Three Steps to a Stress-Free Outing with Your Kids
You love your child, right? And of course, you believe your little one’s childhood memories should be beautiful and cultured. But sometimes going out with your child or as a family can be stressful, we know. These are three steps to a stress-free outing with your kids.
Step 1: Tell your child what to expect
Imagine what it would be like for you to be told you are going somewhere (if you are lucky enough to be told) but the details were sketchy and no one can tell you how long (or how uncomfortable) the experience might be. It could be frightening, boring or really stressful for you. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Tell him or her where you are going before you take them on an outing. Not all children handle the stress of socialising in the same way, and as a parent you know how your child copes out there in the world.
The benefit of giving your child (teen or younger) a clear idea of the day ahead is that they will be prepared. If they know “we are going to the skating rink for two or three hours, and then we will get lunch and come home” then they will have an idea of how the outing will be structured.
Of course, your adolescent will be happy to have a full picture of how much time they have to spend out with the family instead of doing their adolescent things with their friends. If you have a younger child who gets overwhelmed by being out for extended periods, this step will be reassuring to them.
Step 2: Pick your venues well
Not all restaurants or events are made equally; some are simply more child- and family-friendly than others. Even if the venue for the “outing” is a friend’s back garden for an evening braai, make sure that the young ones are also invited for that particular night. Besides it being awkward for the adults, there is nothing more boring for children than being at an event that is clearly all about the adults, and only about the adults.
The best part of choosing an environment that is family-centric for your outings is that places such as Papachinos, Let’s Meat, Market on Main and Hazel Food Market are usually built with children (of all ages) in mind. The same can be said of events that target families such as the Kaya Family day events. In both instances there will be play areas, and if the restaurant is especially attentive, there may even be child minders, specially dedicated to watching your kids.
Step 3: Do not micro manage
Once you are certain that the venue of the outing is family-friendly and you know there is a safe play area for children or the teens have been assigned an area by themselves, let it be. Even if your child doesn’t know anyone, they are likely to make friends because that’s what kids do. They will be in the play area and five minutes later they have managed to play well with others. Even if they are sulky teenagers, they recognise their kind and let them in.
Trust the social process, remember what you promised your child when you told them about the outing and let the rest go.
Do you feel offended when you are told that certain gatherings with friends are child-free zones?
To join us this month for the Kaya Family day events, keep an eye on our events page. Check out the Photo gallery from November’s Family Day event featuring performances by Mi Casa, Nathi Mankayi and Kaya personalities. If you were there, you might just spot yourself.