I’m kind of particular when it comes to being prompt. I hate to be late. Not that I’m saying I never am… I’m just saying I don’t like it. It was so much easier to be on-time when I was the only one I had to be responsible for, you know?
Frankly, it’s one of the things that I’ve had to give up getting all uptight about since having kids. I still try to be on-time, because I think it shows respect for whomever you’re meeting with, but I try not to stress out about it. Things happen with kids. Poopy diapers. Keys locked inside the house (yes, it’s happened a couple of times to me!). Someone not feeling well. Can’t find a shoe. Whatever it is, it’s better not to get uptight. Stressing about it usually only causes my kids to be upset and drag their feet.
So here are a few tips for getting out the door, with kids, on time:
- Get everything ready and where it needs to be the night before. I get the kids’ clothes (and mine) laid out the night before. I prepare the coffee and get stuff out for breakfast. The kids’ backpacks are ready by the door. I haven’t gone so far as to have lunches packed, yet, but I think that’s my next step.
- Wake up early. I’ve posted about this before, but I’ll say it again. Waking up early, allowing myself to have a shower, breakfast, coffee, and prayer time is essential for me. It gets my head and heart in the right frame of mind for when my kiddos get out of bed.
- Have a ritual or list of things for the kids to do in the morning. You know, eat, get dressed, brush hair and teeth, etc. Do it the same every morning. Eventually their little minds and bodies will naturally know what comes next. This doesn’t guarantee they won’t whine, complain, or dig in their feet, but at least they’ll know what it is that they’re supposed to be doing. If you have a particularly difficult time with a child, read this post.
- Division of labor. If your significant other is also home in the mornings, decide ahead of time who’s going to do what – and stick with it, every morning. That way you’re not getting in each other’s ways and there’s no misunderstandings (e.g., “ What? Buford doesn’t have any lunch? I thought you were taking care of that!”)
- Make sure you’ve left plenty of time. Believe me, I know how easy it is to underestimate the time it takes to get kids ready. Just getting them bundled up in the wintertime can take an extra 15 minutes! So plan ahead and leave plenty of time for the usual stuff to happen, and maybe put extra in there for the surprises.
- Post a list of the day of the week and what you need to remember for school. There’s so much to remember – Monday the kids need money for chapel, Thursday they need to remember their library books, etc. I read once a suggestion to make a doorknob hanger with this stuff on it so you can check it on your way out the door. I haven’t done it yet – but I’m going to.
- Oops – I forgot this one in the original post & I’m adding it now. Do not, I repeat, do not allow TV in the mornings before school. It wastes time. It shifts their focus from getting ready to acting like vegetables. Then when it’s time to go, they complain about having to turn off the show. Argh. Trust me, save yourself the headache and make this a rule at your home!
I’m always ready to learn something new! I’d love to hear any of your suggestions / tips / tricks on how to get out the door on time. Post ’em in the comments, please!!