre tall and speak in gibberish half the time.

If we’ve got several stops to make while out and about I’ve found the day runs most smoothly if there’s an element for the toddler to enjoy at regular intervals. 

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When running errands I pick a shopping centre that has a little play area so he can get 10 minutes of energy out before getting back in the pram or car.

If we were in an enclosed space (sorry, everyone in Target or Kmart) I let him roam free next to me for a bit so he feels less ‘along for the ride’ and more included in the tasks we're doing. 

All packed ready for a day out. LOL. Of course I had a massive bag not pictured. Nappies, wipes, food, drinks, changes of clothes. Practically a suitcase.  

Pack all the snacks.

This one is obvious to me because I get hangry, and like to snack when I’m bored, so it makes sense that my 17-month-old mini does, too.

Delays inevitably happen when you’re out and about. Like that time I was waiting to buy a printer in a very busy Harvey Norman and my toddler wanted none of it so stretched his arms up to every man in the vicinity and yelled “Dadda! Dadda! Dadda!” at the top of his lungs as if to say "You’ll do, get me out of here!"

Popping him (kicking and screaming) back in the pram and handing him a Baby Mum Mum (OK, seven Baby Mum Mums) immediately diffused the situation and bought me 20 minutes of quiet.

Moral of the story. Always pack snacks. Lots of them. 

Have a go-to playlist at the ready.

Speaking of delays, nothing makes a mum’s pulse race more than a traffic jam ahead when their tiny dictator in the back has decided they no longer feel like being in the car.

I swear they should offer sirens for stressed parents, a bit like for the Police or Ambulance, but mums and dads only get to use them when their toddler is in full meltdown mode in the car seat. I would absolutely pull over and let those cars pass (and say a little prayer as they did).

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Thankfully I’ve found that the right type of music buys more time in these situations. Having Apple CarPlay in my vehicle has been like an extra parent at times. I can say “Hey Siri, play Pink Fong’s 50 best hits on shuffle” while changing lanes and not taking my eyes off the road and as soon as that 'duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn dunn' starts playing both me and my son immediately breathe a sigh of relief.

Don’t drive too close to nap time.

If you like to live life dangerously, I suggest you pop your little one in the car to head back home really close to nap time.

HAHAHA. Only joking. Never do that, it’s a recipe for disaster. Get your thrills from online shopping instead while they’re napping peacefully in their cot like I do.

There’s something super soothing about a ride in the car, even if home is only two streets away. So if you're ever remotely close to nap time you can bet your baby will fall asleep and then you’re stuck in the car (needing to wee) for the rest of your life, or it means your toddler only has a short nap and is as angry as a T-Rex for the rest of the afternoon.

Don’t risk it. 

Find a car that makes your life easier.

Yay, time for a nappy change... Image: Supplied. 

Having a car that’s designed for families will change your day-to-day life. I didn't believe it before I became a mum but it really does make a massive difference.

The new Honda CR-V is one of those cars. Designed with the juggle in mind, it’s the little details they've thought of that you’re thankful for on a busy day out. It comes in a five seater and also a seven seater, if you have more little balls to juggle.

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The boot is huge. HUGE. Honestly, I swear I could go and sleep in it when I'm having an argument with my husband. We have two prams and they fit in there easily with space left for shopping.

It’s also a flat, level boot floor which means you can change a nappy in there, just like on a change table. Because your toddler will absolutely do a number in their nappy when you're somewhere with no parents' room. Fact.

There’s heaps of safety features, too. My favourite is when you indicate left - the screen in the dash turns into a camera (just like when you reverse) to show you what’s going on in your left hand side blind-spot. Genius.

There are also seat warmers, more cup holders than you could ever want (regardless of how many sippy cups your toddler is attached to) and plenty of room for a tall passenger to sit in the front, even with a rear-facing car seat behind. That's pretty rare, so it's a massive bonus.

What tips do you have to make life on the road easier with little ones? Tell us in the comments!

Find out more about the new Honda CR-V here

 Calling all parents, we want to hear from you. Take our short survey for a chance to win $50. 

MMSurvey
Honda
The New Honda CR-V is intuitively designed to help you master the joys of family life. Featuring Honda Sensing advanced safety systems, seamless connectivity, space aplenty and clever storage to boot, the CR-V makes every journey more enjoyable. On every drive there will always be little details to delight in. Like the 90 degree rear doors for easy loading and unloading, or the clever conversation mirror that lets you keep an eye on the backseat. Plus it’s available in 5 and 7 seat options, so there is guaranteed to be a CR-V to bring you joy.
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