This morning I took 4 children (4 and under) to the grocery store. We left at the right time. We came back at the right time. No one forgot any clothing anywhere and no one peed on themselves. A successful shopping trip. The best part? I didn’t come back stressed out. I didn’t yell once. How did we do it? How do you manage getting out of the house with kids in an orderly fashion?
- Plan ahead. I began planning my trip 1 hour before I wanted to leave. I was making my list and the kids were finishing breakfast and getting dressed. This all happened an hour before I wanted to leave.
- Start getting ready before you need to be ready to go. 20 minutes before it was time for us to actually go I started instructing the older kids to go to the bathroom and I was changing the babies’ diapers. As the older ones finished going to the bathroom they went to the porch to get their stuff on. Which leads me to #3:
- Have things in their place. The kids each have a hook where their coats get hung. Everyone has their own basket for hats/mittens. All the shoes get lined up below the coats first thing in the morning. We aren’t spending 15 minutes searching for the other mitten or shoe because everything is already in it’s place.
- Send the kids out of the house as they are ready. This may not be an option everywhere. But here, I can button up coats then send them outside to play while they wait for the others. This puts a decline on the rate of coats being unbuttoned and hats being flung while they wait for the younger ones.
- Remember it’s not that big of a deal. Kids need time to learn how to follow instructions and how to button their own coats and tie their own shoes. So what if we are five minutes behind schedule? If you are planning ahead and starting early it won’t matter if the kids take longer to get ready. Kids seem to be always getting rushed from here to there without ever getting a chance to experience things. Slow down and remember it really isn’t that big of a deal if we fall off schedule for a bit.
I have had my share of tear-filled exits. Where everyone is stressed out and no one knows where their things are or what they should be doing. Following these guidelines really helped me manage going out with kids and not being stuck at home all day. What are some tips you can share?