How hard is it to leave the house with small children?
My kids are 1.5 years old and 3.5 years old and leaving the house was something I felt we needed to work on for a long time! It was stressful, there was yelling and stress bombs were flying. So I got my act together.
Before I launch on in, do understand that my fails at leaving the house have been off the charts therefore I am writing from experience and learning! Isn’t it funny how slip ups can be the most stressful thing ever in the intensity of the moment, maybe they make you a bit sweary, but they make for a hilarious story later on – or at least you fake laugh when your three year old gets to kindy and tells everyone “We were driving here and Mummy forgot my bag and we went home again to get it”, or you hope the teachers don’t notice the supermarket bought packet lunch that day which you got on your way to kindy which made you late, or you turn the house upside down looking for those bloody keys which you swore you wouldn’t let your toddler play with but it was the only thing which worked at the time and now they’re lost. Hahaha sooo funny… but also not funny. At all.
And don’t get me started on hats and shoes.
So I needed to work on creating a better environment for leaving the house with my two kids in the morning. Working in the community with the community, I was not keen to be seen as that always-late Mum because if I was to work with people who knew me from kindy, they would already judge me as slacker. Not a good look! Also, I want my kids to learn it is respectful and polite to be as on time as possible.
These two steps were game changers for leaving on time:
Create a bag/hat/coat/shoe station
Yes, I found the kids school bag station idea on Pintrest and it is a game changer.
This is our station in the hallway for an easier morning. As my children are Montessori kids and I am all for fostering their responsibility and independence which this does wonderfully. It works well as everything has it’s space and they can be responsible for putting their shoes, bags, raincoats and hats in one place when they arrive home. The coat hooks here are at child level to create independence. You could do yours at any level you are happy to manage. Since using this, now my 3yo even keeps tabs on the adults in the house if we break the rules, calling me out like “Mummy, you need to put your shoes away”. It has saved so much time and stress and we don’t waste time looking for that other shoe, the raincoat etc. I feel like the bottom could even use sock and shoe cubbies for extra organisation points.
It sounds simple but creating a routine is the best thing to do to keep morning flowing nicely. When my routine falls apart, my morning falls apart and everything becomes a stressful ball ache.
The secret with why my particular routine works is because I get up before the rest of the house – which sounds stink for me – but honestly, what’s half an hour if it means you and your family are happier for it. The kids generally wake around the same time every day, which varies, but no later than 7am on a weekday or we will be late. I expose them to natural light (curtains pulled back, or outside to greet the day and chat about the weather) to naturally balance the melatonin/serotonin which wakes them up properly (Melatonin and seratonin work in a swing cycle. Melatonin rises which allows for sleep, exposure to natural light in the morning kills melatonin and increases seratonin to wake up naturally and it also helps their cycle for the day which means they will drift off easier at the end of the day, when melatonin dominates seratonin).
My routine is as follows:
5am Bootcamp (with a buddy for accountability)
6am Home, shower
6.20am Cook Breakfast and make lunches, drink a peaceful coffee, maybe fold some washing (I have literally folded washing once at this time but I’ll claim it lol)
7am Kids wake, eat breakfast
7.30am Get the two kids dressed in the their room with the door shut to prevent nudie runs and then brush teeth. This takes 30minutes. How does it take so long? I don’t know.
8am Get everything organised for the day, bags in the car. Tidy up a little.
8.30am Make sure 3yo still has dry undies, offer for him to use the toilet.
8.45am Leave the house.
- I like to have everyone’s breakfast ready before they wake because it kind of rules out negotiations about what the kids want for breakfast. I tell them “this is your breakfast” and guide them to their seats rather than ask what they want and faff about with toast vs smoothie discussions. Make sure the TV is off, eat at the table.
- Put your phone away, “just checking one thing” turns into 10minutes lost. Make a mental note to check that important thing after the drop offs, even at the kindy car park after dropping the kids off (I often reply to emails from the kindy car lot while my 1yo eats an apple in the backseat – whatever works, right?).
- Groceries. A lot of the morning routine is based around food. I order my groceries via click and collect Countdown. I have a basic shopping list saved, which covers everything the kids need for lunches. This stops me from forgetting anything. I routinely order on a Thursday morning for collection on Thursday afternoon, to fit in with kindy pick ups. This leaves me free to shop for meat, fruit/veg at my leisure with the kids. A bonus is it helps me (immensely) to stick to a budget as there is no online impulse buying and the cost is tallied up as I shop. I can un-select items as needed to keep costs down. I also work part time and study so, like everyone else, I am time poor.
What my children with multiple food allergies eat for breakfast
Both of my children have multiple food allergies. Together, they are allergic to nuts, dairy, egg and fish.
Thankfully that means I don’t have to chef-up salmon eggs benedict (lol imagine that!) however it also rules out eggs and any dairy based product, which can be seen as typical breakfast foods.
Oats are versatile and healthy, they cook in 2 min in the microwave or stove top. We eat them with rice milk or almond milk (almonds appear OK for us). These are some topping variations we use, often we also put in chia seeds:
Mashed banana and cinnamon
Mashed banana and cacao/cacao nibs
Banana and berries
Apple and date
Our smoothies are a combination of the following:
- Coconut water or rice milk based
- Thickner: Oats (uncooked)
- Sweetness: Banana, honey or dates
- Greens: Spinach or kale
- Fruit: Berries (frozen or fresh), apples, citrus etc.
- Seed: Chia seeds, flaxseed, sunflower seed or pumpkin seed
- Seed butters: sunflower seed butter, almond butter (almonds are tolerated in our house), pumpkin seed butter
Smoothie Bowl for fun (and mess)
Oats, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sultana, cinnamon, gogi berries, cacao nibs, coconut threads. Mix together and place on an oven tray 180C/350F for 8 minutes. Pop in a jar, ready to serve with coconut yogurt and mylk.
Toast doesn’t have to be boring. We always do multigrain bread or paleo bread, depending on finances. Sliced sweet potato can also be used as a toast sub (toast for 5-7 min). Use it as an opportunity to add nourishing, real food toppings such as:
- Mashed veg such as pumpkin with pumpkin seed
- Nutritional yeast as a cheese sub on coconut oil, margarine (if you eat margarine) or butter
- Seed butter
- Layer nut or seed butter with any combination of banana, coconut, tahini
- Tomato, hummus and salad greens
- Hummus with pumpkin seeds
- Strawberries and banana
- Stir fried tofu with mushroom and garlic
- Bacon, tomato, avocado
If it is a special occasion (not a crazy weekday) then I do buckwheat pancakes (pictured below), deconstructed hawaiian pizza is a fave (pictured below) or corn fritters.
Drop your allergy friendly tips and breakfast foods in the comments section below to inpsire others!
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you have learned something useful from my years of figuring it all out.
Much love, Aleshia Dearlove xxoo