Getting There on Time with Kids- The Struggle Is Real!

September 1, 2016

You’ve probably been there before. The clock is ticking away and you’re no closer to being out the door. There is still uneaten food on the table, you’re tripping on shoes in the foyer and it seems no matter how loud you shout no one is responding. Between tantrums, accidents, breakfast and getting dressed, it’s hard to be on time when you’re dealing with children.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest challenges for parents looking to be more timely and how you can remove the stress of getting out the door from your life.

What Are the Common Culprits?

Sometimes venting is the best way to see with a clear mind, so let’s evaluate some of the reasons you are running late in the morning. Then you can discover some proven solutions.

  • Your child doesn’t want to get buckled into their car seat
  • No one can decide what to wear
  • Someone doesn’t like breakfast and doesn’t want to eat
  • Lost homework, phone, backpack, etc.
  • No one wants to wake up
  • No one is listening

There are a million other reasons that getting out of the door can be a challenge, but knowing some of the roadblocks up front can help you find solutions that work.

Make a List (And Check It Twice!)

One of the biggest challenges of getting out the door is making sure everything that needs to get done, gets done.

Have you ever had to circle around the neighborhood because you forgot a lunch box? We all have. One way to eliminate this stress is to create a list of everything that needs to happen before you leave the house.

With a simple chalkboard or checklist, note everything that needs to happen so you can leave stress in the house where it belongs. Potential fields including:

  • Backpack, lunch, and any school-related materials
  • Parents - wallets and phones
  • Breakfast is eaten and dishes in the sink/dishwasher

By taking command of all the tasks that run over, you can organize your morning and have it happen like clockwork. Children can get in on the fun too. Let them check off the tasks as they happen to motivate them to get moving.

Planning Ahead Never Hurts

There’s an old saying that the next day really starts the night before. This couldn’t be truer for families with children, especially those who are in school or daycare.

Getting to school on time is a priority for most parents, but making sure everyone leaves the house dressed and with their homework and lunch can be difficult. Planning the night before can save time in the morning, which can be valuable if unexpected roadblocks arise.

Use the time the night before to:

  • Pick outfits for the next day and lay them out
  • Take showers and baths
  • Plan what to have for breakfast
  • Pack backpacks and lunches
  • Ensure all work and homework is complete

Having a nighttime routine can be a great way to erase stress in the early morning hours.

Make the Mornings Fun

Let’s be real, it can be hard to have fun first thing in the morning. However, bringing some liveliness to your pre-leaving routine can ease stress and leave everyone with a big smile on their face.

Morning Music

Simple changes can make this achievable. Consider building a morning playlist. Let everyone pick a favorite song and time the playlist so when the last song starts, you know it’s time to hustle and get out of the door.

Choose a Morning Leader

If you have more than one child, choosing a morning leader can be a great way to get the whole team motivated. Assign tasks to the leader and offer an incentive for them to do a great job, like getting to choose breakfast or what music to listen to when you finally get in the car.

Do Tantrum Stoppers Exist?

Even if you follow all of the advice in this post, it’s likely that one or two mornings may not go according to plan. All parents have had to experience the wild ride of a temper tantrum. Even if your little one is an angel most of the time, a tantrum is bound to happen.

Tantrums can be one of the biggest killers of getting to places on time, so how can you avoid or de-escalate them?

The most important thing to know is that it will pass. Even when it seems like the screaming and yelling will never end, it will. Take a breath and try to power through your morning without letting the stress affect you. This will allow you to go through your morning being the leader. Establish the boundaries and try to do as many tasks without talking. It’s important to establish these rules; giving into temper tantrums just means they’re more likely to occur.

However, you don’t want to be cold. Make sure you are warm while authoritative. Spend a little extra time in the morning waking up with your child or establish a longer night time routine to make sure they’re well-rested and feeling loved when morning arrives.

Related: Temper Tantrums! 8 Tips to Prevent & Help Calm Down Your Toddler

The Bottom Line

Getting out the door doesn’t have to feel like you just ran a 5K. Parenting is stressful, but mornings don’t have to start out erratic and late. Take some time, plan ahead and you’ll get to your destination on time and in no time.

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