3 Tips to Arrive On Time (or early) With Young Children

posted by Andrea | 11/2/2018

I am a very punctual person, much preferring to be 5-10 minutes early and just sit in my car, wait in the waiting room, or casually walk around until I’m needed. I’ve always been this way, even as a child, figuring out where I needed to be, when I needed to be there, and how long it would take me to get there so I’d arrive with plenty of time to relax, regroup, and be ready for the practice, game, rehearsal, event, meeting, or outing.

Nearly everyone in my life knows this about me, and I think half of them were secretively hoping the addition of small children would sabotage my abilities to continue arriving on time.

It was a learning curve, that’s for sure — but 7 years and 4 small children later, I can confidently say we still arrive on time (or early) almost everywhere we go! 

As I was talking with friends the other day, they mentioned that no matter what they do, there are always so many last-minute things that prevent them from arriving on-time…

  • someone can’t find their shoes
  • another broke a zipper on their coat
  • the diaper bag wasn’t restocked after their last outing
  • the baby poops as they are being buckled into their carseat
  • the car needs more gas
  • etc. etc.

This sparked an in-depth conversation about the things we do to help us get out the door and to our destination on time (often early) even with our children in tow.

My 3 tips really aren’t all that revolutionary — however, they are simple tactics we can all implement into our daily lives… and they work!

If you struggle to arrive on time (with or without children!) try my tips and see if they help! 

1. I have everything ready the night before.

I’m ALWAYS amazed how many things I need to prepare for our family before we go anywhere…

  • Is the diaper bag stocked and ready to go?
  • Do I have my wallet and keys?
  • Are the backpacks, lunches, snacks and/or water bottles ready to go?
  • Is the stroller loaded up in the van?
  • Do we need any other “tools” for our trips — shopping bags, toys, bikes, blankets, umbrella, adverse weather clothing?
  • What supplies do we need for our activities — library books to return, bank deposit slips, food to bring to someone, items to return to a store, cooler if we’ll be gone for longer periods of time, paperwork or laptop for various meetings, etc. etc.
  • Do I know where I’m going? Do I need to send directions to my phone?
  • Do I have my to-do list, shopping list, etc. ready to go?
  • Do I know the plan for breakfast and have the foods ready to go?
  • Are clothes and accessories set out for the day?

If these items aren’t ready to go the night before, chances are very high we will be rushed and frazzled in the morning — and I’ll probably end up repeating myself over and over and over again, telling the kids to “hurry up” so we aren’t late.

Definitely NOT my idea of a happy morning!

2. I mentally DOUBLE the time I think it will take to get to our destination… and then add 10 minutes to get out the door.

If we’re driving somewhere 10 minutes away and need to be there by 9:00, I will LEAVE THE HOUSE by 8:40 so I have a full 20 minutes to get there.

When we drop Simon off for preschool at 8:15 (roughly 3-5 minutes away) we always LEAVE THE HOUSE by 8:05 (or earlier) so we have a full 10 minutes in case we hit all the lights red and have to stop for a train. We’re usually one of the first ones in the parking lot, but then we just sit and talk or I check my emails while the kids watch a show.

Also, note that I said, “we LEAVE THE HOUSE” with double the time — not “we start getting ready to leave”.

This is a huge difference! 

When we bring Simon to school, we LEAVE the house (we are literally driving down the driveway) by 8:05. This means we’re all in the mudroom 10 minutes before that, getting our shoes and coats on, grabbing backpacks and water bottles, etc.

This step will definitely take some getting used to if you are perpetually late for everything, but I think it’s one of the biggest reasons I’m able to arrive on time with my small tribe of children.

After you double your expected travel time, go ahead and add 10 minutes to that time… and THAT is the time you should be loading up the car, getting shoes and coats on, etc. etc.

3. I load the kids up and go back inside for a once-over check.

This is something I never really considered to be a “tip” until my aforementioned conversation with friends a couple weeks ago.

I explained how I load the kids into the van and then go back inside to make sure we didn’t forget anything and that I’m completely ready (and joked that I sometimes just want to stay inside alone!) They thought this was an ingenious idea and have already tried implementing it into their own daily routines.

Basically, I load all the kids into their carseats, turn the car on using my remote starter (with the garage door open!), get the heat or AC running, turn music or a show on, and then run back inside to make sure I have everything ready to go.

  • I check to make sure all the lights are off and the doors are locked.
  • I turn the heat down so it’s not running while we’re gone.
  • I do a once-over of the main floor (anything I can quickly pick up or put away??)
  • I go to the bathroom and finish anything I need to do to get ready.
  • I make sure we have everything we need

That whole process takes 5-10 minutes, depending on the day and how long we’ll be gone, and the kids think it’s crazy fun to be in the car without mom or dad.

They can’t go anywhere because they are buckled in and I have the keys with me, but they can’t bother me or distract me while I’m trying to get us all out the door on time.

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I realize some of you may be reading this and wondering why on earth I put so much “pressure” on myself to arrive on time with young children. Don’t worry, I get it, I’m probably a little strange. However, being late (especially without any notice or appropriate excuse) is one of my BIGGEST PET PEEVES EVER!

I personally feel like my time is disrespected and taken for granted when others arrive late or simply don’t show up at all. I guess I might personalize the issue too much — but I just don’t want to be the woman who takes someone else’s time for granted or assumes they have nothing better to do than wait for me and my children.

I chose to bring these 4 children into the world, I choose to do various activities with my 4 children, I know when those activities and events start, and it’s my responsibility to get my 4 children to the activities and events on time. 

I really don’t feel “pressured” to arrive on time – but I DO think it’s my responsibility as an adult member of society to model punctual behavior for my children and teach them to respect others’ time.

We are not an exception to the rules of society simply because 4 of us are under 4 feet tall, nor do we have a built-in excuse for arriving late, simply because there are more of us.

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Of course, there are always unavoidable situations (often caused by young children) that thwart even the best efforts to arrive on time — I do have empathy for these situations, but I also expect them to be exceptions… not the norm.

If we are ever late, I will take every measure necessary to assure the waiting parties know what’s happening.

  • I will text them immediately and let them know we are running a little late
  • I will text again as we’re pulling out of the driveway with our estimated arrival time
  • I will prep my children for the fact that we will need to rush more than normal when we get to the event
  • I will own the fact that I most likely didn’t plan enough time for us to get ready, get out the door, and get to our destination on-time
  • I will apologize (without excessive detail) and thank the waiting parties for accommodating our tardiness

There are lots of things I don’t do well with 4 children (like travel, the mall, or any sort of restaurant) but getting out the door and arriving to our destination on-time (often even early) is one thing I can do!

What are your tips to arrive on-time with young children?

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Filed under: LifeFamilyParentingChildrenDaily LifeTime Management

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57 comments

  1. Carrie

    11/17/2018

    This is a great post! I hate being late and I always prep my car, purse, my daughter’s lunch, etc, the evening before.

    I’m commenting though, because so many people say their kids make them late and I have the opposite thing going on at my house, My 12 year old daughter really dislikes being late and unprepared. She’s been this way since she was young enough to tell time.
    Now that she is older and in middle school, she has me take her to school to find her locker and her classes before the new school year starts. Then we go back again right before school starts so she can do a timed trial run (her idea, not mine). She wants to see how much time she has to make it to her locker and each class, then she decides which times she will skip going to her locker and just carry the extra books. She even adds in extra time to allow for the crowded hallways that are, of course, empty during the trial run. In the mornings when I drop her off, she prefers to get there 5 minutes or so before she can go in the building, and wait in the car with me until it’s time.

    I appreciate the fact that she wants to be prepared and on time. In fact, even though I’m not usually late, I find her nagging me to get out the door on time or asking if I have such and such item that I need. She’ll be a good mom someday…lol.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s amazing thinking and processing skills for a 12 year old!
    Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  2. Stephanie

    11/05/2018

    I understand the “disrespectful obnoxious” feeling people get when others are late….,but from personal experience, when a person is really trying to change, and trying to make differences in their way of doing things, it hurts a lot when we are told that. I don’t disrespect anyone’s time or the person if I am late. I am just terrible at organizing my time and getting out of the house.
    Actually having been told that some people (many) think this way, I for a time even started turning down invitations because I knew I wouldn’t make it on time and would end up bawling in the car when I realized I was late yet again. No matter what I tried I couldn’t seem to change. I even asked punctual people and they couldn’t explain what they do.
    It was a hard season in my life, and I was sick of being the “mean disrespectful uncaring and unloving person.”
    There is no excuse for lateness, I will agree with that.

    Thankfully, your info hear actually is the first time I have ever read online what truly helps. For me it is the 10 minutes of getting into the car. If I start getting us out the door and making sure everything is accounted for 20 minutes before we have to leave, I will be on time. This literally took me years of trial and error to figure out. Even though I had asked multiple punctual people what to do, no one ever suggested this.
    Thankfully I had a good friend encourage me and pray with me about it. She told me holding onto the guilt wasn’t going to help me move forward, I needed to let go of the guilt and take small steps everyday to make it better.
    Every now and then my time management is bad and I am a few minutes late for things, but on a consistent basis I am now on time.
    But while I was in that struggle I felt like I was the most terrible person on the planet because of others thinking I was purposely being disrespectful of their time and life. I also tired of apologizing over and over again, it felt empty when I knew they were thinking I was just a disprespectful person.

    On the flip side, I don’t like it when someone shows up 5-10 minutes early to my house either. (And they don’t sit in the car for that time either.)
    I am usually finishing up a few small things (like changing my clothes). Why is that not considered disrespectful?

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    I agree with this. I hate sitting around early for some activity because all I can think about it the million things I should be accomplishing instead. So, of course, I am usually JUST on time and often a bit late, though typically just a minute or two.

    I have never understood why THIS foible is considered to be so much worse than others. Everyone has their things to work on and one person’s lateness is another person’s forgetfulness (or fill in the blank). I agree with you on the early arrivals at homes, though. I had someone show up two HOURS early once. Yowza!

    I also appreciate your concrete suggestions, Andrea. I have been working hard on reminding myself to include loading, parking, and walking-in time to my calculations. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    I would also like to add that moving further away from everything has really helped my time management. We live about 20 minutes from most places we have to go, but somehow I managed to tell my brain that we’re about 30 minutes away, so I am much more timely these days! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well that’s one perk of living far away from everything I suppose! Way to look on the positive side of things 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good point Becky — I definitely don’t like wasting time waiting for something to start either. I always bring something with me to do — a book to read on my phone, a phone call to make, and email to send, etc. etc. so I can use the time I’m waiting if I arrive early.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh this comment makes me sad Stephanie!
    good for you for putting so much effort into being more punctual — I really never thought it could be this difficult to be one time (thanks for sharing so much detail)! I’m happy you have been able to make progress in this area though… and I’m thrilled that some of my tips have been helpful!

    On the flip side, I WOULD agree with you that arriving 5-10 minutes early for certain events and activities is also somewhat disrespectful. I like to be early if we are going to a Dr. appointment, to a program at the library or at church, or to any other event that it doesn’t matter if we show up early.

    However, if I’m going to someone’s house and I get there 10 minutes earlier than I said, I’ll just drive around the block again or park down the street and wait a few minutes before pulling in their driveway. I actually have a few friends who are always running late, so I make a point of waiting to pull into their driveway until at least 3-5 minutes after I say I will come — just to give them a few extra minutes to finish up whatever they were doing! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Carrie Reply:

    Stephanie, I agree! My in-laws show up 30 minutes before they’re supposed to and it drives me mad! Five minutes early, not so bad, but 30!?

    [Reply]

  3. Julia

    11/04/2018

    I guess I’m in the minority here. I do try to be on time because of how it is perceived, but really hate our cultural value of time. The idea that I don’t value or respect you because I’m five minutes late just seems so absurd! I’d probably do well in an event based culture, because it makes much more sense to me to move from event to event at a natural pace rather than interrupting one activity to move onto the next. As long as there are meals at regular intervals I am good!

    That being said, I have a funny “being late” story. It just so happens that the room we use as a nursery locks from the outside. At the time I had a two year old and an infant, and we were getting ready to go to Bible study. I was changing Baby’s diaper, and the next thing I knew my two-year-old was telling me that she had locked the door with us inside. No problem, I thought, I have a diaper pin and can unlock it. But the doorknob didn’t work that way, and there was no hole to poke! I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to open that door. I even tried to take it off the hinges, but couldn’t without tools. It was a cold winter day, and none of the neighbors were outside to hear my calls through the window. Finally, I tied two crib sheets together and lowered myself fire-safety style out of the window on to the front porch, which was about 10 feet down. Fortunately I landed safely and we were soon on our way, but I was 15 minutes late to Bible study that day, and very glad to have made it at all!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    OK, THAT is a funny story! Yikes, I can’t believe you lowered yourself out the window and were still only 15 minutes late!

    And to be fair, if someone is 5 minutes late ONE time, I would have absolutely no issue with that.
    It’s when they are 15, 20, or 30 minutes late ALLLLLLLLL the time, and act like it’s no big deal that you’ve been waiting for them (yet again) with 4 antsy kids and cold food because they can’t get their act together. That is VERY disrespectful and rude — I think almost anyone would agree on that point.

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  4. JJ

    11/03/2018

    We do the same things! It all started because my husband and I had different ideas about what leaving at such and such a time meant. If we said 8:30am for church, then I was thinking that meant we would be strolling out the door. He was thinking we would have our tires off the driveway at that time. So while watching a TV show(see, they are helpful! Haha!), one of the lead characters talked about something to the effect of BIS time. Butt In Seat time. We changed it to Bottoms in Seat, since our Littles love all talk about butts, poops, etc. So to keep the focus, my husband and I both know that our bottoms need to be in our car seats at that time. In the show, the man left his wife in the house and drove off because she didn’t have her butt in the seat. Haha!

    My grandma raised 8 children, and she was the most organized woman!!! She lived this out, so it helped me a lot! But the BIS really helped bridge that gap. Ha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    LOVE this!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    [Reply]

  5. Sarah Gardner

    11/03/2018

    I just love your blog, Andrea! Love these practical tips for me and my family of six, too.
    One question…if it takes you 30 minutes to get somewhere do you then leave 1 hour before the appointment/meeting/etc?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ok… I guess I should have clarified more in the post 🙂
    We actually don’t go THAT many long distances, so almost all our car trips are 15 minutes or less (and yes, I do give myself 30 minutes in those situations). However, if it were an hour away, I probably would not leave 2 hours early — maybe more like an hour an 20 minutes or an hour and 30 minutes.
    If I know there will be lots of traffic (during rush hour) I might leave a little earlier — it’s all just how the day is going, what I think we’ll need, where we are going, etc. etc.
    Hopefully that makes sense and doesn’t cause more questions!!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Gardner Reply:

    Thank you! And yes, it does make sense. This helps me a ton. I’m using this ‘getting places on time’ method today!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ok good! Glad to “help” — sort of!

    [Reply]

  6. Jenny

    11/03/2018

    These days, it’s just me to get ready, which can be challenging enough! One other thing I do is set the alarm on my phone and/or my stove timer to keep myself on track. Depending on what I am doing, I might set an hour before, 10 min, 15 min, 5 min, etc.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we use our stove timer SO many times a day. it’s right by the back door and mudroom so it works well for leaving on time too!

    [Reply]

  7. Sarah Clews

    11/02/2018

    I really enjoyed this post and I already do a lot of these things. I think you have a good point about doubling the amount of time it takes to get there. Now…I don’t like getting places 10 minutes early. I find that’s 10 extra minutes I have to fuss with my kids, hear whining, whatever. But…what I hate more is feeling rushed (and it’s when I’m likely to make driving mistakes too).

    Ever since we moved into our first house in the spring, it’s been a lot easier because I can preload the kids like you do. I get them buckled in, then go look and grab the last few things I need without them undoing all my work. I think one of the reasons people are late with kids is because kids always get upset about something before you leave…or have to poop. Also, sometimes I’ll get them buckled in and then stand outside the car for a few minutes and just take a breather for myself!

    For myself, I also find it’s helpful to always have backup things I need in the car..which right now is 3 sets of backup clothes for the potty training toddler, mini potty, and a wet bag. So I do take that time right after a trip to reset my car and that is huge for me. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to leave and remembering the car has a bag of wet clothes in it, random snacks you didn’t clean up, and a bunch of stuff getting in the way.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I used to keep TONS of back-up stuff in the car. Now that the kids are older, I don’t as much, but still a few things (like underwear and diapers!)

    [Reply]

  8. Heather

    11/02/2018

    Growing up I was hopeless at being anywhere on time, it was a standing joke with my housemates at university. I am much better since meeting my husband as he is better, but actually I am way better now I have a child! My son HATES being rushed so I make sure to allow at least 10 minutes extra time for leaving the house, although I probably don’t always double the travel time. I’m also trying to pack bags the night before, but I don’t always manage this.
    However I could never put him in the car and then spend 5-10 minutes in the house – he would have a total meltdown! He’s always hated the car, if I’m lucky I can pop back for a minute to pick up a bag and lock the door, but only if he’s in a good mood!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good for you for getting MORE punctual after kids!
    also, I would have NEVER left Nora in the car for even 1 minute — it would have been a disaster! However, when there are 4 of them and they can entertain eachother, it works really well!

    [Reply]

    Alissa Reply:

    Ahhh – that makes me feel better! I think my kid could handle a minute or two in the car by himself, but maybe that is only because I can’t hear his screams when I am inside.

    Maybe this goes without saying, but along the lines of #1 – make sure your vehicle has enough gas. I got in my the car my husband typically drives the other day and I was so frustrated when there was barely any gas in it! The weather was yucky and I had to stand out in it to pump gas (while humming Let It Go to myself – ha!)

    Andrea – do you have snacks that you keep in the car for emergencies? My son is 18 months old and I usually bring snacks along for him but I wondered if you had any snacks that you leave in the car (regardless of temperature etc.)? I have back up diapers, wipes, and change of clothes, but the other day I thought about tossing some sort of snack in.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you are not alone!
    Also, we currently do not keep snacks in the car — but the kids always know to grab their water bottles on the way out the door. If we are going on a longer trip, we bring our own snacks — but I’m trying to get away from constant snacks all day long (now that my kids are older). With younger kids like yours, fed is best — so just keep shoving those snacks in! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    I used to keep a plastic container with a sleeve of graham crackers in my car. Not terribly expensive, not the worst nutritional value, a little hit of protein and carbs to bolster them. One or two crackers and they were good to go!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good idea! My only “issue” with this is that Graham crackers are SOOOOOOOO crumbly. Do you have a mess in your car all the time? Or are your kids much neater eaters than mine? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Alissa Reply:

    I guess I should say that we live in a small town and I don’t give my kid snacks if we just run somewhere in town, but we drive 45 minutes to a bigger town (that has Target, Costco etc.) probably once a week. Samuel is not the best car rider, so I depend on snacks to have 5 minutes of SILENCE during the car ride. His car seat is a mess of crumbs at the moment, but it is worth it. I may throw some pouches of applesauce or individual bags of pretzels in the car and see how they fair over a week or two. I was really hoping that Andrea Dekker had some magical “clean, it doesn’t matter if it freezes, stays fresh forever” (i.e. perfect) car snack 🙂

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Oh, it was messy! 🙂 I just didn’t care and cleaned it up when I got to it. It was totally worth it for me.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — ok! You’re better than me. I hate crumbly stuff in the car! 🙂

  9. Meghan

    11/02/2018

    I don’t! I tend to be on the dot on time or 2-3 minutes late. I always find one more thing to do in the house (finish laundry, load dishwasher, etc) before I go out the door. Also, even though I’ve been a mom for 11 years, it is still shocking to me that it takes children 10 minutes to get shoes on and get in the car and buckled!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I don’t know all the details, but it’s a proven fact that our brains are wired so differently, so even though you might truly KNOW it takes them 10 minutes to get shoes on and in the car, you sort of deny that fact every time you’re headed out the door — like, “this time will be different, they will be faster”.
    Maybe you an optimist!

    [Reply]

    Meghan Reply:

    Oh yes, that’s me!
    I also have no natural sense of time. Basically however long I think something takes, I need to double that. Lol

    [Reply]

  10. Ronnie

    11/02/2018

    Great read, as always! One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are perpetually late to events. I busted my buns to get my home ready, food prepared, etc. by the time I asked you to be here, but you can’t show up on time? Drives me nuts! That being said, I am almost always on time, but my house may look like a tornado went through as we walk out the door. I know that arriving on time is important and the mess will still be there when we get home. This makes returning home less than fun, knowing what’s waiting for me, but makes me less annoying to those I’m meeting. I will definitely be trying to implement your suggestions this holiday season!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, perpetually late is SO obnoxious!

    [Reply]

  11. S

    11/02/2018

    You have to know how long things take and have the goal transition times in your head. For instance when to be in the shower, start breakfast, finish breakfast, etc. If things get off track I can constantly adjust such as hurry in the shower or have the kids start breakfast without me. I use a lot of timers or music (certain songs we like are five minutes long).

    This was not natural to me when we had to start going to school, so I actually made a spreadsheet and recorded times for each activity. The times that I naturally started things and the order was all over the place, but how long each item took was pretty consistent. So then I worked backwards and made a schedule with times. We walk, but I also added in buffer time like Andrea said. Then we actually practiced before school started.

    Now the goal times are in my head. It is predictable that we will be rushed if we don’t start breakfast at the scheduled time. Also this way gets rid of the wishful thinking or unrealistic schedule that I used to do. Eating takes how long it takes, which I have measured. It doesn’t matter if I think it should be faster.

    I don’t think Andrea would have had to go through this on paper because it comes more naturally to her, but I think it’s consistent with how she thinks in terms of planning, and I don’t think I would have done it if not for reading this blog.

    For me the most helpful thing about this blog is that it is realistic and it shows compromises in action. If she wants to be on time, she can’t do nothing after dinner, etc. As a disorganized person, I always thought this stuff magically worked out for people like her, but she shows she still is actually working very hard (even though it is more natural to her), which is encouraging to me.

    Also agree with prepping eveything possible the night before and making a checklist including special things like an umbrella, which you can just ignore if it’s not raining

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you so much for this comment — and yes, it DOES come more naturally to me, but I also DO need to continually work at things in order to stay on top of the clutter and be punctual.

    I love how detailed you were in regards to how you were able to teach yourself to be more organized and more punctual — I have a feeling your comment will help many readers! Thanks again!

    [Reply]

    Meghan Reply:

    “Eating takes how long it takes, which I have measured. It doesn’t matter if I think it should be faster.” Yes! On sports nights I need to have the kids start eating 45 minutes before we have to leave. This is CRAZY to me but it’s true.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, our kids eat SO SLOW too! I guess that’s probably better for their digestion 🙂

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    Karla Reply:

    THAT is the key! Organization does not magically happen. I am no Andrea Dekker, but I am more organized than many of my friends. Not long ago, a friend happened to drop by on a weeknight. She sat and visited as I bustled around making lunches, filling water bottles, setting out clothes, putting bags by the door, prepping supper for the next day etc. etc. (My “next day routine” usually takes about an hour every evening.) She was quite stunned by everything I was doing. She never realized that the reason I am able to stay fairly organized was because I work hard every day at it. And time has to be set aside for these things. I can’t schedule every evening and every minute of the weekend with volunteering and social events. Otherwise, our lives would be chaotic in no time. Anyways, it was an interesting conversation.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is such an interesting point Karla — thanks for commenting!
    I would say that my “next day routine” probably takes about an hour too — spread out over the coarse of the time we finish dinner until Dave and I go to bed.
    I pack lunches, refill water bottles, make sure backpacks and diaper bags are ready to go, look over any “homework”, have everyone pick out their clothes, run and clean out the dishwasher, and get things ready for breakfast and dinner the next day.
    It’s SOOOOOO worth the time though. That one hour at night saves me many hours the next day (and a bunch of stress!)

    [Reply]

  12. Avia

    11/02/2018

    I’m just like you – I hate being late to anything. Growing up my mom was late to everything and my husband is also always late to everything. I pretty much do all the three things you do to be on time. I need to be at work at 7:30 in the morning and I know that I need to be leaving our house at 7 – even though it’s only a 10 minute drive, with a quick stop to drop off my daughter at daycare. My husband still can’t understand why I leave “so early” but I am actually rarely early to work. I have to run back in the house for something, I spend an extra 10 minutes talking to the baby sitter, my daughter wants an extra 10 hugs before I leave etc, etc. I heard the other day that there is a certain personality type (which I assume my husband is) that expects everything to go according to the best case scenario. So if they were able to make it to work in 15 minutes one time, they will always plan that that’s all it will take are surprised every time it takes longer.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, I’m “lucky” that Dave is very punctual as well!
    And yes, I’ve heard the same thing about that personality type — maybe they are just eternal optimists 🙂

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    Becky Reply:

    Yes! That’s absolutely true. I was shocked recently when my phone started automatically telling me every morning that it would take 14 minutes to get to work, when I absolutely KNOW it only takes 12 (on a good day)!

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  13. wilma

    11/02/2018

    I concur! I tell my kids that when we are late, we are saying that our time is more important than theirs.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh I love this — I’m totally using it the next time my kids take forever to get out the door! 🙂

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  14. Ashley Tubbs

    11/02/2018

    Yes! The biggest thing for me is to have everything ready the night before–and IN THE CAR. It’s amazing how having to haul those extra things to the car as we’re walking out the door takes extra time! Of course there are often last-minute things (i.e. cold items) that can’t go in the night before, but it helps me to make sure I have everything if it’s all ready to go!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, having the car loaded and ready to go is essential if we’re leaving the house early. In the winter, I sometimes put cold items in the car too!

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  15. Patsy

    11/02/2018

    Good advice as usual, Andrea. It’s applicable at any stage of life.

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  16. Margaret

    11/02/2018

    As a new reader who’s been reading through your archives–and finding a lot of good stuff–I am struck repeated parallels between your life with children and mine with my dogs–no disrespect intended:). I have always been compulsively early my whole life, but it’s taken me much longer to develop systems to arrive early now. At the very least, I have to allow time for a backyard trip, fresh water in the crate buckets, and a biscuit apiece. One of my dogs has severe separation anxiety, which sometimes requires medication with a lead time. If I’m leaving at a time that’s not part of my regular routine there’s prepping food puzzle toys and stuffing Kongs. And if they’re coming with, for a class or training session, I have to load the gear–and I’ve put a LOT of time and effort into storing the gear where it can be accessed easily but is stored out of the way on my mudporch, since I don’t have a garage.
    I guess what I’m trying to say here (in case you were wondering) is that these are great principles which are flexible enough to work for a different kind of life. No, the dogs are not watching a show in the car while I finish up inside, but if I think through what I need for each outing, and have everything prepped and ready we’ll get where we need to be on time and with the treats, clickers, platforms, and jumps.
    And when I add a Leader Dog puppy back into the mix, the needed for prep increases by a factor of 10. The one time I go out without my “puppy diaper bag” will be the time that a puppy has an “accident” at Meijers”. Yes, that’s happened.

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    Ditto to the above!! I don’t have kids, but I have two animals to care for before I leave the house and do all the same things as you. And yes, I’ve also taken a foster puppy for Paws with a Cause to a store who treated me to a “gift” in the main aisle… luckily I had my cleaning supplies in my purse!! Even if you have the tools handy, it’s a reminder that you never want to never be unprepared!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Margaret — and welcome to my blog!
    Also, I do have to admit that I laughed out loud when I read your comparison of my children to your dogs! HAHA!
    But, as I continued reading, it really does make a lot of sense — and kids/dogs are very similar in so many ways!

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  17. Anna

    11/02/2018

    I agree preparing, extra time and double checking are 3 great steps.

    I also do a to do list before I start preparing for events or long trips to make sure I pack everything.

    I try to pack most of the stuff in the car the night before or leave everything by the door for a quick and easy packing the day of.

    We always do a bathroom break as the last step before getting in the car.

    For our daily school morning I have a check list to make sure we have the normal items such as backpack, my son’s glasses, take their allergy medicine and special items like Wed. Is library day and Friday is dress up day. Since my oldest can read now he helps make sure my youngest has all her items as well.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Great tips — thanks for sharing!
    We do similar things when on longer driving trips — the things in today’s posts are more for everyday errands and appointments. All good information though!

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    Anna Reply:

    Actually I do these the three things with everyday errands and appointments. Mostly cause I hate bathroom stops after I leave the house and having to turn back. And putting their bags in the car for doctor’s appointments and things is important as our drive to the doctors office is 45 minute to an hour away. Most things out of the house unfortunately for us is a drive. So getting ready and making sure I don’t have to turn back is essential to getting to family parties, doctor’s appointments and school is even more important as its not a 5 or 10 minute drive back to the house. And if I have to do things in town I can get those done too all in one shot! LOL

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ah yes — sounds like Dave’s family growing up! THey lived an hour from everything. We usually don’t venture more than 5-10 minutes away 🙂

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  18. Kim

    11/02/2018

    As someone else who likes to be punctual, I totally agree with you on feeling disrespected when others are late. I can handle 5-10 minutes late, but it seems like late people are repeatedly 30-60 minutes late. Sometimes life happens, but every time?

    These are good tips!

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