8 tips for getting out the door with a toddler

Mother with toddler

Leaving the house on time, without tears, with a toddler in tow can certainly be a challenge. Thankfully, Mumsnetters are on hand with some sage advice for ensuring you – and your toddler – get out the door in one piece. No bribes of ice-cream with lunch or extra episodes of Peppa Pig required.

1. Always be prepared

Woman packing bag

“Get as much ready as you possibly can the night before: bags packed, clothes laid out, breakfast things out. Make sure everything is left by the front door – or ideally, in the car already – so there’s no chance of forgetting anything and having to go home again.”

2. Give yourself contingency time

“If, say, you have to leave the house at 8am, try to be always ready by 7.50am. If you are, good. If not, you have the 10 minutes for any last-minute things that can and probably do go wrong, such as lost items, last-minute visits to loo etc.”

3. Convenience > luxury

Making pancakes gif

“Keep breakfast as quick and mess-free as possible. Experience has taught me that toast and fruit are quicker and cleaner than cereal. Save porridge and pancakes for the slow, calm mornings you can take your time with.”

4. Delay your day

Sleeping toddler

“You don't need to go to 9am toddler groups/trips into town/family visits! If she sleeps until later on in the morning then leave her, see if you can get any more shuteye yourself and save the hassle of trying to wrestle a sleepy child out of bed and into the world.”

5. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise

Mrs Doubtfire cleaning

“I deal with the stuff that needs dealing with before we leave the house – normally that’s getting us both washed, teeth brushed, dressed and fed. Sod the mess – it can wait until later on in the day when my son is napping and I have time to tackle it properly.”

6. Timing is everything


“I use alarms for everything in the mornings – when we need to get up, when we should be finishing up breakfast, when it's time to dress the kids and when it's time get out of the house or else be late. I know that if we miss our time marker, then we'll have a bit of a rush, or if we're ahead of our time marker, we going to be fine. It takes some of the stress off me, and for some reason the kids will listen to an alarm, whereas if I make an announcement they'll just ignore…”

7. Introduce a little healthy competition

Toddler putting on shoes

“I race my daughter to see who can get dressed or put their shoes on first. Also, works if we are out and she gets lazy – who can reach the corner first? Gets us around a lot faster.”

8. If you remember just one thing…

Grumpy toddler

“Keep toddlers in their routine at all costs. Just one late night can make for a very grumpy three-year-old.”

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