Welcome back to school! Time to get back in the swing of things after the long holiday break. School mornings are often stressful and rushed, as you try to get slow-moving kids quickly out the door and to school on time!
School mornings can feel relentless, a daily grind you begin to dread; wondering ‘why do I get this wrong every day?’ We feel this! We asked some mums we thought could provide clever advice – a professional organiser, a creative play specialist and a teacher share their tips here..
Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson, Professional Organiser and Coach
First things first, have you labelled all your children’s uniform, bags, water bottles, etc? This will give you the best chance at keeping track of things, especially if you have a big family.
Next, try to get all school dates into your calendar so you’re not surprised by a rogue inset day or a dress-up day. Lots of schools now have a calendar on their website that you can import into your own digital calendar. Share this with all adults in the house so everyone knows what’s going on and include older children if they have their own phone. No one wants to be the ‘keeper of the dates’ – share the load, my friend!
Every professional organiser will tell you – one of the keys to getting organised is Everything Having a Place! Most children can manage to hang up their coat and bag at school because they have a specific place for them in the classroom. Do the same at home so that each child has a hook for their coat and bag and somewhere specific to put their shoes. If they do that at the end of the day they know where to find the items in the morning.
You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again Get Everything Ready the Night Before. I know, evenings are busy, and bedtimes can be stressful. But laying out uniform; preparing water bottles, lunch and snacks, putting books in bags, and packing PE kit will save so much shouting in the morning. You can give this a name ‘the 15-minute shakedown’ or something; play some music and whilst you clear up the kitchen get children to get themselves set for the next day. It’s not going to be perfect every day but it’s a way to start implementing a bit of a routine.
Lists are you friend! Help your children to help themselves by having a checklist next to the front door so they can do a double-check they have everything. For younger children or neurodiverse children, you can do this with pictures just as they do in the classroom. Getting your children to draw and write the list themselves also helps them be part of the preparation.
This also applies to you – just take 5 mins each evening to look at your day the next day – pack your own work bag and lay out your own clothes for the morning. Wherever you can take a decision away in a stressful morning do it!
Daisy Upton, Five Minute Mum
My top tip is to put on music. I like to ask my kids which song they would like to get ready to – at the moment their favourite is George Ezra. They often take it in turns to pick. So I will say, “ok kids I will put on a song and by the end we need to have teeth brushed and uniforms on and be downstairs”. And usually that makes the whole task more fun, especially if you can dance along too!
Another fun thing to do is instead of hanging up the uniform lay it out along the floor like an obstacle race, and perhaps race them to get dressed. I always leave one sock off so the ending is always close but they just beat me!
Emma, teacher and the Ready to Learn Mum
Buy some magazine files and put them by the front door or kitchen with your child’s name. Put their homework books or any letters into there as soon as you get home. So you know where everything is and you’ve probably glanced at it before you put it in. That way your always got a heads up about what’s happening and things don’t just die or get soaked/crushed/lost/destroyed in bottom of book bags!
Tooth brushes in downstairs loo. Game changer!
No pressure if your child turns up to school with toothpaste on their top or hair scruffy. Teachers are just pleased to see them. We know as many teachers are parents themselves, that have even already done the drop-offs to childminders, teeth cleaning and hair brushing hell… so don’t worry!
Also that time when your child is crying because they miss you, or you’ve had a row with them – then had to dash for work? It’s horrible, that guilt. We’ve been there too. We make sure they get that hug and reassurance that their parents love them and that they’ll see you later. They honestly are fine when you go and if they’re not, we promise to let you know.
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