When I was a single without kids and a husband, being punctual was easy! That was then and this is now. With a family of 6 my punctuality, well lets just say has been less than par. Here’s a few parenting hacks that will help you get out of the house on time with everyone in tow!
1) Plan Ahead
I always set clothes out the night before we need to go somewhere. With 4 kids running around the morning of an event I have absolutely no time to stress on what to wear. Granted my boys could care less on if they match or if their attire is stylish. With girls its a whole other ball game! I let my daughter pick out her own clothes along with my approval, all the night before. This allows her to choose, but also saves the frustration of going through her entire closet in the morning. When the time comes to get ready my older children can dress themselves with the outfit that was set aside. Then I have enough time to get my 2 younger children looking their best.
With school and work we all need to have lunches. I make lunches in advance. Preparing lunches for the kids, my husband and myself, saves us time and money. Sure it is easy just to buy hot lunches daily with no preparation needed. Yes this saves time, but its costly. I have the boys help me make their sandwiches and snacks. We fill their lunch bags and pop them in the fridge. In the morning all I do is put coolers in their sacs and off to their schoolbags they go. Such a time saver! This is a benefit to those who are solo during the morning. I am one of them. My post on the beginning parent shares the turmoil we all may face in the morning. Any little thing will help. Not to mention the kids will help you and it allows them to choose their goodies. Win, win for all!
3) Set the time
Always aim for a time to leave that is much earlier than the official time. For example, you need to leave the house by 9 to be at church by 930. So your official time is 9, but your time to aim for will be 830. This short half hour window will allow for multiple tantrums, one last potty break and the ever so popular diaper explosion. You can always reset your clocks ahead. Actually seeing the time ticking away makes us all move a little faster. My alarm clock is currently set 30 minutes ahead. This helps me snooze a little bit longer and gives me extra minutes. Set your goal departure with the kids and make it into a game. Kids can start to learn the concept of being timely. We all know that they have no clue on what being punctual means and can care less to try. First one ready to go can have a piece of candy. Don’t judge me, I have 4 kids. Of course I bribe and I’m closer to being sane for it!
4) Pack it in
Games and practices has us all running around constantly. Talk about having to be on schedule morning, noon and night. Keep all your consistent needs in your car. My minivan is packed! I keep my sun umbrellas, sport bags, camping chairs and blankets in the trunk. This will save you time and the possibility of forgetting something. It’s already in your vehicle. No worries! I even keep my diaper bag in the van. Just remember to replenish your wipes and diapers when needed. Set a bag in your kitchen full of game time snacks. All you have to do is replenish and go.
I’m all about routines. With 3-year-old twins, a routine is key to success. With bus schedules, start times and possibly new schools, I find the beginning of the school year to be difficult. Who doesn’t? Give it about a month. You will find what times to wake up your kids and when they should eat breakfast. I like to have about 30 minutes to myself in the morning. I need to drink my sacred cup of coffee while watching the news before I hear the pitter patter of little feet. Setting routine times for all these things are possible with a little experimenting. Consider if its easier for someone to wake up right away or do they need that extra minute to fully open their eyes? Does your child like to eat as soon as they walk in the kitchen or do they like a little downtime in front of the TV watching Mickey Mouse? Play around with this in the morning until you figure out your kids habits. Only then can you really set the routine to getting out on time.