Some things are better done alone- while this may seem like a harsh statement, it can be easier not to take your toddler along with you to certain places you want or need to visit. Similarly, if you are looking for a bit of 'me time', you are better off leaving the house once your toddler is in slumberland so you can go with a clear conscience knowing that you aren’t leaving your partner to do it all. Their job is simply to listen out for them if they wake up once you exit over the threshold. So, if you are looking to nip out for a couple of hours after the bedtime routine is complete, here are some ideas: 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Supermarket shopping: Toddlers are notorious for making you spend more money- whether they want a drink, a snack or a new toy, you always leave with something extra for them to keep their mind occupied- because let’s face it, shopping is boring for this age group. If you would rather not have the added expense, the tantrums or to have to deal with a little person’s demands when you get in your groceries, there is no shame in opting to do this while they are asleep. It will be a much nicer experience for you and you won’t have to throw things in the trolley in Supermarket Sweep fashion to get in and out as quickly as possible. 

Clothes shopping: Some shops are open outside of usual shopping hours- places like Next and Marks and Spencers are two examples of stores in my area that don’t close until 9pm and 10pm respectively during the week. If you can find a shop like this- you can, dare I say it- browse and try things on till your heart’s content while your little one is in the land of nod. Two things that are impossible or extremely hard to do with a toddler in tow. 

Homeware shopping: Large homeware stores like Ikea are open till late during the week, so if you need to concentrate because you are looking to purchase something significant or expensive or want some inspiration for one of the rooms you are decorating in your home- you can do so with ease if you go once your toddler has settled down for the night. Toddlers and Ikea simply don’t mix- I don’t know why but they don’t, so do yourself a favour and only visit when it’s safe to do so!

Cinema: They may not be open yet, but the cinema is a great place to meet up with your mates for a girly night out that doesn’t require a babysitter- your partner just needs to stay in- a favour your can repay when they want to go out with their friends. Choose a flick past their bedtime at 7.30-8pm and they won’t even know you left the house. You get to have a catch up and stuff your face with popcorn and soda, without having to leave every five minutes to take a little person to the bathroom. Bliss. 

The pub: While admittedly, a hangover with a toddler is no fun- if all you are looking for is a place to sit with good company and some soft drinks, the pub is your best friend- especially as the nights get lighter. You can bath, read and put your toddler to bed, ask your partner to keep an ear out for them, throw on some smart/casual clothes and go and spend a couple of hours in the beer garden. You can rest assured that your conversation won't be interrupted by someone asking you to help them down the slide every few minutes. 

A cheeky drive through: While it’s not the most sophisticated of moves- you could pick up your bestie in the car and take them for a drive through McDonalds, KFC or Burger King and have a good old natter in the front seat. Like I said, not the most desirable place to share a bit of banter and cheap food- but if you’re both a fan of a particular fast food outlet, chances are neither of you will mind. You can eat yours all to yourself because your child won't be there to pinch any and you could always take your partner something back if you feel guilty for popping out.

The gym: If you want to get in some exercise that doesn’t involve pushing a buggy or running around after a toddler, most gyms open till late so you can be totally focused on your own fitness journey. You could even listen to some music or a podcast because you don’t have to keep an ear out for your little one to make sure they aren’t getting up to any mischief. A great way to improve your health while getting in some time for yourself. 

The point is, you can still do the things you used to- you just have to adjust your schedule accordingly and work as a team with your partner so you both get some valuable time away from home.

RELATED: Parenting: Earth friendly swaps for your toddler

Swap branded or character items for neutral items: Toddlers are notorious for going through phases- mine is obsessed with Peppa Pig and Hey Duggee at present. While it’s positive that they demonstrate a passion for something, as parents we can fall into the trap of buying branded items for our children. So rather than investing in character bedding, lunchboxes, clothing and toys- opt for more neutral items that will stand the test of time rather than something they are bound to grow out of and will want to replace once the fad is over...

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