Well, the holidays are over and it's back to the grind, only we have to do it in practically negative temperatures! Some of my mom friends can barely get out the door to head to the playground on a summer's day before naptime, much less make it in time for nursery school or $5 admission at The Play Place! Are you one of those moms? Here's my trick to getting where you need to go on time, toddler meltdown included.
But first, come out and play! BabyGotChat is collaborating with Lil Chameleon in Tuckahoe for Mommy & Me play dates. Our next one is this Monday, January 8, from 10:30am to 12:00pm. (Don't worry, you can be late). You can register in advance or pay $5 cash at the door. Click here for more info.
HOW TO GET THERE ON TIME ... WITH KIDS
Step 1: Do your math
Let's say you want to be at school on time every day. First, figure out how long it takes you to get to school, then add 10 minutes for red lights, construction, and late starts. If the place you're going is a longer drive, add 15 minutes.
School starts at 8:30, and it takes twelve minutes to get there. Add 10 minutes for traffic and construction and that gives you a 20-minute trip. So that's 8:08.
Then from what time you need to be in the car all strapped in, in our case 8:08am, subtract 10 minutes (how long it takes to get from the door to the car with potty breaks, shoe meltdowns, forgotten coats, etc.) That’s the time you need to be aiming for every day.
So in our case, leaving the house at 7:58 for 8:30 school ensures we'll get there on time every day.
Now, we don’t literally leave at 7:58. But when we’re watching the clock we know that at that time we need to start walking toward the front door and getting coats on, shoes on, etc. With last-minute trips to the potty and lost socks, we are pulling out of the driveway around 8:10 or 8:15, which gives us enough time to get there without being late. Don’t forget to account for how long it takes to get OUT of the car once you’re there. Carseats, coats, strollers, and walks through the parking lot add up.
Step 2: Make it easy to know what time it is
Put clocks in every room so you know how much time you have. Having a clock in your kids' rooms is essential because it can seem like time stands still when you're chasing them around trying to get their socks on. Putting a clock near the door helps too. I often find myself standing by the door wondering what else I need when I should be hauling butt to the car.
Step 3: Do as little in the morning as possible
I'm not going to give you the age-old adage "lay out their clothes the night before," because I personally hate doing that. But if you can get the diaper bag ready the night before or put the stuff that has to go to school by the door, that's one less project.
Step 4: Go downstairs once
The biggest time suck in the morning is coming downstairs once we wake up, eating breakfast, then trudging back upstairs to get dressed. Why herd sheep twice? In our household no one goes downstairs for the day without being dressed. It means they're eating breakfast in their school clothes, and I have to cross my fingers the baby doesn't have a blowout before I leave the house. But not having to drag them back upstairs and then drag them back downstairs is an easy ten minutes saved.
Step 5: Keep your go-stuff by the door
Make it idiotproof. We keep coats out in the open on a coatrack right by the door. Kid shoes out in the open in a bin right by the door. Any winter woolens laying on a bench right by the door. Once the diaper bag and school bag is packed they go right by the door. The tea I make every day goes right by the door. Are you seeing a theme? The more stuff two feet from where you need to exit, the better chances of exiting with said stuff.
Step 6: You might need to go it alone
Instead of stressing about remembering everything that needs to go out, I'll make a trip to the car by myself, depositing the diaper bag, school bag, my tea, and anything else non-human that needs to get to the car. Then I'm free to focus on getting the two hardest things in the car.
Step 7: Don't negotiate with terrorists—give in!
If you read the blog, you know a system of mine is House Toys Stay in the House and Car Toys Stay in the Car. But like any good rule, it can't be enforced 100% of the time. We were trying to get out the door to the doctor and my 3 year old decided she NEEDED Sick Elmo to come, I didn't even bother trying to convince her otherwise. We grabbed Elmo and got in the car on time. So, if your little terrorist make demands, fold for the greater good. And maybe there's a way around it. If they don't want to do their hair, just grab an elastic for later. Won't put on their shoes? Carry them to their car seat and bring the shoes for when you get there. It's amazing what a few minutes peaceful contemplation while strapped into a moving car will do for a toddler's stubborn streak.
See you next time!