This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them. #Moms4JNJConsumer
It isn’t always pretty, but I get three kids out the door on time on a regular basis.
Remember back to the days of one kid? I sometimes felt like a sherpa with all the gear and gadgets I would have with me for something as simple as going to dinner at a friend’s house. By Baby #2, I was lucky to have food and diapers on hand, and by #3, well…I have food. That’s an accomplishment, right?
Take Friday night, for example. We went out to dinner at Iron Hill Brewery and on the way there, the baby peed all over himself. But, I didn’t have a fresh onesie. I did have a set of clothes in the car left over from when my 3-year old was potty training, so we put him in the larger clothes, and continued on to dinner. Years ago, we would have turned around and gone home. Well, years ago, I would have had an extra onesie, but that is besides the point. The reality is that things go a lot smoother now that I relax.
Now that school schedules are going to start taking away some of the freedom summer allows for getting out the door, I wanted to share with you what works for me in getting my family where they need to be, when they need to be there.
Pick Your Battles
So your three year old wants to wear the same shirt he has already worn to school twice this week? Is it clean? Don’t fight it. Keeping the kids in a good mood on the way out the door is half the solution to getting out the door on time.
I am not saying that you should be a pushover…just prioritize what is important to you – breakfast, warm jacket, homework in bag? Clothing choices can be put on the back burner as long as they are safe (no swimsuit in 30 degree weather!) and appropriate (school clothes vs. toddler night clubbing). My one exception is costumes. As a teacher, I had more kids than I could name come in wearing a princess dress or a superhero cape. If it is not distracting the class, I couldn’t care less what your kid is wearing. As a parent, throw a secret change of clothes in their bag for the teacher to find and call it a day. Your teacher is probably more concerned that your child is there on time and (hopefully) in a mood to learn.
Lose the Gear
What do you need to keep a child alive and healthy for the time you will be out of the house? Food and drinks, clean diapers for a baby, seasonal clothing – THAT’S ALL YOU NEED. You do not need a playroom full of toys to appear on the restaurant table during dinner to entertain your elementary-aged child, or a purse full of toys for the baby. Just be. Enjoy each other. Improvise. We play tic tac toe when we are out to dinner on the backside of the kids’ menu. The baby gums a napkin. Everyone is happy. Years ago, I would have been playing the pick-up-the-dropped-toy-for-the-1000th-time-game with the baby (and then sanitizing said dropped toy each time). No more.
With our schedule, I have three kids that need to be three different places in the morning, and my husband and I need to be at work shortly after. I start prepping to get out the door 35 minutes before I need to get in the car. I leave 10 extra minutes to get there – because it is inevitable that I will leave something in the house and will need to run back in to get it, cutting into my drive time.
Have a Staging Center
We keep an area near the door for backpacks, coats, shoes, and keys so that everything we need is in one place. Nothing is worse than the “I can’t find my shoe” cry from one of the kids 2 minutes before you have to leave (and realizing you really can’t find the shoe). This fall, we hope to move to an entryway locker system – I have my Ana White plans all laid out!
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Hopefully these tips and coupons help you refresh and reenergize for the new school year!