Simplifying the school run
When your kids start school or preschool it is a huge adjustment for everyone. Suddenly there are lunches to pack, uniforms to wash and your day is driven by the ring of the school bell as you buckle your booster seats to make it to school on time! You will eventually find your rhythm to get out the door on time, well on most days anyway, but the below tips will help you to get on your way.
Prep the night before
The mornings can be a rush! You need to ensure everyone is fed, dressed, packed and buckled safety into their booster seats before you race off to school. The key is to prepare as much as you can the night before:
- Pack lunches and pop them in the fridge. If you have multiple lunch boxes, you could even pack two days at a time to save you time.
- Wash and iron uniforms and lay them out for your little ones to get dressed in the morning.
- Empty the school bag of any notes etc. and have a defined spot that your child can keep their bag every night so they can easily grab on the way out the door each day.
Whatever you can do the night before will go a long way to simplifying your mornings. Then if you accidentally sleep through your alarm or have some other kind of hiccup along the way you are still on track to getting to school on time.
Empower your child
No matter what age your child is, there are ways that you can empower them in their morning school routine. For older kids, they can probably pack their own lunches, prepare their own uniforms and buckle themselves into their booster car seat. We always recommend the buckle and harness be checked by the parent. For younger kids, depending on their age and capability, here are a few ideas for how to empower them in their morning school routine:
- If they are not yet able to buckle their own booster seats, they can probably climb into the car and at least get their arms into the straps (if you are using a convertible booster seat). They can do this while you are putting bags etc. into the car so you can then buckle them safely into their booster and get on the road.
- Give them a list (a visual list will work for kids who aren’t yet able to read) for what to pack in their bags each morning. Include things like lunch box, hat, jacket, library bag etc.
- Teach them to get dressed by themselves. If their uniform has buttons or a tie, this can be a bit harder but teach them as you go and eventually they will get there.
- If they have younger siblings who will be joining you on the school run, they can probably help them to climb into their baby booster seat and get their arms into the straps so you can buckle and go.
As your child gets older they will be able to do more and more tasks in the morning… until suddenly one day you find that they don’t need you anymore at all! But that all starts with empowering them to take charge of what they can to be responsible for themselves.
Make it fun
If everyone is stressed and yelling then the school run is going to be miserable. Preparing the night before and empowering your kids in the process will go a long way to reducing the stress but there are still ways you can introduce a bit of fun into what is really just the daily grind.
Here are a few ideas for morning fun:
- Use a reward system in the mornings to get your kids ready on time. E.g. once they are dressed, hair and teeth brushed, bag packed etc. then they can have whatever time is left to play or draw. Try not to use TV as a reward because that can make it so much harder to drag them away!
- Make it a race out the door. Kids love a little competition so try to turn it into a race. If it is safe (i.e. your car isn’t parked on the main road) get them to race to the car. The first one buckled into their booster car seat (or at least sitting on it if they are too young to buckle it themselves) is the winner.
- Pop a note in their lunch box. It’s not specifically related to the school run but it’s something fun you can do (hopefully the night before) to keep the fun going throughout the day.
It gets the day off to a better start and the reality is that where the mornings are relaxed and fun, you will have a much better result than if everyone is yelling and upset. Reduce the stress on yourself and make the mornings fun - you will all be better for it!
Use kiss and drop
Kiss and drop is the dream for school parents! If your school has a kiss and drop then use it. It means that you don’t need to take any younger children out of their baby car seats to drag them into school and you can simply unbuckle your school kid from their booster, give them a kiss (if they will let you) and send them on their way.
In the afternoon, if there is a similar option for pick up then try it out. Often the end of school is when younger kids are having a nap so you may even be lucky enough to get to them sleep in their car seat and then all you have to do is open the door to you school kid and hope they don’t wake the baby!
At Mother’s Choice, while we can’t help you with packing lunches and washing uniforms, we do have a range of booster seats that will get your precious cargo to school safely. We’ll leave the rest in your capable hands!