When we first began writing the book (oh, we'll let you know how that's going at some point), we developed a quick and easy framework for planning (and getting through) just about anything. We call it the Baby Bunching Framework for Success or the Three Rs.
1) Review the situation at hand, whether it’s an eating, sleeping, or playtime need. Take a quick assessment of who has the most dire need, available gear and/or supplies, and possible escape plans. Don’t forget to take into consideration your kids’ temperaments at that moment (who is exhausted and beyond reasoning, who could be pacified the quickest, who is generally more easygoing, etc.) This is your research/information gathering step, and you will use it to develop your plan of attack. We’ll cover issues to consider when conducting your assessment in each of these situations and more.
2) Routine. Establish one and refer to it.There is a reason preschools and daycares function on strict schedules (more on how you can use this to your advantage later) – kids of all ages thrive on routine and structure. We’ll teach you tricks for identifying natural patterns and routines which emerge and also how to tweak them once they’re established.
3) Reassess. Just when you have it down and life is going great, we promise something will change (growth spurts, potty training, illness, dropping naps, outgrowing the baby carrier, you get the idea). What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, so don’t get locked into thinking the way it is today is the way it has to stay. We’ll teach you how to recognize these changes, respond and adapt accordingly.
Here's how you use it for a sample outing with your Bunch. We thought this would be a great one to start with since we talking about outings yesterday.
SITUATION: You’re out of diapers and you need a gift for a birthday party tomorrow, and your husband is out of town. You have no choice – you have got to take your Bunch on the errand. Target seems like the most logical place where you can get diapers, the gift and probably milk.
Review: Everyone has been fed, watered, and napped, but you still pack a snack for distraction purposes. You always keep the double stroller and the sling in you’re trunk. Load everyone up and you’re off!
Routine: When you go to Target, you usually put the baby in the sling and your toddler in the cart, but baby is getting too big for the sling. He isn’t quite big enough for the two-seater cart. On the way, you ended up having to stop for gas, and while you were there, thought you’d get the car washed since it is covered in so much dirt you can barely see out windows. You’ve arrived at Target, but you’re now behind schedule and running dangerously close to the next scheduled nap.
Reasses: Since baby is a bit too big for the sling and not big enough for the cart, you’re gonna have to bust out the double stroller for this trip, which sucks because you can’t fit a lot of stuff in the cargo bin. Doesn’t really matter anyway, because you’re racing against the clock – you used precious “happy time” at the car wash and you’re on borrowed time now. Load both kids in the double stroller and immediately head for diapers. Toddler is already complaining as you head there, so slide him a few animal crackers. Baby starts to fuss (you’re coming up on a feeding), so pick a QUICK toy for the birthday gift – no time to stress over the perfect gift. Proceed immediately for the checkout and don’t forget a gift receipt in case your quick toy selection sucks. When you get to the car, load everyone up, slide toddler a few more animal crackers and nurse baby in the parking lot. No sense listening to baby scream all the way home, and if he is quiet, toddler may sack out in his seat and you can just carry him to his bed when you get home. Sure, you’ve got “undone” items on your Target list, but you have the critical ones, along with a baby now with a full tummy and possibly a sleeping toddler.
Successful outing - mission accomplished.