You’re rushing around trying to remember everything you need to bring to get out the door in the morning. The toddler doesn’t want to eat breakfast, and you can’t find the 3 year old’s shoes. You are trying to collect the library books to return just to have your 6 year old come tell you they don’t have any clean pants and then the baby has a blow out! This used to be me- it felt like every time we were getting ready to leave in the morning somewhere!
But after I strategized through trial and error I found getting out the door with my 9 children became much easier. We were able to arrive on time and in a calm manner most of the time, as well! That’s why I’m excited to share with you today some of my simple strategies for how to make leaving the house with kids easier!
I know you’re here for the tips- so let’s get right into it with a brief disclaimer first.
How to make leaving the house with kids easier- disclaimer
Some of these tips, you’ll notice require some advanced planning. It’s easy to be tired at the end of the day and tell ourselves we’ll do it tomorrow when we’re fresh. But, is that really what happens? Or we’ll do it later when we have more time. When will that be? Or we tell ourselves, it’s not that big of a deal and we’ll figure it out later. But the next day, it feels like a really big deal.
If nothing else, advanced planning gives us an opportunity to do the same things that we will be forced to do later when we can choose to do them instead. We can choose to get ahead, which is a much more rewarding and satisfying feeling than feeling rushed and behind.
There will be the inventible blow out, or tantrum that we can’t control, but we can instead anticipate these. A little advanced planning can maximize our margin for those predictably unpredictable moments.
Create a manageable storage system
How many of us have spent a frantic 10 minutes running around trying to find that missing shoe as we’re trying to head out the door? Having a shoe system can help minimize tracking down shoes.
Create a designated shoe storage area
Firstly, setup an area, if you have it, near the door you exit frequently. A shoe shelf, basket, or boot tray will do. Assigning a home to the shoes is key to finding them later. Even if they are tossed nearby, the area will be defined and more easier to manage.
Separate play shoes from nicer shoes
Secondly, keeping “play” shoes and “going out” shoes separate. This can help lesson the occasions you have to hunt down a shoe in the yard or find it muddy somewhere right before you need to leave. We store the kids church shoes and nicer shoes that they wear for outings on a shelf in their bedroom. Anywhere that you can access easily that your younger kid’s can’t will suffice. Then leave out their designated “play” shoes in your storage area near the door they exit frequently.
Kids won’t always put their shoes where they go, but this help minimize the occurrences of getting left outside or muddied. When you come home, put their “nice” shoes away and then keep play shoes accessible for them.
We prefer crocs and flip flops for play shoes in the summer and rubber boots in the spring and fall. We also have tennis shoes for riding bikes etc. But these are usually different than their play shoes.
Having designated places for shoes helps kids know where to put their shoes when they come in and go out. Even if the don’t always do it. 😉
Bonus tip: On laundry day, toss a few socks for your young children in a basket near their shoes by the door you exit frequently!
Pack the night before
Set out or pack what you need the night before, especially if you plan to leave in the morning. This tip takes the most advance planning, but ensures you don’t have a missing shoe or no clean pants when it’s time to go in the morning. A little time spent checking for what you need the night before, packing it, and setting it by the door, will create a greater sense of calm in the morning and likely give you that buffer for the inevitable disruption. It’s less of an issue to change a blowout or deal with a meltdown calmly when everything else is ready.
Again, it’s easy feel too tired in the evenings, but you’ll still likely feel harried in the morning anyways and might not have what you actually need to leave. Better, to do what you can the night before, and instead enjoy the morning with your kids.
Bonus tip: Get yourself ready first! Then you can calmly help everyone else without feeling as rushed and frantic.
Practice problem points
When you have more time
Practice make progress! If you work on the difficult points of leaving when you DO have a bit more time- like getting shoes on quickly, learning to tie laces, or buckling up- the next time usually goes better. Practicing can not only be for your child, but also for you. When you are not rushed and frenzied it’s easier to have more patient and impactful responses to your child and your teaching will be better received than when you’re stressed and rushed.
Practice when you’re not leaving anywhere
You can also use days you are home to practice cheerful obedience on the more difficult points. Tying shoes can be learned at anytime. So can learning to buckle in! Bring the car seat inside and have your toddler have fun getting in and out of it when it’s NOT time to go. When it’s time to leave, everyone, including mom, will be ahead of the curve. 😉
Bonus tip: Try to make it a fun game, and offer rewards when they DO it! i.e. bubble gum for everyone if they load up cheerfully!
Plan your LOAD time.
Planning a load by instead of leave by time! This is the time that everyone needs to be loading into the car instead of time you need to be pulling out of the driveway. It is key to be able to show up on time somewhere. Not only that, you will prevent those predictably unpredictable moments from eating up the time you should have been leaving by. AND, you can arrive where you’re going much more calm and collected.
Calculating your load time
This requires a bit of math.
- Subtract your arrival time, by your drive time
- Add 10+ min. (for that blow out, poop someone’s gotta take or toddler meltdown. )
- This is your “load by” time
This will help you arrive, not only on time, but in a less harried and rushed state.
Bonus tip: Give everyone a “leaving in 15 min. countdown” to your load by time- including yourself! Then use those extra minutes if nothing unpredictable happens, to load the dishes or switch the laundry if desired.
How to make leaving the house with kids easier in summary
Let’s review! Here are your strategies to implement to make leaving the house with kids easier, your life calmer, and your outings together more memorable.
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- Set up a shoe storage system
- Pack the night before
- Practice problem points
- Plan your load time not leave time
I hope this post has helped you and gives your life a greater sense of calm in the midst of chaos, and enables to you to be present to fully enjoy these moments with your kids.
Thanks for being here today, friend!
In His service,