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Family at the park

You might be trying to make sure they don’t fall off the roundabout or get hit by a rogue kid. Here are our tips for navigating the park with your toddler.

1. Put the sun cream on before you get there

Trying to rub factor 50 onto little noses when there’s a slide, swing or fellow two year-old with a ball in sight can feel impossible. Do the dull stuff before you get there so your toddler can throw themselves into the action as soon as you arrive.  

2.  Pack a picnic

Chances are, you’re going to be there for a while and during that time, you might witness a tantrum or two. So come prepared. Pack plenty of water, veggie sticks, sandwiches and emergency raisins plus some fruit to cool them down. That way you can be there for hours. 

3. Don’t just stick to the swings

The great thing about toddlers is that everything fascinates them. If there’s a pond at the park, take them to see the ducks. You can also go looking for squirrels. And if there’s a sandpit, let them go wild in there too.

4. Get a hat that stays on them

When the sun’s out, they’ll need a hat but trying to keep it on a toddler’s head is a tough task. Get a hat that ties on, or one that you know they are happy to keep on, and then you won’t have to replace it constantly. Check out NCT’s Nearly New Sales to pick up a bargain.

5. Pack your own entertainment too

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a ball will keep a toddler entertained for days or possibly weeks. So put one in your bag for when they tire of the swings.

6. Take the buggy

When your toddler’s exhausted from 50 rounds of running from the bottom of the slide and back up it, they might not want to walk home. Make sure you take the buggy and everyone will have a much more chilled out journey home. 

7. Entice them to leave

The worst part about the park for a toddler? When they have to leave it. They will never, ever want to walk away from the swings so find with some strategies to entice them.

Strategies might include collecting pinecones on the way home to get crafty with later. You could also count how many dogs you see on the way home, or even have an ice-cream stop. Whatever you do, get your story prepared ahead of time.

8. Dress for it

At the park, you’re going to get mucky. That is a fact. You will have sand on you, and mud, and possibly some sun cream and the remnants of an ice-lolly. Go for trainers, shorts and a comfortable t-shirt and get ready to get stuck in.

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

You might find attending one of our NCT New Baby courses helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.

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