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Three kids under four; Getting out the door on time

Being on time anywhere is hard with three kids when they are little, and it’s even harder if you have always been a late person!  It’s something that my husband and I are really working on, and we know it’s a life habit. Even though I’m usually late to things like park dates, I’m punctual if I have to be. Here are little things that help me get out of the door on time with three kids under age 4!

My secrets to getting out the door on time with three kids under four. Photo of a mom with three kids in a shopping cart next to a brick wall.

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How to be on time with three kids under four

I try to get myself ready first

Maybe I’m crazy but if I skip this part and only get the kids ready first, then I feel kind of haggard leaving the house.  Or I just run out of time.  But if I’m ready first, I’m less anxious about leaving 😉 “Ready” for me, means dressed, face washed, make up on (or hair done, lately one or the other lol), and food in my stomach.  I easily forget the food part and then turn hangry (angry caused by being hungry).

I have a couple of go-to outfits I grab all the time.  I’m working on picking out an outfit the night before, or just having clean clothes haha, because if not my default setting is to wear what I wore the day before…please tell me I’m not the only one!

Mom of three kids reaching into her Laguna Tide diaper backpack while wearing a black nursing top.

Related Post:  What to do when you are so so tired as a mom.

I start the process of leaving an hour before we need to be out the door

Ya that sounds embarrassing but its SO true. Unless we are just ok throwing ragamuffin kids in the car for a quick trip to the Hardware store or something. I get ready in 15 min, then take about 45 minutes for all three kids…and that’s with Peter’s help.  So ya, more like an hour for the kids if I have to dress them and do their hair all by myself. Things that have to get done:

  • Get kids dressed/pick out their clothes
  • Put their shoes on (my two year old can dress herself and put her shoes on but my 3.5 year old son is not quite there)
  • Do my daughter’s hair
  • Pack snacks
  • Double check diaper bag
  • Nurse
  • Plan on baby pooping just as we are leaving, it’s that predictable
  • Get myself dressed and some make up on and throw hair in a bun
  • Feed myself and fill my water bottle

Related Post: One family one income 5 people: How I can stay at home.

Make time for last minute things.

I just try to be ready 15 minutes before take off, because I always use that time.  It’s like my baby waits till my key is in the lock and then, yep, a blow out!If I need to leave my house by 10:15 I’ll plan to be ready by 10:00, which ends up being 10:15 in real life. If I don’t use the time, then lucky me I can be early! It totally reduces my stress of leaving.

Plan 5-10 minutes for buckling kids in carseats

This is crucial! One reason moms with three kids think getting out of the house with “just the baby” is so easy is because you don’t have to buckle three kids into their seats (and unbuckle, so 6 times per place you go).

Kids have no sense of time or being in a hurry like we do, they really can’t be rushed! I’ve been so stressed telling them to get their shoes faster and then telling them to hop in the car quickly multiple times, and it just doesn’t work. They go the speed they go.

Time saving tricks to make leaving the house easier

  • Pick clothes out the night before.
  • Diaper bag reloaded with diapers and wipes.  I’m loving this one right now!
  • Sippy cups and bottles washed out. I really dislike running around the house like a crazy person hunting for them and finding spoiled milk inside when I’m running late! We use Lifefactory glass bottles which are my ultimate favorite.
  • Pack a snack you can give them once they are buckled, or once you arrive. A little motivation goes a long way.

How has leaving the house changed from one to three kids?

  • With one baby, I started getting the baby ready about 15 minutes before leaving.  Whether it was a quick nurse or just gathering baby gear I knew it would take me that long.
  • Two under two, I upped my game to 30 minutes at least.
  • Three kids under four, I try to start getting myself and the kids ready an hour before.

That sounds nuts just saying it! But, hey, none of them completely dress themselves yet or buckle their own car seats so it truly is needed, especially if I want them to look nice and if I want to be prepared with snacks when we are out!

Plus, I am slow moving and hate feeling rushed.  I start getting them dressed, hair done, shoes on, snacks packed, ect.  And somehow that still feels rushed…how?! I’m hoping as they get older they can help a little bit more.

Related Post: How to do preschool at home, a practical guide.

Baby carrying helps with stress

The hardest thing about leaving for me is getting things packed and helping a toddler while holding a baby in one arm.  Ideally I’d try and do a lot of this while the baby is sleeping but that’s not always the case.

Baby carrying really helps because it frees up my arms, and the alternative is running around getting everything done while the baby cries…STRESSFUL. I do have to be careful about bending over with 20 lbs on my front though.  Plus, there’s the new struggle of trying to see what you are doing when there’s a pack in front of you.

I use my Ergo the most.

What things make leaving the house a beast for you? Leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram here!

Getting out the door on time with three kids