I can see you reading the title: “The Secret to Getting Kids Dressed & Out the Door in 10 Minutes or Less.”
Yeah, right. You must think this is a joke, right? I must be kidding you. How in the world can any parent get multiple children dressed and out the door in under 10 minutes? In truth, I’ve never been able to do it. But—I am going give you my suggestions anyway (which may absolutely work or not at all) and at minimum, I am going to make you laugh, okay?
So, here you go: The Great Big Secret to Getting Your Kids Dressed and Out of the Door in Under 10 Minutes. (Drum roll, please…)
Make them dress themselves. Tell them you are leaving in 10 minutes, and if they are not ready in time you will leave without them. Then, you actually have to leave without them.
Crap. Scratch that. If your kiddos are young you will get in trouble for leaving them in the house alone. Okay, maybe simply walk out the door at the 10-minute mark, hide around the side of the house and spook them when they frantically come out to see if you truly left without them.
You’re telling me that’s mean? Okay. Fine. Don’t do that either.
Okay, I’ve got some new (better) suggestions, and ones that are more realistic and kind. (Thank goodness.)
- Layout clothes ahead of time. Whether you pick out their clothes or they do, lay out all outfits for the next day the night before. This simply eliminates the frantic search for your child’s favorite pair of leggings.
- DON’T FORGET THE SOCKS. I don’t know why and I don’t know how but each and every time I lay out my kids’ clothes, I forget to lay out socks and then I can never find matching ones.
- Nothing needs to match. Be fine and even encourage your child to wear mismatched items when a match cannot be found (which is every day in my house).
- Time checks. Give your children time countdowns and embellish about how close they are to the deadline. Yes, it is totally fine to lie to your children when you are trying to get them out of the house on time.
- Don’t leave your house. Okay, that’s not really doable, but try to leave it less if you can. If you leave your house less, my thinking is that you and your children will likely both be bored and more inclined to put a little pep in your step when it is time to go somewhere.
- Don’t dress them. If you leave the house naked, things will move forward a lot faster, right? Oh, that’s not allowed? Okay, how about don’t stress how they get dressed. Your princess wants to be Elsa today? Great. Let it the freak go and let her do her. Your son doesn’t want to wear his rain coat? Let him get wet and learn for himself. The point is for each and every battle in which you choose not to fight, you are one step closer to the front door and leaving your home in a timely manner.
- Forget the freakin’ deadline. Because no matter how many of my suggestions (or suggestions from a real expert) you follow, you will rarely meet it. Drop the anxiety and the guilt.
Well, that’s all the advice I’ve got for you. Hope it helps, but it probably won’t. I’ll see you at the next event to which we are both invited. I’ll be there late and so will you and we can commiserate—or better yet, celebrate together in the fact that we are winning at parenting by not giving a hoot about ever trying to get out of the house in under 10 minutes.