Particularly when the kids were younger, people would often ask me how I managed to get them all up and out on time for school. Don’t get me wrong, our mornings don’t always run smoothly and there’s definitely days where Ben reaches the school gates as the bell rings – but you won’t find a late mark on their school records.
Of course it’s easier to get them all out of the door on time now than it was when I had three under five and had to get Ben to school whilst sorting out a newborn and a toddler at the same time – but I wanted to share our top five tips for getting the kids out to school on time and how these now work for us as the kids are a bit older.
1. Get up early enough
Honestly, if you’re always late then you need to get up earlier! It’s so tempting to just lie in bed for five more minutes (especially at this time of year!) but really you’re just adding to the stress of your morning. You’d be amazed what a difference just getting up five or ten minutes earlier could make to your morning routine. (And had you seen me pressing snooze for the second time this morning before madly dashing around the house trying to get everyone out the door you’d have told me the same thing!)
2. Sort yourself our before the kids get up
I get up about 20 minutes before the kids which means I’ve got time to have a shower and get dressed before I even need to start thinking about them. I started doing this when I went back to work after having Ben and it was a game changer. Getting up before the kids means that I’m not rushing around trying to get myself organised at the same time as making their breakfast or brushing hair. Everything is much calmer if I’m already ready for the day when they get up.
3. Be organised
Check the night before that everyone has what they need for the following day – Do they know where their shoes are? Do they need a clean pair of trousers? Have they put their reading book back? Do they need dinner money or a packed lunch? As the kids have got older this is now something I expect them to do for themselves (with reminders) – both because it makes my life easier but also because its an important life skill to teach them!
4. Have a routine
Doing the same things in the same order each day means you’re less likely to forget things and you know how long it will take. For us that means you don’t come downstairs till you’ve got dressed – (I used to give them breakfast first to avoid issues with spilling but that just meant they had no incentive to get dressed, now they aren’t allowed breakfast till they are dressed so they get ready much quicker). After breakfast it’s back upstairs for teeth brushing before I do their hair, they put on their shoes and get their last bits and pieces together. If there’s time they sit and read their school reading books – we don’t have the TV on in the morning as it just slows everything down.
5. Set out your expectations
I expect my kids to get dressed by themselves for school and always have done. I will help with tights or fiddly buttons but for the most part the need to get themselves dressed. Perhaps it would be quicker if I did it for them but they’re going to need to be able to dress themselves for PE anyway and the sooner they learn to do it for themselves the easier your mornings will become.
Do you have any top tips for getting out for school on time?