Be it in the house or outside, mummies are usually way better than daddies in managing and taking care of the kids. Hence, while it is common to see a mummy bringing out her kid by herself, it is relatively unusual to see a daddy doing the same. However, there may be times when a daddy will need to do it, and I found myself in such a situation with my 30month old girl, during my wife's confinement period immediately after the birth of our second child: in order to allow my wife and newborn to rest sufficiently, and not wanting to preoccupy my girl with TV and smartphone at home, I simply had to bring my girl out by myself.
It wasn't that i did not like doing it. Rather, it was the fear of the unknown, given that I had never brought my girl out by myself before, other than the playground and neighborhood shops downstairs, and she was at an age where unpredictability and tantrums were the norm.
So how did I survive the 2 trips with her? Hopefully the below will be helpful to fellow daddies.
Planning of trip timing and duration
You can start by planning out how long you need to bring your kid out, which will then determine the kind of activities e.g. if it's for only 1 - 2hrs, a short trip to the shopping mall, indoor playground, park etc may suffice. If it's for half a day or more, you may need to factor in meals and naptime; if naptime can be included in your trip, you can then have some “me time” outside.
Preparation of essentials
Essentials here not only refer to diapers, milk powder, baby wipes etc, but also to other things that can keep your kid happy/preoccupied when he/she gets bored/agitated/fidgety/uncontrollable outside e.g. snacks, fruits, comfort toys, stationery. Hence it's important to know the preferences, habits, quirks etc of your kid. Tempting as it is, try not to hand the smartphone/tablet to him/her as this defeats the purpose of bringing him/her out in the first place.
Planning of venues
Nowadays, there are many indoor playgrounds, but these don't really come cheap. Alternatively, you can consider everyday locations where you will be amazed by how much kids can enjoy themselves e.g.
Sitting on a trolley in the supermarket
Flipping through children books in a library
Watching animals at a pet shop
Watching people skate in an ice-skating rink
Running around in an open space
Controlling your temper
Losing your temper or showing your frustration with your kid outside, for whatever reason, will only trigger more tantrums or a crying/screaming fit, which will then most probably cut short the trip. For your kid to stop doing whatever that's bothering/agitating you, try distracting him/her with other sights and sounds, or with the essentials mentioned above. It's easier said than done, and I myself am still working on it, but controlling your temper and frustration will certainly help make the trip pleasant and enjoyable for you and your kid.
Awareness of surroundings
Be aware of your surroundings, and try to avoid places/situations where temptations may trigger conflicts with your kid. For example, if you do not intend to let your kid play on children rides, steer clear of places with these rides. Again, this is easier said than done, given the many temptations outside targeted at kids. Nevertheless, some situational awareness will certainly help.
For a daddy, bringing his kid out by himself can be a challenging, yet fulfilling, occasion. With some planning and preparation, self control, situational awareness and a little luck, it can strengthen the bond between father and child, while allowing mummy some well deserved “me time” of her own.
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