Getting everyone out the door, on time, is always a challenge. Here are my top ten tips that helps this happen:
1–Prepare the day before. When I had a nappy bag, this meant keeping the nappy bag ready to go – I would top it up when I got home from one activity so it was ready to go for the next. All I needed was the bottles if I had a baby on a bottle, or water bottles once they were weaned. There are other things you can get ready the night before too: to do list, shopping list, handbag, clothes and food if necessary.
2–Get the kids to bed in time the night before (this generally means every night!)
3–Be prepared yourself – look at your plans the night before and wake up earlier than your kids, have your clothes ready.
4–Have bags ready for different activities. Swim bags for the pool, nature activity bags for picnics, library box (no bag would be big enough for all the books we borrow!!). Have a bag/box for things that you need to return to other people so everything is ready when you have the opportunity to return it.
5–Have a home for everything – backpacks, waterbottle, shoes. Having a home means nothing unless you train your children to return things to their right place when they walk in the door.
6–Have a ‘get ready to go’ list for the children to follow. This will be different for each family but for me it includes – pack your bag, grab your hat, waterbottle and shoes, have a book. I need to add turn off your bedroom lights LOL.
7–Teach each child to carry their own stuff. Each of our children had a backpack as soon as they could carry one. In this back pack they learnt to take a book (maybe a toy), hat and when older/stronger a waterbottle. They need to learn to pack their own bag as well (age appropriate but this can be trained from an early age)
8–Limit your children’s clothing choices. I had one shelf for everyday wear – most times it all mixed and matched so they could make their own selections and be presentable quickly. Don’t fuss over hairstyles – leave this for the weekend. Now with my children older, I ask them to have their clothes ready the night before.
9–Limit their choices as to what they can take with them. One book, one toy was our rule when they were young.
10–Plan for 1/2 hour to get out the door. We need to allow time to gather everyone, check everyone, and get them and our stuff out the door. This makes time for those shoes that get lost, time for the kids to get the things they forgot, do a final toilet check, for mum to check that everyone looks presentable and time to do something about it if they don’t! Now my kids are older I allow 15minutes. I ask them to be ready 15minutes before we have to leave. We often don’t give ourselves time for this and wonder why we always run late!
I’m never very good at limiting myself to a theme – so my idea of top ten ideas – well, there are eleven!
Take time to pray. I know it is tempting to skip this part of your day as you rush out the door but really, as Stormie Omartian’s book title says: We are too busy not to pray.
Punctuality is a character trait that shows respect to the other person. And yet, like all character based responses in life one response should never be at the expense of another. So in this situation, getting out the door in order to respect the person you are about to see (whether it is a social engagement or an appointment) should never be at the cost of respecting our children, of being kind and patient. This is why I find working on these ten things helpful because they set the scene, create the context where I can be kind and patient to my kids, and yet still be on time.
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