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I don’t love leaving the house. I’m a total homebody and I’d stay in ALL THE TIME if I could. But I’ve been trying to get out to the gym and sometimes I even buy groceries to feed the family (teehee). The PROBLEM is that I have two sons who are soon to be 2 and 4 years old. It takes FOREVER to get everyone out of the house. FOREVER. And when you don’t love going out to begin with, it’s really hard to not just give up. Things can go TRAGICALLY wrong trying to leave the house with the kids… there might be weeping involved. Mine. My child’s. The dog might even howl with the kids.
Over time, I’ve worked out strategies to make this work smoothly so I don’t lose my mind.
Common Barriers to Leaving the House and Solutions
I’m going to address common issues that we have getting out of the house and how I speed the process up.
- Getting dressed: This is SO slow sometimes. They fight going upstairs because they want to play with their toys or they want to watch a cartoon. Usually I make sure to give the kids a count down… “Once this episode is over, we need to go upstairs and get dressed.” I make sure to turn off the TV once it’s done. Or I’ll tell them “5 more minutes” and set a timer. If I’m in a big rush, I say “10 more seconds” and count down aloud.
If we are running late then I’ve found it’s easier to just bring the clothes downstairs. We get dressed in the living room and leave the pajamas on the stairs to bring up later.
- Getting shoes and socks on: Sometimes socks are the problem… I actually made a sock drawer to put by our front door to make leaving faster. Socks and shoes are put on by the door. Otherwise they lose socks on the way downstairs. This has sped things up a LOT for us.
- Over tired children: We plan outings around nap. The WORST thing I can do is take my kids out when they’re tired. Occasionally, out of necessity, we will go out when my kids are tired. If so, I try to let them sleep in the car and I just give up on the nap at home. Oh- and I bring a book to read in the parking lot. It’s easier to be patient when I have a good book!
- Multiple errands: I limit myself to two errands at once. I count it as an errand based on how many times I have to take the kids in and out of their car seats. I tend to chose where I go for errands based on how convenient it is… for example, one Walmart near us has clothes, groceries, and fabric so it’s a pretty awesome place for me to shop. The other Walmart is located next to a shopping center that has a thrift store so I like that one too. Our grocery store is in a shopping center with a liquor store (Maryland doesn’t allow you to purchase wine at the grocery store), salon, UPS store, etc.
- Nobody WANTS to leave: This. This is usually our biggest issue.
I’ve found that the most helpful thing I can do is spread out my errands over the week so that leaving the house in the morning is routine. When we go out every day, my kids start to get into the routine and are more cooperative. When we stay home for a week, suddenly it’s like pulling teeth to get anyone in the car.
I try to plan a fun activity as part of our routine. For example, my gym is near a beautiful lake. We can walk to it. We will pack a picnic “lunch” and after I’m done my class, we go and sit by the lake to talk and eat. It’s peaceful and my kids LOVE it. My oldest son, 4 years old, will pack the snacks himself. It’s a FREE activity and nothing fancy, but they like the time with me and it gives me an opportunity to really engage with them outside of our home.
My BEST plan though?! Special car seat snacks. Have your kids ever thrown car seat tantrums? My oldest used to THROW DOWN whenever we put him in the car seat until we started doing this. My youngest does it occasionally now, but never with the consistency and absolute horrific theatrics that G did. The one tip I read was to offer them what we now refer to as a “car seat cookie.” It works.
If we need to go somewhere, I save snack time FOR THE CAR. No snacks before we go. Then I pack a snack for the car and let the kids know they’ll get it once we get in the car. Once they’re in the car and buckled into their car seats, they get their treat (note: we didn’t buckle up for the pictures below because we weren’t going anywhere. I didn’t want to worry about taking pictures when we actually needed to run an errand).
This is where Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies come in. We use a variety of treats for the kids, but I LOVE giving them the smoothies because they are obsessed with “the monkey drink.” If I say “smoothies in the car!” they run to the door and chant MONKEY DRINK MONKEY DRINK. Super cute.
Not only do they love them, but they’re easy to take with us. I grab straws and pop them through the foil which keeps them from spilling everywhere. Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies are the perfect on-the-go snack choice to help us start our day. They have “Only the Good Stuff®.” They don’t have high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors (no artificial dyes!) which is really important to me. They do have calcium, Vitamin D, and active yogurt cultures.
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