school run, getting kids to school on time, getting kids ready for school, morning routines

It doesn’t matter how early I wake up. Getting my kids to school on time always seems to be a challenge. The kids take forever to eat their breakfast, get dressed and put their shoes on. Then just when I think we’re done and I get excited that we’re at the door on time, they remember that they need their library bags or that their hats are missing.

A few weeks ago I decided I’d had enough. I’ve been trying out different tweaks to our morning routine since then and I’m pleased to report that our mornings have gotten better. Here’s what’s been working for us.

Stay unplugged

Resist the temptation to look at your phone, email or Facebook first thing in the morning or there’s a good chance that you’ll be stuck there longer than you expect. There’ll be time to catch up on everything once the kids are at school.

Prepare ahead of time

No, I’m not suggesting that you have to make school lunches the night before, even though you’d certainly have an easier morning if you do. That’s not how it works at our place. Once the kids are in bed, it’s time to do something for myself and making lunches or any other chores are not on the agenda. But even if you don’t prepare the food at night, it helps to decide what exactly the kids will have for lunch the next day and check if you have everything you need.

Encourage your kids’ independence

Teach your children to take responsibility for their clothes and school bags. As long as they know where everything is, they can do all the packing, filling water bottles and even finding their own socks. To make it more fun for them and make sure they don’t forget anything, you can create a colourful checklist that they can tick off.

Have a schedule on for each student

Is it library day? Do they need to bring recorders? Should they be wearing sports shoes? I used to spend my time walking to school desperately trying to remember what we’d forgotten (there was always something). Needless worry can be avoided by hanging a schedule on the fridge or somewhere else where kids and you can easily see it and making it a habit to check it every day.

Use TV while doing your girl’s hair

Usually I dislike using TV as a parenting tool and this is the one and only time you’ll see me recommending it. If you have a girl with long hair, who won’t stay still for longer than a second, braiding it can take anywhere between a minute (with the TV on) and 20 minutes or more (with no TV). So I figured a minute of TV in the morning can’t hurt.

‘No play until you’re ready’ rule

Often kids would get up early and seeing that they have plenty of time, they’ll start playing. Encourage them to have breakfast and get ready before playing, even if it is early, or it’s very easy to lose track of time.

You won’t always make it

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may still be late for school. For many of us being late is a trigger, but it doesn’t need to be. Think about it, it’s really not such a big deal. Take a few deep breaths, give your kids a cuddle and enjoy the rest of your day.

Image by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

By Tatiana Apostolova