Getting out of the house with a large family, or any size family for that matter, can be quite the ordeal! And when you have somewhere to be, whether it is your once a week church meeting or a bigger event like a wedding it can take some planning and preparation to get everyone out the door on time and looking their best (or at least presentable!).
Here are my best tips for getting out of the house on time and still sane!
1- Add 15 minutes.
Knowing what time you need to get out of the house to make it to your destination on time, and then add 15 minutes to that time. Tell everyone, husband and kids, the earlier time. There are always the last minute treat bags that need prepared, bathroom trips before getting into the car for a long car ride or the run back into the house to turn off the curling iron! Having those few extra minutes can help assure you still make it on time.
2- Be prepared.
Thinking ahead and being prepared makes showing up on time possible. Make sure your teens have their clothes picked out and ready to wear, so they aren’t trying to throw their clothes in the dryer when you are trying to walk out the door. Get those shoes found and matched up so when you go to leave you don’t spend 10 minutes searching under the couch and under every bed trying to find the missing shoe! Think ahead to which kids need to shower the night before or who is quick enough to take a shower the morning of. Figure out what time needs spent on doing hair (okay only applicable if you have 6 daughters like me!), because time goes quickly when you are in the bathroom curling all those heads of hair! Oh and fill up that gas tank the day before. A quick stop at the gas station can definitely derail the best laid plans.
3- Pick your battles.
This one can be so challenging especially when you have toddlers! Or teens! Or tweens! Really though, sometimes it is hard to let go of the little things but choosing to not nitpick the style of hair your daughter wants to wear today or the shoes that may not match that outfit just right is worth it to prevent a fight from breaking out and causing a delay. Or maybe even saying yes to the toddler begging for a piece of candy….for breakfast!
4- Getting ready in shifts.
In my family I have the bigs, the middles, and the littles. And I often try to get them to get ready in shifts. I send the middles down to eat breakfast while the littles are getting dressed and the bigs are working on their hair. And then I have them swap. I feel like having less kids to argue at the breakfast table and less kids fighting over sink space helps everyone get ready quicker.
5- Working together and encouraging independence.
It sounds like those two things really wouldn’t go together, but what I mean is that I do encourage my children from young ages to be independent as in getting your own breakfast, putting on your own clothes, being responsible for brushing your own teeth. I do not have time to do all of these things for each of my children, plus it is good for them to learn to do it on their own. However, I do ask the older siblings to help out, grab that bowl for a younger kid who can’t reach the cupboard, pull that dress off the hanger for your sister who isn’t tall enough to reach, help to make sure those shoes are on the right feet, and even now that my oldest girls are capable I ask them to help do the younger girls hair. Now that is a lifesaver! It is important for siblings to serve each other and work together for a common goal.
6- Most importantly, prioritize your time!
Let go of the things that can wait, like throwing in a load of laundry or straightening up that room. Those little chores often eat up time quickly, time that often isn’t planned out for. If it is important for you to leave with the house clean, then wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. If you want everyone’s hair to look really nice that day and not be thrown in a ponytail then plan accordingly.
“Being on time to appointments and meetings is a phase of self-discipline and an evidence of self-respect. Punctuality is a courteous compliment the intelligent person pays to his associates.”
Marvin J. Ashton
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. And setting the example to our children to value our own time and commitments, as well as showing them to value other people’s time is an important role we play as parents.