I’m one of those people who hates to be late for anything. Anything. I would rather be an hour early than five minutes late.
As a mom of many, getting somewhere on time honestly isn’t something I have to think much about. It just happens. Very often- usually at church- other moms will ask me how I’m able to get my huge crew out the door and actually show up early, especially considering the fact that my husband isn’t usually with me.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t have a magic formula. I don’t have a foolproof trick. What I do have is a routine that is simple and consistently helps us to get where we’re going without a problem.
So for all you moms of many out there…
How to Get Your Kids Out the Door on Time
Set everything out the night before.
I know, I know. I’m sure many of you already do this. When my kids were still in public school, I used to do it every night, and we would still find things missing come morning. So I have two additional things to add to this:
#1 – When I say everything, I mean everything.
Clothing, underwear, socks, shoes, hair ties, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, jackets, and anything else you’ll be needing to take with you.
#2 – Put everything out of the reach of little hands.
Looking back on it, I can see this was my downfall. I would get everything together and
assume hope my littles wouldn’t get after it. I love my kids to death, but sometimes I think I trusted them too much. 😛
Find the one place your younger children can’t get to and keep everything there. The past few years, I’ve started storing our morning preparations on top of our bookshelves. It works, but sometimes I have to get my very tall (when compared to my 5′ self) 15 year old daughter to get everything down for me. (One of the most common sentences you’ll hear in my house is, “Arianna, I need your tallness!”)
Get up and get ready before your kids.
I am not a morning person, so I’m not going to tell you to get up at 5am. Yuck. Giving yourself even 15-30 minutes of a head start is usually enough time to make yourself presentable. Another tip? Take a shower the night before.
If your kids happen to get up during this time, it’s no biggie. If they’re old enough, hand them their clothes and tell them to start getting ready, too. Otherwise, give them a quick bite to eat, which leads me to my next tip…
Stock up on quick, zero-preparation foods.
Whether you’re leaving first thing in the morning or at any other time of the day, it’s so convenient to have a stockpile of no-prep foods in your cupboards. If there’s one thing I know it’s this:
There are few things that will make you later than insisting upon cooking a full meal when you’ve got someplace to be.
Some foods I use to hold my kids over are:
- string cheese
- granola bars
- pop tarts
- pre-baked muffins
- and, yes, I am not above giving my kids donuts when we’re short on time.
Enlist the help of your older kids.
Whether it’s helping their younger siblings get dressed, washing little faces, brushing their hair, or putting jackets on, older siblings are often indispensible in a large family atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. They may complain a little, but rest assured that you are helping to develop a bond of trust between your children. Additionally, you are instilling in your children the value of serving others.
Set your departure time for 15-45 minutes before the time you actually have to leave.
This one’s huge for me. My church is 11 minutes away from our house, yet we leave 30 minutes early to get there. Our doctor’s office is 15 minutes away, so we usually aim to leave 30-40 minutes before the appointment. Having that cushion of time in place can be a lifesaver for those times that last minutes “crises” (like when your 2 yr old pees her pants…) happen.
One important thing to remember is not to tell yourself that you really don’t need to leave at that time. If you have that wishy washy mentality, it’s not going to work. Don’t think about the fact that you’re leaving early because that may actually loosen your resolve to get out the door at the appointed time. Set your time, and stick to it!
That’s it! Easy, right??
If you take each of these five things and do them individually, they may help and they may not. Do them collectively, and you’ve got a solid plan in place to get out the door on time!
If you try this, I’d love to hear in the comments how it worked for you!