Life with toddlers: How to leave the house (in 21 hilarious steps)

mum walking outdoors with toddler

Life moves pretty fast, especially when you’re chasing a toddler around the house. Most of the time we can all use a pause button to slow down and take a breather.

But on those days when you need to move quickly, you may find that your darlings turn into side-tracked, sock-losing slow-pokes. Why is this? Because kidlets, especially toddlers, have an uncanny ability to take FOREVER to get ready when you are already running behind schedule.

Don’t worry – we have been there, done that, and arrived late because our children couldn’t find pants. And we have a solution to this common parenting problem (well, sort of). Behold our tongue-in-cheek guide to getting your toddler out of the house in 21 easy-to-follow steps.

Header ribbon: Step by Step


STEP 1. 
Make a plan the night before for your early morning outing

Count down how long it will take to drive to the appointment, to prepare snacks and to get everyone ready.

Triple this amount of time and set the alarm.

STEP 2. Get up at 3am and start getting ready 

Best to put your makeup on in the wee hours of the morning (when no one is standing behind you suggesting in that super sweet voice, “Me do it”). A quick brush of the teeth in the morning, and you’re good to go!

STEP 3. Wake up two hours later with a child’s foot in your face

Hellooo 5am. Attempt to cuddle your early riser back to sleep. Give up when you discover the patch of wee in your bed.

Sleep-ins are overrated anyway.

STEP 4. Start the morning routine

First you drink the coffee. Then you do the things. This may include (but is not limited to) making the beds, removing the stained sheets, putting a load of washing on, taking toddler to the toilet, watching toddler sit on the toilet for ten minutes humming, singing with toddler, removing toddler from toilet, cleaning up wee from the floor RIGHT BESIDE the toilet, making more coffee).

STEP 5. Prepare breakfast

Wait for your toddler to inform you that you have cut the toast wrong. Make a second breakfast. Eat the first batch of toast before your fussy eater feeds it to the dog.

STEP 6. Clean up from breakfast

Listen to your toddler announce he is hungry exactly seven seconds after you put away the final dish. Brush toddler’s teeth and make a third breakfast.

STEP 7. Put various quiet activities out to keep your tiny human entertained

Find them playing with your tampons instead.

STEP 8. Prepare snacks for the trip 

Because leaving the house without packing a picnic every time is no longer an option.

STEP 9. Notice your wee one is suspiciously quiet 

Find your cheeky cherub in the closet, removing EVERY SINGLE ITEM OF CLOTHING from the drawers. Thank the parenting gods that it’s just clothing, not nappy cream. Or butter.

STEP 10. Argue with your toddler about why it’s not a good idea to wear a bathing suit out of the house 

Reason #1 – We are not going swimming.
Reason #2 – We are going to the shops.
Reason #3 – It’s winter.

Suggest a pair of pants and a T-shirt.

STEP 11. Admit defeat and let your child wear his togs

Tog-wearing toddler: 1. Mum: 0. Because you’re already running behind schedule. Suggest your toddler at least put on a hat. And a jumper.

STEP 12. Hurry toddler out of the house and into the car

Try to ignore the fact that your stubborn sweetheart has paired bathers with a pair of socks, slippers and a cape.

Add extra clothing to the nappy bag.

STEP 13. Put toddler in the car seat

Grab coffee mug, nappy bag, keys and sunnies. You are ready to go … and only slightly late! Host a mini celebration in your head.

STEP 14.  Remove toddler from car 

Because Captain Bad Timing has to poo. Cancel the mini-celebration in your mind.

STEP 15. Watch toddler sit on toilet seat for 15 minutes

Give up and return child to the car. Put a sheet on the car seat, just in case.

STEP 16.  Remove toddler from car – again

Toddler forgot a toy. And it’s impossible to go to the shops without a toy.

STEP 17. Watch toddler search for a specific baby toy that hasn’t been played with in months

And which happens to live in the secondhand shop now. Convince toddler to take a different toy. Repeat Step 13.

STEP 18. Remove toddler from car – yet again

Because they are missing a sock. And the carefully-selected bathing suit/cape costume isn’t complete without both socks. Find sock and repeat Step 13.

STEP 19. Drive to destination

Pull over three times to pick up the toy that has been thrown on the floor.

Contemplate doing the shopping online from now on.

STEP 20. Arrive at destination

Silently curse the skies that the pram parking spots are all taken up … again. 

STEP 21. Look in the back seat and discover toddler has fallen asleep

Ponder the age old dilemma – Do you wake your toddler up and risk a grumpy gremlin? Or do you savour the silence and enjoy your coffee from the front seat of your car?

Opt for the latter. Errands and groceries can wait. Lukewarm coffee and a tired toddler most certainly cannot.

Have a look at our tried and tested tips on surviving toddler tantrums (for when your daytime dreamer does decide to wake).