How to Get Your Large Family Out the Door on Time

how to stop rushing around

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.

get everything ready 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.

wake up

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.

zero-prep meals

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:

  • yogurt
  • string cheese
  • granola bars
  • pop tarts
  • croissants
  • pre-baked muffins
  • fruit
  • and, yes, I am not above giving my kids donuts when we’re short on time.

Enlist the help of your older kids.

big kids help little 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.

leave early

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!



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

18 thoughts on “How to Get Your Large Family Out the Door on Time”

  1. These tips also work well if you don’t have a large family, just young children. I’ve had to learn some of these since having our second baby. I got spoiled as there is a 4 year age difference between kids. My oldest could get herself (mostly) ready. I now pack the diaper bag the night before, get up a little bit before them so I can get dressed, etc. Makes a big, big difference. #coffeeandconversation

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, I needed this article! With no children, I have been getting out the door ten minutes late everyday, and I can’t even blame my husband! I can’t imagine what will happen when I have children! Lol! Thank you for these tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My sweet husband can’t stand to be as late as 5 min early anywhere. I on the other hand have no sense of time (lefty problem–just like his mom!) and I also try to get as much done in the last 5 min. before we actually must be driving down the road (that load of dishes won’t take more than 5 min. if I hurry!) I dont see the point of sitting around doing nothing waiting ’til time to go. So this is a sore point in our house. I will definitely be implementing your tips! Thank you for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

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