You are on your third attempt to run errands with two kids.
Two kids. That’s it. Everyone makes it seem so easy, then you actually try it first hand and it feels like you’re on minute to win it—except the minute takes more like an hour.
It goes something like this…
You fed the baby, changed the diaper, asked your toddler to go potty about 25 times, wrestled to put his underwear on, wrestled to put his socks and shoes on, put the baby in the Moby wrap, asked your toddler to get in the stroller 10 times, looked everywhere for your sunglasses, then decided you didn’t need sunglasses because it was cloudy, put your own shoes on and finally after about 59 minutes of corralling, you were finally ready to leave.
This happened to me not too long ago. By the time I was ready to put the car in reverse, I questioned even leaving. I was exhausted at that point. Literally just packing things up from the house and getting to the car was enough excitement for me.
Something had to change.
I needed to streamline leaving the house in order to save time and my sanity. I wasn’t going to accomplish much in the day if I spent an hour just trying to reach the car in the driveway. I pulled myself together, made a plan, and ate one donut (okay…two donuts) to make myself feel better. This is why with all of the benefits of amazon prime I do almost all my shopping online. But I needed a solution for the times I still have to venture out into the world of errands…
Tips and hacks for leaving the house in a timely fashion.
Pre-pack your bag the night before.
I was wasting so much time running around the house trying to put together everything I needed for the diaper bag, while at the same time getting two kids ready. It wasn’t functional or organized in any way. Once the kids are asleep each night, I spend 5 minutes getting the diaper bag organized for the next day. Saves a ton of time and I am able to accomplish it without interruption.
Keep things at the door.
We take our shoes off and put our bag down right when we come in the door. This eliminates me running around the house for 15 minutes each morning trying to find everyone’s shoes. Then the shoes and the bag is all right there ready to go in the morning.
Use the Ziploc bag trick.
Always pack one outfit per child in a Ziploc bag or a wet bag. At least once a week someone is going to have potty training accident or diaper blow out and need a change of clothes. With the Ziploc bag you can remove the clean spare outfit, put it on your child, and then place the soiled outfit into the bag. This contains both the smell and the mess.
Find yourself a daily routine that works.
If there is one thing and one thing only that works wonders with small children, it’s putting them on a routine. Each day I know there is a time when everyone will be rested and fed and the most cooperative during errands. This is helpful if you are trying to avoid meltdowns…especially the public ones where everyone stares at you as your toddler flails around on the floor at Target. These are are the exact printable routine cards we use in our home, and they work like magic.
Do the same routine each time.
Children—especially small children—are much more likely to cooperate when they are given a specific routine to follow the same exact way each day. Your kids know what to expect, and they know how to complete the routine independently as possible. It’s much easier to get out the door when your kids can get themselves ready without you telling them 10 times.
Does it really work?
I contemplated for a while not leaving the house during the week at all. Hardy har har. Then I realized that is ridiculous and unrealistic. After switching things up and using the strategies above, leaving the house became much more manageable.
It’s not a perfect process—life with kids never is—but it’s more functional, organized, and less likely to induce a serious donut craving.
Okay. Maybe I’m still eating the donuts. But they are more of a “victory donut” rather than an “I’m stressed out donut.” That’s a thing, right?
Print this free toddler listening checklist.
This post comes with a free printable checklist to help with toddler listening. I always have the hardest time remembering these phrases. This printable simplifies it!
Here is a sneak preview…
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- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join 20,000+ parents who receive my weekly parenting tips and ideas!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator. Check things off as you go and don’t forget a thing!
Want more on parenting?
- The One Thing You Can Give Your Toddler to Get Better Behavior
- 15 Creative Ways to Keep Your Toddler Busy Indoors
- Toddler Listening Hacks That Actually Work
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