For some strange reason, getting out the door with multiple small children or babies can take a ridiculous amount of time. It’s especially true in colder weather when so many items need to be put on before venturing outdoors. But, even in warm weather when all that’s needed is shoes and maybe a sun hat, it can end up being quite the ordeal by the time we’re all ready and in the car or stroller.
Why does this take so long? Well, for starters you need to find everything, then you need to round up the minions (who may or may not be hiding from you on purpose!), then you need to wrestle them into their necessary items of clothing and then you need to quickly get your own shoes on and herd them all out the door before someone starts removing all the clothing you just got them into.
I’m usually sweating and in a tizzy by the time I get everyone loaded into the vehicle, because by then we’re probably late for whatever it is we are going to and I’ve most likely forgotten something important, like the key for the mail that we are going to pick up in the first place!
To keep myself as sane as possible, I’ve tried to stick to these helpful tips for getting out the door in under 15 min:
Just this morning, as I rushed to get out the door for our mom and toddler group, I couldn’t find my car keys anywhere. They were not in the basket by the door that they were supposed to be in so I had to go on a key hunt and try remember where on earth I had put them (since I knew I’d had them last). Even though I have a designated place for keys to avoid situations just like this, it still happens every now and then (thank-you mom brain!). Usually though, everything is in it’s place and that makes it much easier to find what we need when we have to go somewhere, whether it’s a spontaneous walk to the post office or a planned all-day trip to Grandma’s house. Organization has definitely been one of the best tools for keeping my sanity with twins!
Teach where things go
Since everything has a place, it’s easier to teach little ones from very small to put their stuff back where it goes once you get in from outside. Also, when they are old enough to start putting on their own shoes and jackets, they can find what they need right away. I tried to start really young with the girls so that they now can put their stuff away on their own. Someday soon I would like to get cute coat hooks for jackets by the door (Pinterest has many ideas!) and have them low enough that the girls can hang them up themselves, but for now we just have a designated spot on the closet floor by the door!
Offer an incentive for the feet-draggers
Sometimes my little darlings just don’t want to go out and leave their games or projects that they are into that day. I’ll offer an incentive to encourage some cooperation for once they are dressed and in the car such as their bottle, a snack, or a special book or toy to look at once they’re buckled in. Also, I have one child who needs to have a few minutes heads-up that we’re leaving the house and I try give her some time to finish what she’s doing before running out the door. My other girl couldn’t care less if we are changing activities on the fly!
Get yourself ready first
For some reason this is the thing I never do! I always get everything packed up, the girls in their coats, and then realize that I’m in my sock feet and sweat pants. So, of course, by the time I get dressed and put my own coat and shoes on, the girls are back to where we started at the diaper stage. Sigh. I’m trying to remember to do this to avoid the extra time it takes to get them ready again, and/or chase them down because they’ve escaped out the front door while I’m getting my boots on! Not the safest idea.
What are some of your strategies for getting multiple small children out the door? I’d love to hear from you!