Inspiration struck while I was browsing the dollar section at Target. (That isn't actually very unusual for that to happen. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit that?)
I've been reading the book Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood. This easy read has helped me to take a step back from my crazy days and remind me to be flexible. Being flexible may just be the most important thing a momma with three young kiddos can do! However, it isn't always my strongest skill, just ask my husband!
So, as I've been reading this book, I've been looking at ways to make our days more steady. (That certainly isn't a word I'd currently use to describe our life!) We now have 6-7 events each week. All of these events are things we don't believe we should cut out right now. Fortunately, they all end within 5 weeks and then we have nothing but a bit of travel and a church event over the summer. However, until then, at least once a day, I load the kids in the minivan and head out to a destination.
Now, getting the kids in the car isn't necessarily the challenge. It's getting them in the car on time and making sure everyone is fed and clothed with teeth brushed. (We need to work on that latter one! Just keeping it honest!)
On a typical morning, my two-year-old is the first up. She watches a video while I finish getting ready. The other two eventually come downstairs. We do the normal morning things and then while I finish cleaning up things usually get a bit crazy. The kids are either fighting or being a bit too wild.
Enter my Target dollar spot inspiration.
The author of this book, Jamie C. Martin (who also has a fantastic blog), writes that at one point, to solve a difficult time with her three children, she assigned them spots in a room where they could each see each other, but they were to stay in their own spots playing quietly.
"I wonder," I thought to myself as I read that. I wondered if I could train my children to do that for the few minutes before we load up to get into the minivan in the morning. It would give me a few minutes to finish any last-minute chores or details. I decided I would give it a try, but that I needed to think about it a bit more. I've learned that even the most seemingly innocent parenting choices should be approached carefully!
The more I thought about it, I decided I needed a way for my kids to define their spots in the play room. I thought of getting hand towels that we could spread out on the floor. I could have gotten them in the colors I've assigned to each child. However, I knew the towels would soon be used as capes, doll blankets, and who knows what else. I was going to have to think some more.
So today as I glanced around the shelves at Target, the kids garden kneelers caught my eye. They are just big enough for a little one sit to so on and play. My five-year-old was immediately sold on the idea and wanted hers right away. (I told her she'd have to wait.)
The question remains whether or not they'll actually help us make a smoother transition when we leave the house. It might be wishful thinking, and it might not. Either way, I'm working on something that works for our family and I'm trying to think outside of my rigid little box. No matter how you look at it, I think it's worth a shot!
How do you help your children make transitions when it's time to leave?