Anyone with children can tell you that leaving the house can be an ordeal. It seems that most moms are perpetually running at least ten minutes late! We’ve rounded up tips for getting out of the house quickly with children from our contributors. We hope these ideas will help you and your family get out of the door in a timely manner!
I give lots of transitional cues like “five more minutes” and “two minutes until we leave,” and ALWAYS aim to be in the car five minutes before we really need to leave. Somehow that time gets used when we have lost a shoe, need a snack, etc. If I am ahead of them time-wise, we actually make it places on time.
Taking a shower and washing my hair the night before helps me a lot on Sunday morning. But the thing that has helped the most is changing my departure time. So now I always try to leave 30-35 minutes early. If i don’t get everyone out the door in that window, it’s pretty much certain I won’t arrive on time. The 30 minute window allows for error.
I pack diaper bags the night before and go ahead and put them in the car. I also have church clothes laid out the night before down to a fresh diaper to change them into before dressing. Keeping shoes by the door helps too!
I try to pick up quickly each night and set out what we need for the next morning. Still, that’s not always possible, so I think the best thing I’ve done has been to get rid of as much clutter in our house, and that includes Adelaide’s closet and my closet. When there are only a few options for clothes (but stuff I still love), things are much easier.
For working moms who use day care, I have a ‘staging area’ (dining room table) for day care. I lay out each child’s full outfit for the next day (including socks, shoes, bows, etc.) I also leave their bags, nap mats, and any other materials in the same area, and I check off each item before I go to bed. I also have all bottles and sippy cups prepped and ready to go in the fridge. In the mornings, my husband dresses both kids, packs the cold items in bags, and loads them in the car. Since I set everything up the night before, he knows exactly where everything is and what to do. This system has been extremely helpful on our busy mornings!
I hang my girls’ Sunday dresses in one closet in pairs. Each Sunday I grab the first pair I see from the left of the closet. After they are washed and hung again they move to the end of the row on the right side of the closet. This created a no hassle/no thinking approach to getting the girls ready on Sunday mornings.
Allow and plan for margin. I always plan an extra 5 minutes of time between the declaration, “Okay, it’s time to go!” and the actual buckling into the carseat. That gives my toddler time to stop his activity he’s engaged in, grab a favorite toy for the ride, and walk to the car without us feeling hurried.
Every night, we pack our snacks/lunches and backpacks for the next day. My kids are now helping with making their own lunch/snack while I clean up the kitchen after dinner. This helps so much in the mornings so that no one is late getting out the door!
We keep at least one pair of shoes for each person right beside the door, so we don’t have to track shoes down right before leave time. We also keep all the kids socks in a central basket in the laundry room to make it easier.
Pre-plan the outfits. We are chronically running about 5 minutes behind schedule, so for mornings I know we will have a hard time getting out on time I always try and keep healthy and filling breakfasts that can be taken on the road. Eve takes her time eating, and often doesn’t want to eat until she’s been up a while, so I try and just take no mess meals with me that Eve can eat wherever.
I have hairbrushes in the bathroom closest and the living room. Since they still like my help with brushing their thick hair, it’s nice to have hairbrushes nearby before we run out the door.
Laying clothes out the night before and ironing or doing anything else that needed to be done made for hassle-free mornings. I also had the 10 o’clock rule. I had to decide and have started preparation for dinner by 10:00 a.m. each day. That kept me from running in the door after picking kids up from after school activities with no idea what to serve for dinner.
Do you have helpful tips for getting out of the house on time with children? Please comment below!