As I may have mentioned I hate the school run! It is not so much the act of getting to school that irks me it is the whole morning routine. I am sure that many of you have it down pat, but in our house the clock almost certainly moves faster between 8:30am and 8:45am and the children certainly move slower!! One of the major things I hate about school mornings is getting cross with my littles before they go to school. It is not good for me and I am sure it is not good for them either so to ease the tension I have come up with a few things that have helped our mornings to go more smoothly and in these last few weeks of the school year will hopefully help you to ease into the summer with less morning routine stress.
- Give the children responsibility for their things – we had cupboards installed under our stairs to maximise the usability of this space, but also to ensure that everyone has their own drawer. In this drawer they keep everything they need to leave the house; shoes, coats, caps and school bags. That way when I say put your shoes on there is no hunting around. They know where to go. It took them a few days to get used to always putting their things in their drawer, but they do it. If you don’t have a staircase something like the IKEA Kallax system would also work or even a chest of drawers.
- Set up breakfast the night before – I try to get everything ready to go before I go to bed. I used to put it all on the table the night before, but one of the twins has a nasty habit of throwing cereal around and so I get it all ready in the kitchen and only bring it through in the morning.
- Have a visual reminder of the things you need to be prepared for that day. I have a chalk board in the kitchen with each day and what the kids have on that day so I can quickly remind myself of whether I need to bring the PE kits in or not
You can make any surface into a chalk board with this self adhesive chalk board paper. I have them in my kitchen for the activity planner and for the shopping lists.
- Once the littles come downstairs don’t let them go back upstairs again. They will disappear and get distracted or both!
- Dangle that carrot – if you are ready early you will be able to…. For us the best offer there is is to be allowed to go across the common on the way. It is longer so can only happen if we are on time, but they like to look for rats!
- Use technology to your advantage. If your kids can’t tell the time yet and you are happy for the TV to go on in the morning (I don’t mind as we don’t have it on after school very much and it helps to prevent them from getting distracted by toys…) then put the same channel on every day and make sure the kids know which programme means they must get ready. This basically works like a clock…
- If you don’t end up having time to have breakfast yourself try making a smoothie the night before. That way it is ready to go, but you can also have it on the move
- If you have a front garden invest in a garden bike shed so that you can keep scooters and helmets outside. This was a game changer for us as it meant they had to go outside to get on the scooters – one step closer to school. Before that they were in the hallway and were just something else to play with instead of putting on their shoes.
- Finally if you find that they aren’t coming to the door when you tell them you need to go then show them that you are ready. I get my shoes on, get the girls in the buggy and go outside. I then knock on the front door and when they come to see what the knocking is about I say I am leaving now are you coming? Watch them move then when they think I am off without them…
Now I am not into showing an instagram perfect life (although if it were actually like some of the instaperfect lives I see then I wouldn’t complain) so I will be honest and say that this house is chaos and the morning routine is no exception. These ideas have helped, but of course they are not the holy grail (unfortunately) and so some mornings this all goes like clockwork and I think ‘Wow, I have cracked it this time’ and then the next day it is as if I hadn’t introduced any good ideas at all. Little people are just like us; sometimes they wake up happy and compliant and other days they wake up in a bad mood determined to be difficult.
As parents getting children ready for school and managing the morning routine I guess we just have to roll with it and see whether we get nice or demonic kids each day, but these little hacks have made a difference here so I hope they can help you too. Let me know if you do try any of the ideas.