I wanted to post this prior to Christmas, but due to an unforeseen loss of power cord for the computer, it’s WAY late.
But I have found that, what I like to call, “Breather” Bags make a HUGE difference in how well an outing goes for us.
Essentially they are just bags (a small backpack Lil Miss can carry herself and a bag I carry for Del) that contain items to help the kids avoid a meltdown.
Lil Miss’ always contains her blanket, and currently holds her Dora/Unicorn book, coloring crayons, small paper, and a binkie. Sometimes she wants other items (like a doll or crown), but when we start seeing a meltdown we move to a quite spot (another room, the car if it’s close) and regroup using the items in her bag. She only gets then out when we are in “breather” time. (Breather time, is what we use to PREVENT time-out)
Lil Man’s includes his cars (as many as I think I can stash without him noticing they are gone before we leave), his cup, a snack, blanket, binkie, a chewy tube, and a movie (for in the car if we go there). 99.9% of the time he has the identical items in his bag, which he prefers, and in the long run it helps.
We sometimes miss an early sign, but a lot of the time we are able to avoid (head-off, so to speak) meltdowns and time-out offenses.