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Portable kids = bit of a social life

Thursday, 8 April 2010  |  Admin

OK, I know when you have kids your social life tends to ooze away until it resembles a collapsed pavlova. And I know that when you're still in the sleep-deprived early days you just can't be assed to see anyone in the evenings as you could be spending that precious time catching some much needed sleep.
But, as your little one get a bit bigger it's still really important to have some sort of social life. It reminds us that we are people in our own right, not just someone's Mum or Partner. We can drink wine and chat about what the heck is going on in LOST, moan about the lack of decent baby-sitters (where are all the teenage girls looking to babysit???) and generally relax and enjoy ourselves.
Ideally of course, our OH's would be quite willing to look after the kids whenever we fancied a break for a girly weekend. In my house however, this doesn't happen too often although because my husband plays in a band and goes away for weekends with them, he's happy to swap to accomodate me.
If, like us, you don't have babysitters on hand nearby, here's a few tips for reclaiming a semblance of a social life:
Get your children used to sleeping in different beds from an early age
From your little ones are little, just take them with you and pop them into a travel cot at the other end. If you're like us, you'll find that you get more use from your travel cot with other people's children in it, when they come to stayover, rather than taking yours away with you. If you get your little ones used to sleeping in other beds, you can either visit friends and stay-over, putting the little ones to bed as normal. Or you can visit and put your little ones down for the evening, before all returning home together after you've enjoyed some quality adult time together.
Invest in a ready bed / junior camp bed
This gives you the option of putting slightly older children down for the evening / overnight. We love this Kampa Junior Air Bed as it has sides to stop little ones rolling out - you can use their gro-bag / sleeping bag or duvet with it.
Give the kids time to wind down
If you're going to visit friends who also have children, arrive an hour before bath/bed time so that the kids can have a play together and wind down. Arriving and expecting to put them to bed immediately just doesn't work as they're usually way too excited.
Share Baby-sitters
Our best friends live about 35 minutes away. We usually visit and stay-over, enjoying a night in but recently we hired a baby-sitter to look after both sets of kids in their house. We had a proper grown-up night out in a restaurant no less. Safe in the knowledge that a qualified nursery nurse was looking after the kids and best of all, we split the cost of the baby-sitting, so instead of paying £25 each, it was just £12.50. Bargain!
Have a plan B
Sometimes things just don't go to plan. One of the kids won't settle, or keeps getting up because they can or whatever. Don't stress, just have a plan B. Stick a DVD on and wrap them up on the sofa if they're old enough to watch TV, or just cuddle them on your lap while you eat. Ether way you'll still be able to enjoy your evening and you can deal with the tiredness consequences the next day....unless of course you're too hungover to do so...

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