The weather is getting warmer, and chances are, your kids are itching to play outside. According to research, children who play outside regularly are less stressed, have greater respect for themselves and others, develop stronger immune systems, and play more creatively than children who spend more time inside. Going to the park is a great way to soak up some vitamin D (don’t forget the sunscreen), promote an active lifestyle, and enjoy playing together. When you have twins or multiples, however, taking your kids to the park by yourself can be nerve wracking, especially the first few times. Here are tips for a safe and successful outings with multiples.
Dress Your Kids in Bright, Similarly Colored Clothing
Some parents of multiples love to dress their kids alike and others absolutely hate it. If you happen to land in the second camp, a trip to the park might be the time to make an exception. If your kids are dressed in the same, or similar, bright colors, it is a lot easier to spot them in a busy park. Distinct hats can also help, but hats may fall off your kids.
Know the Layout of the Park
Parks with enclosed playgrounds are a great way to test yourself and your kids. Some parks have a fence around the area with play structures, which will keep your kids contained, while giving them the freedom to explore a bit. Playgrounds that are surrounded by grass and opens spaces can also give kids an opportunity to roam, but not much of a chance of making it to a parking lot or busy street.
On the playground, make sure your kids are using the age-appropriate play structures. A toddler trying to scale a climbing wall designed for 7-year-old kids is simply not safe. If there are not any play structures that are age appropriate for your youngsters, be sure to bring activities for them or consider another park.
Speaking of bringing activities to the park, sidewalk chalk, shovels, buckets, balls, etc., provide a variety of options to keep your kids entertained. A stroller with ample storage space or a wagon can make bringing all your gear a breeze.
In addition to entertainment options, bring lots of food and cold drinks. Running, jumping, rolling down hills, and daring to go down the big slide will make your kids hungry. If you make sure your kids know you have food, chances are, they will find you in order to get a snack, several times. Stashing your goods on a picnic table provides a natural meeting place — in the unlikely chance you get separated.
With twins or triplets, you are outnumbered. Improve the adult-to-child ratio by meeting with other parents you trust. Even while they are keeping an eye on their own children, there are extra sets of eyes that will be watching for your kids as well. If you are new to the area or are looking for other parents of multiples, many local groups have park and playground meetups you can join.
It’s Better to Leave Too Early Than Too Late
Whining, crying and full-blown meltdowns can happen anytime a toddler or young child doesn’t want to leave the park. Yet the behavior is almost guaranteed if your child is overtired or hungry. It may help to save a special, favorite treat for the ride home.
With a little preparation, a day at the park with your twins or multiples doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It will give you and your kids a chance to socialize, make new friends, and spend some fun time together. Get outside and pay. You and your children will be glad you did!
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About the Author
David Reeves is Marketing Manager of Superior Playgrounds (srpplayground.com). The company designs outdoor play structures and playground equipment for all ages — offering customizable, safe equipment sets with components like swings, play tunnels and balancing structures.