From getting stuck in a lift to an unexpected meeting with your boss – here are 10 things less stressful than trying to leave the house with a toddler, according to a new study

File this under: things nobody tells you about becoming a mum

Mother putting on toddler's shoes will trying to leave the house
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether it’s a short trip to the supermarket or a longer journey that requires taking the car, leaving the house with a toddler in tow is rarely a) easy and b) enjoyable. 

So many parents struggle to get the kids out the door each morning – and we’re not surprised. Between nappy explosions and school run tantrums, it’s no wonder that new research has found it takes over two hours for one in four mums to leave the house with a toddler. 

The study, conducted by baby and toddler gift card brand Little Starts Gift Cards, revealed that preparing the all-important nappy bag emerged as the most time-consuming hold-up for mums, with 42 per cent admitting the dreaded 'poo-nami' is the biggest obstacle. Additionally, a staggering 91 per cent of mums encounter a tantrum when trying to leave the house, while three quarters admit to leaving the house without brushing their teeth in order to get their little ones out the door. 

Little Starts Gift Cards has also revealed that parents become master negotiators when trying to leave their home, with 50 per cent of mums admitting to bribing their kids with iPad time in a bid to get out of the house, whereas 35 per cent resort to fail-safe sweet treats as their leverage. 

However, negotiation doesn’t always result in success, with 58 per cent admitting defeat in the challenge of getting out the door and ending up cancelling plans altogether.

Mother bribing son with chocolate so they can leave the house

Mother bribing son with chocolate so they can leave the house

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The study also highlights the huge importance of new mums being able to get out of the house, with 56 per cent of mums admitting that not leaving their home has a negative impact on their mental health, and a further 88 per cent of mums saying that getting out of the house to visit classes and activities is important for the child development stages.

Little Starts Gift Cards founder and mum-of-two, Katie Lavis, said: "Our new study highlights the importance of mums being encouraged and supported to get out of the house, whilst looking after their little ones. This can be challenging, but the benefits for mum and children are clear to see.

"As child activity experts and mums ourselves, at Little Starts we understand the benefits of baby, toddler and preschool classes to not only children’s development but also to parents’ mental health, giving them that much-needed purpose to get parents out of the house and space to meet like-minded people and friends."

Top things mums find less stressful than getting their child out of the house

  1. Getting stuck in a lift for 30 minutes – 68 percent
  2. Visiting the mother-in-law – 66 percent
  3. When your boss calls an unexpected meeting – 65 percent
  4. Having root canal surgery – 63 percent
  5. Car breaking down – 60 percent
  6. A work presentation – 54 percent
  7. Moving house – 50 percent
  8. Doing a tax return – 41 percent
  9. Getting through an airport with kids – 40 percent
  10. Having an argument with your partner – 34 percent

Top 5 obstacles to leaving the house

  1. Children not wanting to leave the house – 59 percent
  2. Preparing the nappy bag – 54 percent
  3. Housework jobs – 46 percent
  4. Nappy explosion – 42 percent
  5. Tantrums – 32 percent

Top 5 sacrifices mums have made to leave the house on time

  1. No coat on – 76 percent
  2. Not having brushed their teeth – 74 percent
  3. Wrong/odd shoes on – 68 percent
  4. Not brushed their hair – 58 percent
  5. Haven't eaten – 46 percent

In other parenting news, discover how to set a strong boundary to stop your kid running away from you on the street and the 6 signs your child has ‘high emotional intelligence’.

Daniella Gray
Family News & Wellbeing Writer

From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.