Sunday 22 September 2019

Back to school: How to get your kids out the door on time

Mother's holding an alarm clock and waking up her teenage daughter at morning
Mother's holding an alarm clock and waking up her teenage daughter at morning
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Make no mistake - getting your kids dressed, fed, out the door and to school on time is nothing short of a military operation.

Especially after a summer filled with late starts, and lax bedtime routines.

The first week back is always the hardest.

But there are ways to prevent the morning run from descending into complete mania.

Here are a few handy tips to ensure you through the school gates on time, while retaining some semblance of sanity.

Lay out everyone’s clothes 

There is nothing worse then rummaging through a laundry bin at 7am desperately trying to find matching socks.

It sounds so boring and tedious (because it is so boring and tedious) but laying out everyone's outfits the night before will massively reduce down stress levels in the morning. It speeds things up and means you won’t be angsting over what to wear to that mid-morning meeting.

Have all their stuff in a designated spot

Self explanatory – if all school bags, coats and shoes in set place there is less chance of things going MIA.

Be honest with yourself, and pace the morning accordingly

If you have a morning ritual (meditating/ making an extra large pot of coffee/ mindlessly skipping through Instastories) that makes you feel like you can take on the day – keep doing it. But just get up that bit earlier. Don’t try and cram and condense everything into a tiny time window. Give yourself the time and space.

Don’t hit snooze

It’s very, very tempting just to roll over and enjoy another 10 minutes of delicious lucid dreaming. However, that decision tends to have knock on repercussions, and can throw your morning and day out of whack.

Do all the school admin the night before

Sorting out permission slips/ homework signatures/ sick notes/ money for the tuck shop is a nightmare first thing in the morning. Get into the habit of doing it the afternoon or evening before.

Also it sounds obvious but make sure all homework is done and dusted - trying to help your child do their maths homework en route to school will make everyone involved feel incompetent.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Packing lunchboxes in advance is probably the easiest and most effective way to speed up your morning routine. Staring into the fridge looking for sandwich filler inspiration when you're still half asleep can result in poor dietary choices (ham and jam sandwiches anyone?).

Place all dried foods, and snacks that will keep in lunch boxes the night before, and add any 'wet food' (sliced tomatoes, chopped fruit) at the last minute to avoid them getting too soggy.

Become a clock-watching drill sergeant

Keep reminding everyone that they're on the clock. It stops time running away, and also feels like you’re on an episode of the Crystal Maze. Also invest in some actual clocks and don’t rely on your phone - the temptation to start scrolling through social media can often prove too strong.

Be consistent

It can be tricky but try to to stay disciplined. If you stick to your routine than your kids will (hopefully!) follow suit. 

Keep extra supplies in the car

Hairbrushes, snacks, notebooks, juice boxes, pairs of socks. You never know when you need a few spares.

And remember...

It’s really not that big a deal if you’re five minutes late.

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