How To Help Children Get Out-The-Door

Kids through door

You know the scenario… I had alerted the children that we were leaving in 10 minutes… 5 minutes… 2 minutes and that they needed to “get shoes, don’t forget sweatshirts, pack a toy for the trip.”  And… of course, we go to walk out the door and… there are no shoes on, everyone is in shirtsleeves and we have nothing for the trip in the car.

Why?! I ask again, does this always happen?!?  I am on an eternal journey to allow for the free expression of these little hearts, but I guarantee, their expression will be fully hindered walking on rocks without shoes or warm clothing without anything for those little hands to engage with.  Where is the balance?

In a stroke of divine genius an idea came to me… “What about a “Leaving” Jar.  A simple mason jar filled with scraps of paper with our tasks written upon them:

  • Put On Socks
  • Did you brush your teeth?
  • Put on Shoes
  • Check the Temperature outside
  • Do you have a coat?
  • Pick up your room
  • Get a Drink
  • Go Pee
  • Eat a Snack

Joy and laughter mixed with our affirmations that “now that you’re 7 you get to choose YOURSELF if you want to bring a sweatshirt or not!” and “WHAT?  Can a 4 year old put shoes on by himself???  NO!, Yes??  OK… into the jar it goes then.” And our list making party closed with a little origami folding as they each shaped their favorite tasks into fun shapes to throw into the jar.  Then everyone proceeded to decorate the little mason jar in jolly, personalized “Leaving” fare.  Everyone partied getting it ready for our next “getting ready” time.

And this afternoon, as I was preparing all of MY stuff to fly out the door, all i had to do was call out in my funnest, “can you believe we get to do this?” voice: “The Leaving Jar!  The Leaving Jar!!”  and watch the children run to the jar and fight over who got to “Grab” from it first. Once the chosen task was grabbed the race was on to get the it done so the next child could choose his.

Out the door we went.  Feet & bodies fully clothed and ready for our event.  Room tidied and bladders emptied.

Ahhhhhh…  Joyful children, joyful mama.

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