When you’re a homeschooling parent, you take your kids with you everywhere. They go grocery shopping with you. They run errands with you. They attend appointments with you. There is no avoiding it, there is no getting around it, and unless you have a great babysitter available at the drop of a hat who is never sick, never has other plans, and never tells you no, sometimes, there is simply no avoiding it.
Sometimes, it’s a fun opportunity to teach life lessons that they might not get otherwise. After all, how many kids get the chance to learn firsthand about grocery shopping and budgeting? How many get to watch you fill out deposit slips at the bank on a regular basis, or learn how to schedule appointments around an already busy day?
Other times, it’s a great exercise in not pulling your hair out no matter how crazy they make you. This one won’t stop talking. That one has hit his sister three times. The other one has a serious case of whining about everything.
You go prepared. You try your best. But sometimes, having to take your kids with you means that even running into the store for a gallon of milk takes three times longer than it would if you went alone. There are car seats to deal with, coats to get on and off, hands to hold, a million questions to answer…it’s stressful for any parent! There are, however, a few things that you can do to make it easier.
Take entertainment with you. For older kids, this might be a book or two. For younger ones, you may need more toys and games to keep them entertained while you complete your errands.
Choose your time carefully. Don’t go out at mealtime unless the meal is included in your outing. Don’t go out around naptime. Don’t go out during your children’s peak fussy time.
Discuss the rules ahead of time. You think that your kids know what is expected of them…but a little reminder every once in a while doesn’t hurt, either.
Don’t be afraid to scrap the trip. Sure, you might have to try again tomorrow—but sometimes, it’s worth it!
Try not to be rushed. If you’re in a hurry, that will be the moment when they lose gloves, have bathroom accidents, and break the rules. That will be when one child can not possibly move above a crawl, and another is running across the parking lot. That will be when you feel like you’re losing your mind. Try not to be rushed when you have to go out. In the end, it’ll make everyone’s life easier.