Monday, March 10, 2014

Planning ahead

"I didn't have time to..."  "I totally forgot..."  "I wish I brought..."  As parents, we have all said one (or all) of these things in the recent past!  If we take a few minutes to plan ahead, we can reduce a lot of stress.  Here are some simple tricks for the most common times when we often fail to plan ahead - outings and mornings.

Outings:  Ever been 45 minutes from home and had to turn around and go back because your toddler fell in a huge mud puddle and you didn't have a change of clothes?  Yeah.  Me too.
  • If your little ones are still in diapers, keep that diaper bag stocked with essentials:
    • diapers 
    • wipes
    • hand sanitizer
    • sustenance: snacks (for you and kids) and water
    • formula/breastmilk, bottle
    • plastic bag
    • sunscreen
    • change of clothes
    • anything else that you find you always need on an outing  
  • If you no longer use a diaper bag, hooray for you!  But, keep some essentials in a bag or in the car anyway.  This is what is always in my car on an outing:
    • wipes (still useful even if your kids are out of diapers!!)
    • hand sanitizer
    • chapstick
    • gum
    • change of clothes for the kids, including some socks and shoes
    • spare shirt for me
    • plastic bag
    • first aid kit
    • tissues
    • water bottles
    • small snack
Mornings:  Mornings are often the most stressful time of day for parents - you're trying to get to work AND get the kids off to daycare or school.  
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier if you can never seem to get out of the house on time.  
  • Do as much as possible the night before - take showers, pick out clothes, make lunches, pack backpacks and your briefcase.
  • Try creating a written schedule or checklist to make the morning routine expectations more explicit for your kids (see this post for an example we have used in the past).
  • Have some fast, portable breakfast foods on hand that can be eaten quickly (and even in the car if needed):
    • Cheerios or other cereal in a ziploc bag or toddler snack cup
    • granola bars
    • cereal bars
    • bananas, orange slices, other fruit
    • hard-boiled eggs
    • cheese sticks
    • yogurt tubes
    • smoothie drinks
Do you have other tricks for planning ahead?

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