April 23, 2018 — By Wendy Sachs

Anyone with a small child knows how hard it is to get young children out the door. Unless you are headed to the ice cream parlor, you have to have a plan or your three year old’s need to put on his own shoes will eat away any chance that you can stop for coffee on the way to that doctor appointment. Here are a few ideas that may help!

  1. Use pictures or photos to remind children of the routine or steps involved in leaving the house. Make a chart with photos of each step. (your child brushing teeth, putting on shoes, choosing a toy for the car etc…) Do each step in the same order each time and remind your little one to check the chart and follow it along to the next step. A visual cue helps them stay on track and routines mean less struggle and more cooperation.
  2. Use a timer. Your best investment for those three to five year olds might be a timer that they can watch like this one. But even using your phone timer can work. Ask them to beat the timer and offer an incentive like a sticker or a book for the car ride if they are ready before the timer goes off.
  3. Practice! Have all the adults in the home play a game of practicing things like putting on shoes and coats. Play fire fighter or dress up to make it fun. Run a “getting out the door relay” when you are NOT leaving so that it becomes easier to go thru the steps when no one is stressed.
  4. Plan ahead. Stop playtime with enough time for a cuddle and moment of attachment before starting the process. This puts you all on the same team and helps everyone to feel calm. If you add on a few extra minutes to the amount of time you allow to get ready, you will feel less pressure and more patience. Ready early? That’s no problem, now there is time to stop for that coffee!!