Every day I go to work, I think, “Thank God I do what I do.” Then when we go to the park for picnics, I say it again, and again, and again. Being a Nanny is the best career in the world!
Once Spring comes, I believe in going on regular picnics. After being locked inside for months with all that snow, it’s refreshing, for all parties involved, to get outside for a morning of playing at the park followed by a picnic. With years of nannying under my belt, I’ve learned a few tricks about how to take the nannying show on the road and out of the house for a day.
Here are some of our tips for great picnics!
1. Don’t sacrifice good food just because you’re away from the kitchen. When I first starting nannying, I thought going on picnics meant only eating PBJ sandwiches and juice boxes. Big mistake. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a good PBJ, but the more picnics I experienced, the more I realized that I don’t have to leave all of our “good” food at home. Now, I just bring it along with us. Interestingly, I have learned that bringing a pre-made salad or our favorite: pesto; is actually easier to bring than messy sandwiches. And it’s a bonus for me, too, because my metabolism certainly can’t keep up with all of that kid food. What are you favorite picnic lunches?
2. Pack your sun screen. Duh. Who wants a sunburn?
3. Keep your picnic blanket in your car. I always keep my picnic blanket in the car. With two-year olds sitting at picnic tables is a challenge! The distance between the seat and the table itself makes it hard for little bodies to lean in for their food without falling forward. Also, a lack of backing on the picnic tables makes it very hard to eat and chatter without falling backward. Because we’ve learned these lessons the hard way around here, I am sure to always keep my blanket in my car. A huge bonus for me with this trick is that as long as I keep the blanket in my car and only take it out for picnics, I can never forget it, because it’s always with us. In turn, we never have to deal with those pesky picnic tables again. There’s nothing better than lounging on a big red blanket while we eat! Then, after we’re done
making eating our lunch mess meals, all we have to do it shake it off and throw it back into the trunk!
4. Pack small to-go containers. The mom I work for is always buying these cute portion-sized containers of hummus and other side dishes. Recently she found out that Jif makes to-go peanut butter! Luckily, we don’t have any peanut butter allergies here, because taking our Jif to-gos with us to the park makes snacking away from the house much easier! We can get some much needed protein, as well as a sweet-fix in one sitting. These are perfect for dipping pretzels, apples and animal crackers in without bringing a mess along. If you haven’t bought any before and you have some peanut butter loving charges, I highly recommend them!
5. Don’t forget your favorites at home. I used to a have a “no toys outside of the house” rule. I was always worried about having to keep track of more things and leaving “someone” important behind. I have since revised my rule to “if you can carry it, then you can bring it” rule. The truth is, I have learned, that if a child brings along a favorite toy to the park, it teaches them to be responsible for something other than themselves. It encourages them to love and nurture, as well.
One day, we brought Buzz along to the park and their imaginations soared! They pushed him on the swing & down the slide and he even got to join us for our picnic. There is always room on the red blanket for one more! The hardest part was keeping Buzz out of trouble!
What are your tricks of the picnic trade? Do you spend as much time on picnics as we do in the summer?