Leaving the house with multiple kids


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by sarah elrod

Leaving the house with multiple kids



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Leaving the house with multiple kids might just be one of the hardest things you ever do. Especially when you are doing it alone.

I mean, do you ever just laugh at yourself when you think about how much things have changed? The other day I went to Costco and it was pure chaos. Juggling my busy boy toddler and baby wearing my clingy newborn, trying to put $500 worth of groceries in my cart. People say “oh you sure have your hands full” yeah thanks Karen.

Afterwards, I basically fall into the drivers seat of my car after an hour of pure feral-ness and wrestling my kid into his carseat just to remember that there was actually a time in my life when I could leave the house without packing a backpack full of stuff. Believe it or not, I could walk out the door knowing I would be gone for hours and have no real plan. What a time that was.

Now we have 2 diaper bags for 2 kiddos, wipes everywhere, I’m the holder of all the snacks and water cups. My stroller is the size of a limo. Car rides are usually filled with sounds of screaming kids in the back seat. And my coffee is not longer for purposes of being cute, rather, it’s there to actually fuel me for the day ahead.

Is it chaos? Yes. Do I love it? Absolutely yes.

I wanted to give you some tips and tricks of sorts on things I have learned about outings with multiple kiddos. Some of these even apply to just having one kid so if you are on your first baby this might still give you some ideas. But especially if you are onto your second or more.


Plan Ahead


This might go without saying but planning ahead is going to make your outing with your kids a lot less stressful. Gone are the days of aimlessly wandering a store just for fun. When you have young kids or toddlers, you want to be very quick and intentional with where you go and what you get. I meal plan at home and organize my grocery lists by sections of the store. So I can grab stuff as quick as possible and I know what I need. Also you are going to want to make sure to have plenty of emergency snacks, clothing changes, and whatever else your kid might need. I have my diaper bag but I also keep a caddy in my car fully stocked of essentials.

This might be an unpopular opinion but aside from the normal healthy snacks, I always keep a little bag of M&Ms or a sweet treat. So on those extra hard days with my toddler I can give him 1 little chocolate at a time and it will usually buy me 15 minutes of peace. Another thing to plan for is nap times. With multiple kids, there is a good chance they are not on the same schedule. My suggestion is to plan around your most difficult sleeper. Since the baby can kinda sleep anywhere, I plan my day around my toddlers nap. He usually goes down at noon. So I have the morning or anytime after about 2:30pm to get stuff done.


Parking Lots


Something I never realized would be so challenging when leaving the house with more than one kiddo is parking lots. For context, I only have two kids and one is still a little baby so she’s not that hard yet. But I can only imagine how it gets harder the older and more mobile they are.

When you are trying to get one out of the carseat but also keep an eye on the other one so they don’t take off into traffic can be difficult. In my current situation, I always get my baby out and situated first. Most of the time I baby wear her into stores. So I will put her on me and leave my toddler bucked in. Once she is secure, I will take my toddler out. I would also recommend taking strollers out before taking any kids out of the car so they can go straight into the stroller or cart.

Always park near a cart return! I don’t care about parking close to the store itself, I care about being near a cart return because if you are close, you can potentially grab a cart from the start and push your kids into the store. But mostly so that after you are done shopping, you can return the cart quickly, and have your kids loaded in the car already.

Another parking lot trick I learned was to teach your older kids to keep a hand on the car at all times. They can pretend like their hand is a magnet and stick it to the car. That way you don’t have to worry about them running off.


Strollers Are Your Friend


When we first unfolded our double stroller, I couldn’t help but laugh. The thing looked huge! I felt like I was pushing a limo around. I was actually kinda embarrassed by it so I refused to take it out the first time I took both kids into town. But quickly I realized that was a terrible idea and that me and that stroller were going to become good friends.

Yes sometimes I just use the grocery carts but they don’t strap my kid in quite as much as my stroller does. And sometimes I am getting too much stuff so I need a stroller and a cart (or two carts).

This is my double stroller and it’s a game changer!


Own The Chaos


Let’s face it. You will likely look like a crazy person when trying to wrangle multiple kids in public. You might as well own it. I promise you, no one is staring as much as you think they are. And trust me when I say, there are a lot of nice people who get where you are and will even offer help on occasion.

Your children have just as much of a right to be out as the rest of the world does. Even when they are throwing tantrums, they are learning and growing. Yes, it can be exhausting but you are doing right by them but continuing to bring them out in public. It does get easier. And you learn to stop caring so much about what others are thinking.

You got this mama. I believe in you!






My double stroller recommendation








GET IN TOUCH: Podcast@SarahElrod.com


I'm Sarah Elrod

The Podcast

Rural Lifestyle



I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.

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