By Leah Maxwell
Congratulations! You no longer need a diaper bag stuffed with every baby supply known to man! Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to being a pack mule for your children, since bigger kids have needs too. Here are eight must-haves to toss in your kid’s bag for a day out.
A stack of tissues, a small package of baby wipes, and a bottle of hand sanitizer: Don’t leave home without them.
Your On-the-Go Multitasker
Puffs tissues are essential for any outing with kids to wipe noses, clean up small spills, use as a napkin in a pinch, and even protect found “treasures” like stones and sticks.
So many snacks. All the snacks. And then some extra snacks. Maybe even a sandwich to be safe.
My kids always get devastatingly thirsty as soon as we pull out of the driveway, so we’ve made it a habit to pack bottles of water every time we go out.
If you’re doing anything potentially messy (or if your child is still new to the potty), having an extra set of clothes on hand will prevent your life from turning into a sitcom (or a horror movie). I’ve also learned from experience to include extra shoes when we’re going somewhere with a water feature, because if there’s an opportunity to get “accidentally” soaked, my kids will always, always take it.
Waiting is the worst, and it’s super hard for kids dragged along for a day of boring errands. Interpret “entertainment” however you want -- books, gaming systems, crayons, toy cars or figures, stickers, playing cards – whatever small thing you can whip out to curb the whining. I like to bring low-tech diversions rather than handing over my phone, if only because letting them play on my phone means I can’t, and hey, moms get bored waiting too. (If you do pack electronics, don’t forget the chargers!)
Jackets and hats and gloves, yes, but also sunscreen and sunglasses, even in winter.
A prepared mom always has at least one bandage in her purse at all times. A supermom has a variety of bandages in different sizes, colors, and patterns, plus disinfectant spray and maybe one of those neato instant cold packs.
A plastic bag.
Best case scenario, you use it to contain the various rocks, sticks, and leaves your kid insists come home with you from the park. Worst case scenario, it saves your life during any number of accidents (potty, barf, food spills, etc.). Get the kind that zippers closed just in case its contents end up being liquid.
What’s on your must-have list of big-kid supplies?
Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.