The invitation says "2:00 pm". For reasons still unknown to you, no matter how much time you have to get ready, you will almost always be late to the party. At 10 minutes past the hour, one kid might have permanent marker art on her face, another one is still in his underwear, and you're afraid you may unintentionally show up at the event with your messy pony tail and yoga pants. Sound familiar? Here are some tips to help you and your family get out the door in a timely fashion.
Prepare the Night Before
A well-planned day always starts the night before. Before going to bed, set out the clothes that your kids will be wearing the next day. And if you take forever selecting an outfit, get your clothes ready as well. There are other things you can do ahead of time, like have backpacks ready, lunches made, gifts wrapped, etc. The more you get done, the less stressed you will be minutes before your departure.
Establish a Morning Routine
When you're a parent, you give orders left and right. But you don't want to do that for every single task. After a while, things should become routine for your children. Morning checklists are helpful to teach your kids to be responsible for some basic things, like brushing teeth, getting dressed, and making the bed. Some busy mornings, I could probably use my own checklist to remind me to take a shower! Only kidding! I take showers ... mostly.
Train Older Kids to Help the Younger
If you have more than one child, start training the older ones. Start them young, while they still eagerly want to receive the accolade of being "Mommy's Helper". In true Duggar fashion, my oldest will sometimes help his youngest brother put on his shoes, and my daughter will gladly change her baby sister's diaper. Now it wasn't always like this when the kids were younger, but they still helped in other ways. Even simple tasks, like throwing a diaper away, will prepare them for bigger and better things in the future.
Designate a Waiting Zone
One of the challenging things about heading out the door is simply rounding everyone up. Choose a certain spot in your home to be the waiting zone. For us, it's a bench near the front door. When you have to finish up some last minute things, like putting on makeup or grabbing some to-go snacks in the kitchen, you'll know where to find all your kids and get them out the door quickly.
Now, getting everyone in the car and buckled up ... well, that's another story.