As the girls are snuggled up in their beds, almost fast asleep, Mark and I run through the house yelling, “Pajama run, pajama run, pajama run!” The girls burst out of their rooms jumping up and down, squealing and wondering what next adventure we are going to embark on! As we all pile into the car with their pajamas still on, there is a barrage of questions and oodles of laughter. Not until we start driving do we reveal where we are taking them!
The pajama run tradition started in our home about 7 years ago. I had a dear friend pass her tradition on to our family and it has truly been one of our favorite activities to date!
As the kids have gotten older and then our little made her debut, we had to customize how it worked for us. There is no right or wrong, but whatever works best for your sweet family. In fact, some of the customizing and creativity we had to implement to make it work for our family actually made for some of the more fun and memorable outings.
Here are 6 tips and ideas to make it work and keep it easy:
1. Pick the place and enjoy. There are so many options. Taking them to get ice cream, to the movies, giving them each a dollar to spend at the dollar section at Target, going to see Christmas lights with hot chocolate, or to pick out Christmas ornaments, taking a trip to the park (yes they can still play in their jammies) or ice-skating, even going to the library or bookstore to pick out a new book...the list is endless!
2. Big or small…it’s the memory that counts. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and you don’t even have to spend any if you don’t want to. Don’t plan something big every time and remember to keep it simple. The most important thing is creating a memory and spending time with them.
3. Set expectations. On your first pajama run explain to the kiddos what you are doing and what they can expect so they know it will always be a surprise and it won’t ever be the same activity twice in a row. Clear expectations are important, especially for kids!
4. Keep it a surprise. Even if they begin to ask for them or want to know when the next one will be, it’s okay. The key though is for it to be a surprise. Catch them off guard. Half of the fun is that they don’t when know it’s coming!
5. Plan carefully. Don’t plan it the night before something important; that way you know they can get the rest they need the next day. To all you mamas who hold tightly to sleep schedules (I was one too) one night past the little’s bedtime will be ok!
6. Be creative and be flexible. When Bella was a young toddler we would sometimes hire a babysitter for longer excursions and just take the older two. As they got older they all had different bedtimes so we had to adjust accordingly. One idea we tried was setting up the older two in one of their rooms and letting them watch a show on the iPad. Another idea was having them get ready for bed and putting them in their rooms to read for awhile. Then we just quickly surprise them with the pajama run.
Our latest pajama run, as you can see, was grabbing some hot chocolate from Starbucks and driving around with Christmas music in the background searching out the best Christmas lights to be found! And of course if you see a Christmas light display you love, get out and capture the moment with your sweet ones!
Again, there is no wrong way to do it, just plan a fun adventure and know you are creating memories that will last a lifetime!