In this post you will find out how to fit appointments and errands into your routine without overtiring your baby or toddler. Here are tips for running errands with little ones.
4 kids in a tiny exam room.
Screaming like banshees.
Well, to be fair, only one was screaming. Another was squealing naughtily, two were staring at me in shock that my head hadn’t exploded.
The dermatologist that had to cut a mole out of my leg (yes while 4 kids were running around) was truly a professional. Calm, cool collected.
Reassuring me that, never fear, she had 3 small kids too and she was familiar with noise. She truly didn’t seem to notice.
I, on the other hand, was *this close* to dying. The baby was simply past the point. Exhausted, ready to take a nap, and not nodding off in the stroller as I’d hoped. He fell asleep immediately upon getting back in the van.
How to Fit Appointments and Errands In Your Routine
So if you are wondering how to fit in errands or appointments into a routine without everyone losing sleep or acting delirious in public, here is what I’ve now learned.
Choose set days and windows beforehand
One morning a week I have a babysitter with us and I try to schedule all appointments that are not urgent for that morning. Some mornings we may even have two appointments, but this way I have help in the waiting room and we can divide and conquer. If this is not possible, it’s still advisable to have a day of the week set aside where you can schedule appointments. This prevents you from having 4 in a week.
Choose Tuesday, for example. When scheduling check ups, dental exams, eye exams, grocery shopping or anything else where you’ll be outside the home, schedule them on a Tuesday where possible. You may have an appointment every Tuesday, but this is better than some weeks having multiple ones scheduled.
Additionally, choose a time slot. I do mornings because even if a morning nap is missed by baby, he can still nap in the afternoon. Missing an afternoon nap results in screaming babies and toddlers throughout the dinner and witching hours and this is… well… not good for me. You might choose 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm because you have your school aged children and naptime is over. When it is doesn’t matter, but choose a chunk of time on one day per week and attempt to fit appointments into that.
Get appointments in advance if possible
This follows the first point. If your child is not sick right now, try to schedule appointments in advance so you’re able to lock in a time that is convenient to you. If you know there are certain appointments you’ll have to make in the next few months, call ahead and say something like, “Thursday mornings work for me, is there a Thursday morning in the next few months we can fit it in?”
You’d be amazed how accommodating people are when you request something reasonable.
As for errands, choose one day you’ll do a slew of errands and let everyone get through it. This is usually preferable to children than having to run errands strapped in a car or a stroller every day. Believe it or not, kids like to stay home. They would rather stay home and play than sit in a waiting room.
The more you have your kids out having to be quiet and sit still, the more negative they’ll be. Don’t expect perfect obedience from a child who doesn’t get to let their wiggles out!
For smaller babies the morning nap can set the tone for the day. As babies get older and then become toddlers, the afternoon nap becomes paramount. While they’re able to stay up and play through the morning, the afternoon nap is what gets them through to the evening without becoming overtired. If possible, get your appointments scheduled or run your errands in the morning or after the afternoon nap.
You can run errands after school drop off, between naps, or right before lunch. Scheduling an appointment halfway through the normal nap will mean you have a tired child you’re expecting to behave well. It’s a difficult ask for a small one.
Bring a carrier, stroller, or blanket
If you will be in a waiting room for a while or going from place to place, consider letting the baby sleep in the stroller if possible. Some of my babies napped well in public, some didn’t, but I always give it a go. Bring a breathable blanket and you can use it to cover the stroller or car seat so they are not overstimulated and may drift off to sleep. If you baby wear, this may make errands or appointments relatively convenient because baby will likely snooze while riding.
Be prepared to feed, just go with it
One mistake I frequently make is not wearing nursing friendly clothes. There are a few reasons for this. 1. I don’t like them. 2. I’m too cheap to buy clothes that are specifically for nursing. 3. I just forget and am so busy trying to get them out of the door I forget to not wear a dress I have to lift up from the bottom.
As much as you are able, pack your diaper bag well, bring snacks or meals if you will be out during meal time (or be prepared to go out to eat), expect your children to behave well, and then whatever happens… grin and bear it!
If you’ve ever had to bring our a few kids in the afternoon and had to wait in a waiting room for an hour or two… you’ll know my pain.
It isn’t always pretty.
They aren’t always cooperative.
But finding your groove makes it better!
But about that dermatologist…
That mole they cut off? Well, it was a bit abnormal and I had to go back in so she could remove the peripheral edge. When I walked into the lobby area I was greeted by the receptionist with a huge smile on her face. As I wrote my name down she said, “Left the kids at home today?”
On occasion, my friends, on occasion.
Want Routine Printables to hang up?
If you want routines and schedules for the 3 to 6 month phase, but also for 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, and beyond, and on I’ve got great news for you. I’ve created a book chock full of routines that work. Routines that keep babies and toddlers well rested, happy, and content. Routines that account for all the things you need to do and they are mom tested. The best part? The book comes with printable routines (3 choices for each age) that you can hang up and use! So instead of having to reinvent the wheel every few months, you’ll have tried and true mom tested routines right at your fingertips.
Get your own routine book and printables here!
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- find a routine and rhythm for your child
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- know what is and isn’t working so you can make one tweak that’ll change your day
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