Thursday, June 2, 2011

Set Your Kids Up For Success

When Caleb was six months old, I went to dinner with a friend and her mom. She said something to me that has stuck with me since. She said, "Tired and hungry kids are naughty kids."
In the years since, I have realized how true that really is. As long as my kids are rested and not hungry, they act so much better than when they're not those things.

I take all three of my kids to run most of my errands. When I have time away from them, the last thing I want to do is necessary errands (grocery store, etc). Not only is it not that difficult to take them, but it is actually fun. The reason is because I set my kids up for success.

I know I do not have as much experience as some, but here are my tried and true tips for having enjoyable children (in no particular order):
- Make sure your children are getting enough sleep. Kids need to be in bed at a decent hour, not staying up til 1o or 11 on a regular basis.

- Do activities/errands when they are the happiest. For me, this means running errands in the morning. Running errands after naps, for some reason, are typically a gigantic fail (for my family). Unless absolutely necessary, I avoid doing anything potentially stressful in the afternoon/evening.

- Leave while kids are still happy. I have a tendency to stay somewhere too long when my kids are enjoying themselves (like the park or the pool). When I do that, leaving is a complete nightmare. If I leave when they're still happy, somehow the exit is way smoother. It seems counterintuitive, but it's true.

- Bring snacks. Kids have lightning fast metabolisms. Eating snacks can prevent many a meltdown.

- Get a cookie at the grocery store. Most grocery stores give away free cookies to kids. You can use it for a sugar surge at the beginning, or you can wait til the end in case you need to bribe!! (You can judge this reasoning all you want, but trust me, it makes the grocery store way easier)

- Keep a good attitude yourself. When I go into a potentially difficult place (Costco, grocery store, Target, etc), I smile and relax. I remind myself that children are meant to be enjoyed. Just making the intentional decision to enjoy the experience has a huge impact on the success of the outing. When I am smiling, strangers notice and tend to praise my kids. They, in turn, have good attitudes.

- Give yourself lots and lots of grace when (not if) an outing is a complete failure and everyone (including you) leaves in tears. Typically my children do pretty well, but they are kids and definitely have some frustrating and embarrassing moments. No amount of prevention can change the fact they're kids and will have childish moments.

When you see another mom in that position, you can smile and reassure her, "I've been there."

Tell me.....what are some ways you set your children up for success??


  1. Great thoughts Sarah. These tips helped me so much when my girls were young. It made trips with them more enjoyable.

  2. You hit the nail on the head! I have that exact strategy as well and when I have exhausted them all out come the suckers I keep on reserve, that will usually buy me an extra 5 minutes or so :)

  3. Love all your tips! Interestingly enough, I used to not mind taking my three everywhere with me, but in the last year or so, just the thought of taking them food shopping makes me tired! Maybe I need to update my strategies for slightly older kids?!

  4. I never leave home without CHEDDAR BUNNIES! :-) And the Happy Buddy and I always pray together before we get out of the car. :-) PLUS, as funny as this sounds, we discovered that our buddy is OBSESSED with the deli and CAN'T WAIT to get his sample 'piece' as he calls it whenever we grocery shop. He prefers that to the cookie! Hilarious! These are awesome tips, my wonderful friend!


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