Being on Time is a Challenge for even the most disciplined parents. I have compiled some of my favorite tips to help you get you and your children out the door on time. This is PART II, Tips 11-20. I hope you find a tip which makes being on time with your kids easier!
Plan Easy to Pack Snacks. We all know fresh fruit and veggies are best, but sometimes there's just not enough time. Raisins, Cheerios and 100% fruit juice boxes are one of my favorite back up snacks...everybody likes them and no one in my circle is allergic to them. If you buy in the large economical portions, divide some up ahead of time into individual portions to grab on the go.
Put Your Keys on the Hook. This one, most people, myself included, have learned the hard way. Discipline yourself to put your keys in the same place when you walk through the door each day. In the movies, glamorous stars always drop their keys into expensive pottery or atop a carved table. In the real world of parenting, a hook way above a child's reach works better or a locked safe if you have teenagers!
Designate a Stagin Area. This is the place where things come into your home. In a perfect world, we would all ahve giant organized coat closets! Some free clean apple boxes from the market are better than stuff strewn everywhere. Coat hooks or a few containers to store the outerwear and items we bring with us on a daily basis can go a long way toward ensuring a quick exit from our homes.
Shop Smart. When buying something new, think about your daily life and goal to be on time. Will you really have time to iron those pants before you leave the house? (Special occassion clothes and accessories are Exceptions.) Cute is always high on my list, but not as high as practical!
Analyze Your Week. What activities were you late arriving to or stressed to get to ontime? Brainstorm solutions...waiting for soccer socks to dry...even for those with laundry service have difficulty keeping one pair of socks clean for three games a week! Maybe a ready made dinner on play rehearsal night that can be eaten at varying times might help. (Chef salad would be one option.) Make extended family dinners potluck so no one person is over burdened.
Leave Car Toys in the Car. I used to let my children choose what they wanted to play with in the car each time we left the house. This one took me a long time to figure out! Leaving the house would always be delayed while they searched for the last item or the backpack itself. Leaving a friend's house, waiting room, etc. was a challenge looking for a toy that was at home the entire time! Give each child a set size and number of items for their backpack that goes with them. Photograph the items, laminate the photograph and attach it to the backpack and everyone can help look for the truly missing items! (For overnight trips and vacations, I let the kids add a few extra toys with the same procedures.)
Trade Tasks with Friends. This week, bring lunch for the play date and next week have a different parent bring lunch for all. Get into the habit of helping friends with errands. It is as simple as saying, "I'm going to the library, do you need anything returned?" One friend always takes my charity donations with hers. It keeps me on time by clearing a path out of my house and taking one stop off my list!
Recruit Some Help. If there is an event you absolutely cannot be late to, schedule some help. I do not mean spouses who have no idea how a child's shoes get on their feet! If you are Maid of Honor in your Sister's wedding, she may love you, but not forgive your half hour late arrival while the cake is melting and guests are wilting. Find a trusted friend or relative to take the kids to the event or babysit.
Practice Makes Perfect. After putting new systems into place, do a practice run. Free days are the best time to practice. If you are taking your kids to the park and have no set time to be there, pretend you do. Did your system or new tool work the way you envisioned? If not, keep tweaking until it works for you and your family.
Keep Some Empty Duffel Bags Handy. This tip helps me a lot. If you are unexpectedly invited to go sailing or ice skating, etc. , grab a bag and fill it with the extra gear and you are on your way to join the fun on time!
I am not punctual all time, however, I have greatly improved my on time record with these tips. Being on time has allowed me to cut down on stress and given me more time to enjoy with my precious children. :-)
I hope you have found something in these tips to improve your life or at least to laugh at those of us who struggle! Please vote YES for this guide. Thanks in advance, Melissa :-)
P.S. If you would like to read PART I of Being on Time with Kids , please drop by my eBay Store, sign up for my store newsletter and I will email you a copy.
Copyright Melissa Guernsey. All Rights Reserved.