Workingmums' guide to getting people out the door has advice for those who struggle with the whole getting several smaller people out the door thing.

Of course, anyone can take responsibility for getting smaller people dressed and ready to go, but, as with most things, it often falls to the person who does it most – the “expert”, if you will – and that person often tends to be a mum. You would think years of practice would make for a well oiled machine, but parenting matters are rarely that simple and often you may feel that you are making no progress despite the amount of times you have been through the drill and even despite your odd tendency for dramatic flourishes like flouncing out the room or threatening imminent strike action. Never fear, though. is here to help:

1. Start with the largest person and work backwards. This is on the premise that the largest is least likely to take their clothes off once they are on, although you may have to vary this advice according to the particular personalities in your household.  Always leave babies till last on the grounds that they will inevitably do a massive poo or some such just at the point of departure, meaning the whole process becomes something like Groundhog Day.

2. If operating on several floors – ie upstairs and downstairs – ensure that you do not forget the downstairs people while dealing with the upstairs front. Watch your back at all times. People who were ready will suddenly start doing “projects” that involve maximum mess while you are upstairs doing up Johnny’s shoelaces.

3. Limit dress choice to two options [nb it is essential to include socks, shoes and coat in the selection] and build some fantastic story involving fairies, Paw Patrol and Dora which explains why these were the best clothes available rather than the old t-shirt and shorts that are probably covered in last night’s spaghetti and down the back of the sofa somewhere which they are insisting is their preferred choice. 

4. Remember teeth and hair. No-one else will – not even if you mention it every day for 100 years.

5. Do not allow teenagers to nick each other’s clothes if you do not want to waste at least half an hour with one of them locked in the bathroom while the other is attempting to break down the door and/or torch all their belongings. NB this is no time to consider an appeal to reason. These battles, like those between neighbouring countries, have previous and all you can hope for is a sulky stand-off. The best bet is to unite the two battling teens against a common enemy. Unfortunately, this is usually you.

6. Do not forget your partner if you have one. Bear in mind that it is no use whatsoever getting a number of small people ready only to find that your partner has suddenly decided to make use of the delay and shave.

7. Never answer the phone during getting out the door sessions. If it is urgent they will text. Maintain focus at all times even if there is not one iota of focus among those around you.

8. Do not allow any playing of musical instruments or synchronised swimming in the paddling pool or other delaying tactics during the getting out the door event.

9. Give regular time updates. Start calmly before building to the inevitable virtually hysterical “We’re LAAAAAAAAAAAATE” 20 minutes later when no apparent progress appears to have been made.

10. Do not beat yourself up for said hysteria. It is only on the point of hysteria that anyone realises that it is actually time to leave. However, do expect to be told off for being “stressed” even though 20 minutes before you were the picture of Zenn calm.

NB Try not to look too longingly at all those people walking down the street or on the telly who look like they have had the time to have a quiet breakfast before getting just themselves out the door.  

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