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Getting a Toddler Ready to Leave

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Oh, the best part of my morning... convincing a toddler it's time to go!

Before I had Allison, I wondered why moms were always late to things. “It’s not that hard!” I would think. “Just leave earlier and you’ll make it on time!” I want to apologize so hard right now, because I had no idea how difficult it was to get a toddler ready to leave. I’ve tried to balance leaving so early that we sit around forever, with leaving at just the right moment to get there on time, but something always happens to throw off that balance. Here’s what a typical morning will look like when we’re getting ready to go somewhere:

8:30– It’s almost time to go! I go to the bathroom. Allison is happily watching TV. I make sure her backpack is filled and ready to go.

8:35– Allison goes potty. I say it’s time to get ready, and she walks toward the kitchen with me. She suddenly decides she doesn’t want to leave and runs away crying. I run after her, reminding her that she WANTED to go. She throws herself on the couch dramatically.

8:40– I walk away and put on my shoes and hoodie, and Allison comes back and decides she’s ready to go. I put on her shoes and jacket and remember that my water bottle is empty. As I’m filling it, I look behind me and see that Allison’s unzipped her jacket and is trying to take it off.

8:45– I zip it back up, grab Allison, my purse, and her backpack. Suddenly realize I have to pee again. I decide it’s not worth attempting. I get her in the car and she immediately stops fussing and talks happily the whole way there.

This was one of the good days. I’ve encountered variations of the above and then some, including:

  • Telling me she doesn’t want to potty and we have a 5-minute standoff.
  • She decides she doesn’t want to put on her socks/shoes/jacket/all of the above, in 40 degree weather, so I carry her kicking and screaming with said items in my purse. This has happened more than once.
  • I open the garage door, ready to walk out, when she suddenly runs off to find a toy and takes 5 minutes to choose one.
  • She insists on having a snack, in her high chair, right before we leave. She had just had breakfast 20 minutes earlier.
  • In the middle of putting on her second shoe, she tells me she wants the OTHER shoes.

I’m not sure if this will ever get easier! Allison likes to do random things that totally throw off my plans for leaving so things are constantly changing. Any tips on how to make leaving the house easier?


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