Whether you’re a working mom or a Stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) the reality remains, trying to get out of the house on time, with children is rarely an easy task. And depending on your morning, it could lead to a serious meltdown for all parties involved. So after dealing with a few manic MoMents, myself included, I’ve come up with some tips to help make your mass exodus out of the house a bit smoother.
Whether its for work, an appointment or simply a playdate these tips will help alleviate the stress that comes along with getting anywhere on time.
1. The most important trick to getting anywhere on time with kids is planning! For me this word is a sore spot, I must admit, the act of planning is not my strong-suit, but I am definitely working on it and can sorely admit it’s a necessity in getting out the house without losing it. For me planning starts the night before. That means I pack snacks/lunches and have every item in the bag and in the fridge. If you’re packing for a baby, you’ll need to make sure your diaper bag is filled with everything you need for the next day. Make it easy on yourself, once your bag is packed, put it in the car or by the door (if you use mass transportation) so that you don’t have to worry about having octopus legs on the way out. Fill bottles and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge so that you can easily grab the bag and go. Helpful hint: Set a reminder on your phone close to the time you plan to leave, it will remind you to grab the bottles or any items that couldn’t be set out. I know… so simple!
2. Get yourself ready first. I’ve learned that getting up just a little bit earlier so that I can get dressed in peace makes life a lot easier. I follow the same steps of laying out my clothes the night before down to socks, shoes and makeup (which is usually an added bonus) as well as putting my work bag or needed items in the car the night before. Once I’m completely dressed I get everyone else up. That way I’m not trying to get ready and play referee or keep kids busy while I’m trying to focus on me. Oh, and it helps that I set my clock a few minutes fast, which gives me a few minutes to play with.
3. Include your kids in the process. Now that my kids are older and have an opinion about EVERYTHING, I find that my life is a little less complicated if I involve them in the process. This may sound like it will end up being a cluster but as parents its all about being strategic. My 4 year old now loves to pick out clothes himself, which is awesome, but can end in a train wreck. So to avoid an early morning meltdown, I give him choices; two options and he picks one. It makes him feel involved and I avoid fighting with him about what is too small, inappropriate for the weather that day or more importantly keep him for looking like he’s auditioning for clown school. For me that’s a big WIN!!
4. Give them the talk. (This works with younger kids too) The night before I explain the game plan. We discuss what our morning will look like and review the steps. I remind them of their choices for clothes and explain to them that I need their help in making this plan work. You’d be surprised how eager kids are to do what’s needed when they feel like they are part of the plan. I’ve been doing this with my youngest since he was about two years old and more often than not it goes without a hitch.
5. Establish a reward system. Most kids love to be rewarded. So during your “talk” let them know that if the plan runs smoothly, tomorrow and every day thereafter they can earn something they love to do on the weekend. If your kids are younger, it will need to be something they can do or that they can have at the end of the process; or at least by the end of the day. Their little brains don’t really understand the weekend concept just yet. Remember this reward is not anything costly or extravagant. It can be an extra book at bedtime; a few extra minutes added to their electronics time or more one-on-one time with you. Get creative.
6. Build extra time into your escape plan. With anything, there is no fail-proof plan, which means there is always room for something to go wrong. So, while all these tips can help make life on the move a little easier, there are times when you just can’t avoid Murphy’s Law. For those instances, you need to make sure you buffer your time with a few extra minutes in case something goes awry. For me, I typically pad an extra 20 – 30 minutes for the “what ifs”. This way all my planning isn’t in vain. And if nothing goes wrong, I have an extra few minutes to check my favorite blogs or social sites with time to spare. And who doesn’t love time to spare?!
Remember: All of these tips take time to refine so don’t be so hard on yourself or your kids if they don’t go as planned the first few times. This, like everything that involves children is a process. Once this becomes a routine it will run smoother. And remember there’s no manual for mother hood so sometimes you just have to wing it.
Got tips on how to get out the house on time with kids? Please share in the comments below, we need all the help we can get.