I don’t know about you, but my whole life is on. the. go! Childbirth was just the starting pistol for a life filled with paperwork + deadlines, starting in the hospital with sheaves of paperwork to fill out. This, followed closely by the paperwork of the doctor’s office, then Preschool, segueing into the formal education of the small people in your life, after which point your time will never ever be yours again. Maybe. All I know at this point in time is that we are a family on the go – from school and swim carpool, to remodeling our home, traveling the globe, and everywhere in-between, all day, every day, feels like a marathon.
What’s a parent to do?
I’m so glad you asked! As a somewhat-seasoned-mom-but-not-ready-for-retirement, I have 5 major time saving tips to get you from the breakfast hustle to your bedtime routine without losing your mind in the process.
Shall we get started? Let’s GO!
1. Have the same breakfast routine every weekday
Weekends are free for the taking, but weekdays should run like a military drill for your short people: same breakfast options, same time, every day. If a routine is in place and the same foods are offered day-after-day there is less fodder for an eventual mutiny in the ranks (like allergies or any other sorts of food issues). If kids miss breakfast because they don’t like the options, too-bad-so-sad; odds are that will only happen a couple of times before they’ll get back in the mess line.
2. Make lunches the night before
There is nothing I hate more than jamming together a lunch for my kids in the crazed rush of a busy school morning. It’s usually a recipe for disaster when I can’t find the peanut butter, or the bread, and the kids end up with a jelly sandwich on tortilla with a side of unpeeled carrot. The process of getting lunches made the night before is totally worth the extra few minutes it takes to make it happen.
3. Lay out outfits for school the night before
Outfit woes dominated my mornings for the whole of Kindergarten with one of my children, leading to my stubborn insistence thereafter of choosing outfits and accessories the night before school. We now lay out socks and shoes, clean undies, hair accessories, jackets and anything else my stubborn child desires ahead of the morning deadline, no take-back-sies.
4. Load backpacks after dinner
Once the dishes have been cleared and the day is almost done, help your kids load their backpacks for the next day. If their lunches don’t need refrigeration, pop those puppies right into the kids’ backpacks. Permission slips, take-home-library books and homework are all slippery and elusive in the morning. If everything is loaded calmly the night before, you’ll be more likely to find ‘Bobo The Dog and His Big Painted Fence’ (left by your kid under the piano), than you will in the chaos of getting out the door the next morning.
5. Establish a bedtime routine
Before I became a parent I, like you I’m sure, spent a lot of time reading parenting books. And in all of those books there were chapters about setting a very careful bedtime routine, lest you ruin your child for life if they don’t do things just so at the end of the day. There’s a fair amount of truth in that, but not all bedtime routines are created equal. As long as you have all the pieces in place that make you and your children happy before bed, you’re doing it right. For our family, the bedtime routine starts when dinner is cleaned up and the dishes are in the dishwasher. After that, there is backpack loading, lunch making, and permission slip signing. Each kid heads upstairs to bedrooms to change into pajamas, followed by tooth-brushing. Using an electric toothbrush helps keep the kids on schedule (timed tooth-brushing anyone?) so we can follow with family bedtime prayers, and hugs and kisses before lights out.
What tips to you have to keep you and your busy family on the go? Any tricks you’ve used to keep your life running smoothly? Please share!