Five Tips to get the kids to school on time!

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.

Back to school September 2018

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?

I wrote some years ago about how I thought it was a great idea that families were being fined for being persistently late to school.
Five top tips for getting the kids to school on time | We're going on an adventure


  1. October 17, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    This sounds much like our mornings. The boys do have breakfast before getting dressed but they know if they get dressed quickly then they have more time to play before school and nursery. If all goes according to plan they have about half an hour to play before we have to leave, and if it doesn’t well then we have an extra half an hour which means we’ve never been late yet 🙂 I’m very strict about shoes, coats and hats etc all being put in the right place by the door when we come in from school so we always know where they are in the morning!

    • Colette
      October 17, 2018 / 10:39 pm

      I used to find that having breakfast before they got dressed just left no incentive for them to get dressed – and the spillage issue wasn’t such a problem as they got older thankfully.
      There’s nothing worse than trying to find a lost shoe when you’re trying to get out to school on time is there!!

  2. October 20, 2018 / 7:08 am

    It’s a nightmare here at the moment. A bus picks my eldest up at 8 from home so you’d think I’d have plenty of time to get the middle one to nursery for 9 but that hour is like quick sand. I’m going to have to change something for when he starts school next year. I think I might get the boys ready at the same time as Lizzie. At the moment, it’s breakfast and getting dressed in that hour and it’s not working

    • Colette
      October 24, 2018 / 9:27 am

      Yeah I’d be inclined to get them all ready at once.

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