Outings With An Almost Two Year Old

guest column
By Nanny Megan
As a nanny, I am constantly trying to find new activities to introduce little “A” to. We go on two education outings a week. One with our playgroup, and another by ourselves. Living in the San Diego area, we are never at a loss when it comes to planning activities. The challenge is planning the activities at a time of day when A is in a “good” mood. Asking a two year old to sit in a stroller or stay put in one area is like asking dog not to lick its but. It is nearly impossible.

There are times when MB will leave a list of errands she needs taken care of, which I am more than happy to do since shopping is my forte, but taking A out when he is not up for it is like entering the gates of HELL. You have to deal with tantrums every few seconds, hyper-ness, wanting to stand up in the shopping cart or stroller, tearing up stores, and etc. Dealing with this for quite some time with A has taught me to be prepared for anything.

Now, we never go on an outing without the ERRAND BAG. Similar to a diaper bag, yet it is filled with goodies to try and distract from the ever so frightening tantrums. In this bag, one could find a lunchbox full of snacks (crackers, fruit, sippy cup, granola bars, fruit leather, and/or string cheese), toys that are only used while on an outing (old keys, old cell phones, Elmo’s Learn and Play guitar, plastic dinosaurs, and last but not least, the coveted iTouch, which is used only for emergencies).

So after this post, I leave you with a question. Is there an item, food, or toy that you use only for errands/outings?
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Thank you so much for your patience Megan!


Marypoppin'pills said...

I wish I knew about an "Errand Bag" when my boy was 2yrs old! I was so naive thinking I would be enough to entertain him, lol. Thank you for the great advice, Megan.

NannyM said...

When I was nannying I could generally get away with just having a few books and cars. But when I took my niece out the other week I needed the DVD player and her V-Reader!

nycmom said...

This may not be quite what you had in mind . . . but I always pack a Travel John Jr in my kids' bag. It's a portable device the kids can pee in and is fitted so girls can use it too. Do we need it often? No. But when we do I am SO grateful I brought it.

We lived in San Diego when my oldest (now 11yo) was 1-2yo. It's such a fun place with kids and SO much to do! My daughter's favorite was Belmont Park in Mission Bay, just watching and dancing to all the performers.

Another nanny... said...

The other thing that I use (only for emergencies) is lollipops. The kids are rarely allowed to have them so they are a special treat and they usually have to be quiet to suck them!!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

At the risk of starting a vicious debate...

My single absolute required item for toddlers is the "bearhug", AKA the Eddie Bauer backpack harness Bear.

Yep, toddler on a leash.

Of course I also bring snacks, drinks, toys, and so on, but for the toddler who wants to walk and can't be trusted to hold hands, I go with the Bearhug Backpack/Harness.

I think using it allows my charges to be independent and stay safe all at the same time. They can explore, and trust me, they lead the way while I keep up (and push the stroller)! I don't let the harness substitue for using our outings to teach/apply safety lessons, and I don't drag the kiddos around.

I'll be using it when my current charge learns to walk and goes thru stroller refusal. He'll be happy, I'll be happy, and any odd looks are truly few and far between. Generally, I get more "Where did you GET that???" questions from parents who could use one Right. That. SECOND!

I've joked in the past about buying a supply to carry along and sell at the zoo/aquarium/museum, and I may just do that this time around. A $10 harness, sold for $20 is pretty good profit, don't you think?

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Nanny Megan...I currently live in San Diego as well and you hit the nail on the head. There is so much to do here that one does not really have to plan ahead too much. :)

Anyway, on a personal level I think it is crazy that you are being asked to run errands w/such a young child to bring along. Unless you are being paid a pretty penny to do this, I would not do it. I currently work as a Nanny for a wonderful family in San Diego, and the parents would NEVER dream of asking me to run any errands for them. They have told me time and time again how they want their child to be optimum care from me and they know that if they assign me other duties to perform, their child will get sub-par care from me by default. Instead, the mother does her grocery shopping and other errand running on the way home from work which works out for everyone involved. Then when she comes home w/her bags of food, her daughter is so excited to see what she got and loves to help put things in the fridge and pantry.

However, if you do not mind and are being compensated well for what you do, I would either make the errands as short as possible, then promise a "fun" surprise afterward to keep the child happy. The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre is great and always a hit w/my charge. Also, the La Jolla Birch Aquarium is wonderful as is the San Diego Zoo.

Wow said...

I love running errands. I incorporate learning experiences into the errands. My first charge and I had so much fun! His mom asked me if I minded running occasional errands, and I agreed. She gave me a household credit card with my name on it and gave me a list if she needed something. We would go to the store after Gymboree or music class.

If we were in the grocery store, I taught him the names of different produce and other items. Involving him kept him from getting bored and he rarely acted out. Allowing him to walk and carry an item also helped by keeping his hands occupied.

I would also take him to BJ's and he loved it! One day, when he had just turned 2, we were in BJ's and there was a trampoline hanging from the ceiling. He was very precocious in his speech and he asked me what that was hanging from the ceiling. I told him what it was and what it was for. He asked me if he could jump on it and I asked him how he would get up there. He said, "Maybe a ladder!" I was very impressed with his reasoning skills!

Above-Par SAHM said...

Quote: "They have told me time and time again how they want their child to be optimum care from me and they know that if they assign me other duties to perform, their child will get sub-par care from me by default."

That is just bizarre. Sub-par care? So every SAHM who incorporates her children into her daily routines is giving them sub-par care because they aren't giving their children their 100% undivided attention? What a ridiculous attitude.

Bostonnanny said...

I love going on errands and do my errands occasionally with my charges after activities. We get my car cleaned, buy snacks for the next day, check out the bookstore. Children love being part of adult activities and if done right they will gain a lot of life skills. When my previous charge was two she would grab a candy while waited in line and then ask for money. when I asked why she wanted money she said she needed to pay for the candy. She was so freaking smart.

I never have to carry any distractions for my charges who are 2yrs and 10 months, they are so used to going out everyday that it's become a routine. They love going out anywhere and never put up a fight unless they are sick or exhausted. They are both very well behaved. The only time I had a problem was when we had a side by side double stroller and the baby would touch the toddler. He didn't like it and would get upset but I solved that problem by getting a Phil and Ted

justthenanny said...

I have been grocery shopping for the family I work for since my charge was about 6 mos. old, she is now 3. I do remember times where it did get a little frustrating...I would always bring a few snacks, toys she loved, and perhaps something new along to distract her. When she was young, it was all about going at the right time! When she got older and began to interact more, she just loved watching everyone and seeing everything. Now that she is older, she is great! Sometimes I let her use the kiddie cart if there's not much on the list - but other times she sits in my cart and is happy to help. It's a great learning experience. She always has to have her own list too! :) I love your "errand bag" idea! I, too, have used the iTouch in emergencies. ;)

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

@Above-Par SAHM: Thank you for saying my opinion was ridiculous. I have read many of your responses on this blog so I must coming from you, that was a compliment. No, I am not saying that a SAHM who takes their child out on outings is providing sub-par care. This is just my bosses opinion and I respect it. They told me upfront when I interviewed, that they only wanted me to provide childcare and to not be distracted by the dirty dishes in the sink or the clean towels in the laundry basket that needed folded. They wanted me to spend my time educating and playing w/their child. If there is any down time, they want me to use it to my advantage so I am always on my toes. As a Nanny, we have more accountability and liability than the child's parents anyway.

I think the reason I do not like bringing children into a store is because I was forced to do so many times when my own were younger and I just got burned out w/the temper tantrums or boredom from the child. If I were twenty-something and had never had kids, I might have a different perspective.

Jerseyshort said...

I maybe an old fashion sahm but did you ever get him an etch-sketch? They are cheap and are self contained! They work great for shopping trips

Above-Par SAHM said...

@Above-Par SAHM: Thank you for saying my opinion was ridiculous.

It wasn't your opinion, it was your boss's opinion. And yes, it is ridiculous to think that anyone who takes children on errands is providing sub-par care for them. Ridiculous.

Oh, and you haven't "read many" of my responses on here because I've never posted anything until this thread.

SanDiegoNanny said...

@Just My Two Cents: My current boss told me the same thing when I started my position; they didn't want me to do 'chores' at home because they didn't want anything that would take away from spending time with their child. It is one of the reasons I took the job despite it being lower pay than I usually charge!

When I go on outings with the infant that I take care of (and we go on outings EVERYDAY because I would go crazy in the house all day otherwise!) my number one go-to is the Ergo Baby carrier! It is the most comfortable baby carrier I have worn and the baby can nap/look out of it for hours while I walk.

With older children, I like to bring a couple of surprise toys and books to bring out when times get "rough".

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

@San Diego Nanny: It's good to hear that there ARE other families (besides my current bosses) that are okay w/hiring a Nanny who does not do housework. In my current position, I can focus all of my attention on my little charge and I never have to be stressed that the parents might come home and be disappointed if the laundry did not get folded and put away or if the dishwasher had not been emptied. Even though they have not specifically instructed me to, I always wash whatever dishes/cups my charge uses plus I always clean any food messes such as crumbs from counters/tables. I also make sure all toys are put away before the parents return home and I make sure Fido has fresh water.

It's great we both live in a city where there is so much to do. If you can find a Nanny play group in our area, please let me know and I will give you my e-mail address. :)

SanDiegoNanny said...

@Just My Two Cents: I completely agree. I often will fold laundry that I see or run the dishwasher if we are running low on bottles and MB will usually write me a note the next day saying 'Thank You'. I have never specifically said to a family that I 'don't do' housework---but I never apply for jobs that say that is what they are looking for.

I don't know of any official playgroups but I have 3 other nanny friends that I often meet up with at the park in OB or the zoo. I always like having more nannies/kids to meet up with though!

FamNan said...

I've been looking after my family's kids and extended family's kids as a nanny for 21 years now. Well in the beginning I was going to school too but it wasn't long until I had them all the time. Singing, looking for stuff as you go along, actually hold a conversation with them even if he's 1 or so. They babble right back to you and love to talk. I'll let the kid pick the songs, ask what animal do they wish they could be, lollypops or a surprise from the store which could be gum or maybe they want chips. It doesn't have to be sugary most little kids love chips and if you find small bags they love having their own bag and not having to share. Or get a sandwich baggie and fill that. The one I currently watch is 4 going on 5 and there aren't many things we leave to do because she gets sick easily (according to dad though it's always allergies though I've gotten really sick from her 'allergies') but she loves my digital camera and my cell phone. She loves to take pictures and look at them because I'm always taking pictures so she knows there will be new ones in the camera. If the kids old enough tell them they can use it if they're careful. A 2-3 year old will understand the first time you take it away because they're not being careful. I'm not saying hand them your Iphone lol though they have apps for kids now adays. I'm just worried cause I hope to get a laptop soon and I hate to see often I get to use it while babysitting. She uses the regular computer making it 4 people I have to share it with lol.