While summer can be the most fun time of the year, it can also be the busiest between barbeques, weddings and showers. When faced with all these invitations it can be daunting for parents, especially ones with very young children and babies.
Summer can also be a scary time for parents, as it is the most dangerous season of the year, with pediatric surgeons being the busiest in summer months due to higher incidents of accidents.
Our first summer with Brooklyn, we attended numerous BBQ’s including a family reunion with about 30 people in attendance. If I could go back I would have changed a few things. For starters I wouldn’t have stayed as late as we did, but I had guilt over leaving early – More on this below in the tips.
However, the more events I attended the more comfortable I got, as I was better prepared for the day, which meant ALL of us could enjoy the day with minimal stress.
Flash forward to this summer and we are now accepting invitations to summer bbq’s with our toddler is something we can look forward to rather than be overcome with anxiety, by using the strategies I have learned below.
In this post, I am going to share with you 5 strategies to survive your next summer barbeque with your baby or toddler (or both!) AND have fun!
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Tip 1: Give them an energy boost throughout the day
For a long day consider giving your baby some energy boosting foods with natural sugars. For example a piece of watermelon or watermelon puree. Avoid refined sugar because you will get a quick boost and then a nasty crash. That is going to do the exact opposite of what you need.
If you’re feeling creative, use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes.
Tip 2: Keep visits short
If you can, don’t linger at the bbq. Stay a few hours, so you can see everyone and they can see the baby, and that is enough. Work around your nap schedule and don’t feel like you need to apologize for it. What’s best for the baby is to be rested and sleep well.
It’s also ok if you arrive late IF you give the hosts notice and explain why. You can also give them the heads up that you will need to leave a bit early.
Setting expectations early reduces future disappointment.
Tip 3: Bring your own toys
Don’t assume that there will be age appropriate toys at the bbq.
If you can bring a few small toys (maybe include a new one or two) that guarantees your baby will have something engaging to play with.
Babies and toddlers love bubbles! Simple dollar store ones or more elaborate bubble guns work great to keep them entertained.
Tip 4: One parent needs to be on baby watch at ALL times.
This tip comes from my pediatrician.
Parties can be a very dangerous time for babies.
Parents are distracted by conversations, food, entertainment, etc. and if baby is on the move you can lose sight of them. This is when accidents, like falling down stairs, can happen.
Especially if you’re at someone else’s house and the baby wants to investigate everything. Always Always Always have one parent watching/with the baby.
Alcohol and other guests can also be issue. People who have had a few too many should not be carrying your baby. Just politely let the person know that the baby is tired and wants to be held by mom or dad.
Tip 5: It is ok to decline an event
I know we don’t want to disappoint family or friends. But sometimes having a baby gives you a hall pass. If you and your baby aren’t sleeping well or it would mean hours in the car to get there ““ Decline. If it’s an annual event you can go to again next year or even wait a few years! Do what feels right for your family. Most people will completely understand!
Do you have any other tips for surviving a bbq with a baby?