Over the last few months I have been muddling my way through a new morning routine as Reuben has started ‘proper’ school. He’s in pre-reception so he’s not obliged to go to school at the moment but it has been wonderful for getting him used to a school environment, the routine and for making new friends ahead of his real start in September. If your chosen school offers a pre-reception option then I really recommend it, provided your child is ready for it.
I’ve often heard other Mums talk about the school run and how it’s such a busy, insane time of the morning, not to mention stressful. I’ve found a bit of a rhythm over the last few weeks (briefly interrupted by my car accident) so I thought I’d write down a few tips for how to handle the school run in order to make it significantly less stressful and easier to negotiate!
1.) Get prepared the night before
Setting out school uniform, shoes and preparing any notes you need for the school planner and putting them in the bag, the bag by the door – or even already in the car, will make life so much easier. I would charge about in a morning trying to get Roo’s uniform together while Edith screamed at me from her play mat, Toby spilt breakfast everywhere and it was just a nightmare. Before I knew it Roo would tell me he couldn’t find his bag and I’d discover that Toby had tipped it all over the floor while I was changing a nappy! If you set everything out the night before and get organised it makes your life SO much easier.
2.) Get dressed after breakfast and don’t argue with toddlers who don’t want to get dressed.
Your main priority here is getting your school aged children ready and to school looking like they are reasonably well looked after at home. Any non-school aged children are secondary, so if your 2 year old is kicking up a fuss because they don’t want to get dressed then take them to school in their pjs. It isn’t the biggest drama in the world. You do need to be dressed though, so don’t forget to get ready yourself, preferably BEFORE you dress the kids. I’ve taken Edith to school in her pjs many times, purely because I hadn’t been organised and we’d been running late. I’ve also take Toby in his ninja turtle outfit and once in just a nappy. It happens, it’s no big deal.
3.) Make breakfast easy and filling – no cordon bleu chef play ok?
You might choose to give your kids flambéed banana with homemade caramel sauce and a side of buttermilk pancakes for breakfast during the summer holidays, but that would be a crazy bad decision for a school run day. You want something really simple like cereal or porridge for breakfast on this day, something that will not only help fill your child’s belly until lunchtime but that will be super quick for you to make in the morning. You could, if you wanted, make granola pots the night before, but keep the fancy to a minimum and save it for the weekends – it gives everyone something to look forward to and you a bit of space. I always give the boys a piece of fruit in the car (or veg if they prefer – Roo will eat carrots like a rabbit) so they can nibble on the way.
4.) Remember YOU are the parent, “I don’t want to” is easily solved by picking your kids up and doing it anyway.
I have read countless post about how to combat the “I don’t want to”… Phase of the morning, and to tell you the truth, I just find them silly. Reuben will start with, “I don’t want to get dressed” and start to bounce on the spot like a crazy person making a poor attempt at interpretive dance. My solution? I dress him. I am his parent and when comes to getting dressed in the morning, or getting on with it, I’m in charge and he has no choice to do as I say. I don’t plead, I don’t ask nicely and I don’t cajole him. I tell him firmly, “You will get dressed, or I’ll dress you”. Simple. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rotten, I ask him why and remind him of all the things he loves about school, plus the things he wanted to share with his teachers, but I really don’t take any crap.
I hope this helps you with surviving the school run for the first time, it really isn’t that bad once you get into the habit of things… honest.