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How To Make School Mornings A Breeze

I don't know about you, but it doesn't matter what time I (or the kids) get up in the morning, I always end up screaming at 8.10am that no-one except me has their shoes on.  It is the bane of my life, getting all three of them in the car, on time, with all of the correct stuff they need for that day.  I have developed a number of strategies that certainly help (apart from the screaming, which I am trying to reduce) so I thought I would share them with you.

I'm very (VERY) lucky that as a stylist and a blogger, lots of my work can be done from my home office - I'm sure lots of working mums with a million more things to juggle than me may think I'm teaching you to suck eggs.  Please bear with me, you may find a gem in the following lists that turns your morning into one of those you see on breakfast cereal adverts.

The night before.....

  • Make lunches.  Seriously, if you can get into the habit of knocking up all the sandwiches and salads the night before, mornings are a much less stressful place to be.  It's bad enough coping with breakfast without trying to remember who has mayo and who has salad cream.  Stick them in the fridge and they will be absolutely fine the next day for lunch.  (Or, if the kids are a little older, get them to do their own lunches - I'm trialling this out in term 4, I'll let you know how to goes!)
  • Make the kids lay out their clothes for the next day.  My nine year old daughter always asks me in the morning if it's going to be hot or cold, so she can decide whether to wear a skirt or leggings.  I've started making her check the weather on her iPod so she can make this earth shattering decision on the evening before school.
  • Decide what you are going to wear the night before to ensure it's not at the bottom of the laundry basket, underneath a wet towel.  Put the outfit on a hanger on the bedroom door or in the bathroom.
  • If it's library day, sports, spelling day or whatever, get the kids to put it in their bag, or near the front door.  I hate nothing more than racing around checking under beds for bloody library books, argghhh!  I have reminders set on my phone to go off at 6pm telling me what activity is happening for which child on the following day. (Again, now that Mr 10 is theoretically more responsible, I let him take the flack at school if he forgets to take anything with him).
  • If I need to remember something, like consent forms or payments for stuff, I stick it in my shoe (which is obviously next to the clothes that I've already chosen.  Smug, me?).

The dreaded morning...

  • My kids are all old enough now to get dressed by themselves.  The eldest two can make their own toast and cereal (or I'll cook them eggs or occasionally pancakes if I'm feeling like Uber-Mum).  The rule in our house is that no-one touches a TV remote or an ipod until they are dressed, fed, teeth brushed and sneakers on.  The more they mess around, the less TV time they have, which usually focusses their minds on getting the mundane stuff done.

  • They also have chores to do before school - only minor things like watering the outdoor pot plants and feeding the dogs, but again, no screens until those things re done.
  • Try and have breakfast with the kids if at all possible.  Not only is it 5 minutes to actually sit down, but if you tell yourself you'll eat later, you end up not having time for breakfast at all.  It's also a good opportunity to find out if there's anything they've forgotten to sort out for the day, rather than that happening in the car.
  • Keep school shoes, backpacks and library bags by the front door.
  • Although the kids are now all dressed and have packed their backpacks for school, I am still in my PJs, and there is good reason for this.  I ALWAYS get dressed after everything else is done - breakfast, emptying the dishwasher, putting on make-up can all end up all over your clothes, so leave it until just before you have to leave.  You've already chosen what to wear so it's a 5 minute job.

The car journey...

  • We are not lucky enough to live within strolling distance of our school, so spend around 15 minutes in the car together.  15 minutes is definitely long enough to start World War 3, so I have a couple of strategies to stop this kicking off everyday.
    1. Everyone had their own seat in the car - that way there is no arguing about who is sitting where.
    2. If they've left junk or whatever on their seat, they can't blame anyone else.
    3. I hire story CDs from the library and we listen to them on the way to school, good long ones like The Chronicles of Narnia.  Jeremy Strong novels are hilarious and have the kids in stitches - a great antidote to the aforementioned screaming that occurred at 8.10am.  The kids are always desperate to know what's happening next so race into the car and sit (usually) listening for the whole journey.  Bliss.

I know none of this is rocket science, but honestly, just these few simple ideas make my life so much easier with the three of them on school mornings.  Thank goodness we have two weeks off now!

What routines do you use in the mornings to get you out of the door on time?

1 comment:

  1. I made a morning routine chart for my 5 year old, so he ticks off each thing as he goes. This has made our mornings a lot more efficient as he is now proactive in moving on to the next task, and knows that if he gets a tick for each day then at the end of term he gets to choose a reward from Toyworld.


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