The following post is from Roan of Joyful Always
If you are a homeschooling Mom, chances are you have to run your errands with your children in tow. With a little bit of forethought, planning, and practice, the experience can be a positive one.
Keep your list short.
The younger your children, the shorter your list needs to be. While it would be great to run all of your weekly errands on one day, sometimes that is not feasible. I preferred to break my “going to town” visits into two or more trips each week when my children were a baby, ages 2, and 4.
Time your trip wisely.
Running errands with tired and/or sleepy children will not be fun for anyone involved. Also, consider finishing the day’s schoolwork before venturing out to town. You may want to pick one or two days each week where you do less schoolwork in order to make time to run your necessary errands. On the days you stay home all day, you can increase your schoolwork load. I promise that after a couple of hours of running errands, you nor your child will feel like completing a math lesson. Usually rest time is the best thing to schedule after an errand running session.
Alternate the types of errands.
Spend some time doing drive-through type errands, and then break up that time in the car with a longer shopping-inside-a-store errand.
Redeem the time while in the car.
Riding time is valuable. Play classical music or hymn CDs. Play educational CDs, like geography songs or math drills set to music. Play audio books on CDs. Our family has listened to numerous books over the years while running errands around town. Audio books are available for check-out at your local library, or you can join a book club like Audible and purchase your own. If you have read alouds as part of your homeschool curriculum, you can take advantage of your time in the car, and save your voice too.
Pack snacks and drinks.
No matter how short the shopping trip may be, you can’t go wrong with a snack and a sippee cup or bottle! This is especially helpful as you navigate through the check-out line. I would remind my children that we had a special snack in the car, so we did not have to buy anything from the check-out counter display.
Practice at home.
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. I cannot tell you how many practice sessions I held over the years when my children were small. We practiced standing in line at the post office, walking up and down aisles of the grocery store, walking from the car to the store, sitting quietly in a waiting room, and even getting in and out of our van in an orderly manner.
Don’t laugh! Those practice sessions gave me confidence as I ran my errands. I made it fun, and we didn’t practice everything at the same time. We pretended that our den or various parts of the house were different places. I found that explaining my expectations clearly to my children and having them practice made for mostly stress-free errand running.
Set boundaries for your children.
Decide what your rules are for shopping. Do you want everyone to stay inside the shopping cart? Can older children hold on to the cart while walking beside you? Can an older child help you get things from the shelves? Do they need to stand right beside you while you are standing in line? Will they need to sit in your lap or beside you inside a waiting room? What about your “going to the potty” procedure? Will you all go inside the same stall? Make a plan, and then teach it to your children.
Lastly, as you plan your errands with your children, remember to SLOW DOWN. Lower your expectations for what you think you can accomplish on any given outing. Before you know it, your children will be old enough to stay at home alone, and you will get to go to the bank by yourself! But most likely, you will miss your little entourage.
|Roan is currently in her 13th year of homeschooling. Her oldest child is a freshman in college, and her remaining home schooled students range in age from 8-16. Roan blogs regularly on her personal blog, Joyful Always. She writes about her interests which include family, homemaking, homeschooling, running, planning, and organization.|
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