Morning or afternoon, the school-run can be incredibly stressful (it’s apt that I’m always running to make the school-run on time, and it’s a ten minute drive away) but lately I’ve switched up mine and my kids’ routine (they are 8 and 6) and (no exaggeration), it’s CHANGED our lives.
The kids are not as stroppy, we all get quality time together before school starts and I’m not running as much!!!
This is what I’ve been doing to make life feel easier. I hope it helps you too.
1. Prepare as much as possible from the night before. I tend to do this for a few days or weeks at the start of every term then become slacker and slacker as time goes on. Well, not anymore. I now make sure the kids take full responsibility over their school uniform and homework every single night (something I should have done a long time ago rather than chasing up after them) and this is the drill…They change into comfy clothes the second they set foot through the door after school (placing any dirties in the wash basket in their bedroom) and their shoes are placed by the door for the following day so that’s ticked off the to-do list. School bags with homework go back by the door too once any work is completed after dinner too. Clean school uniform is laid out in the lounge ready for the next day and anything which needs replacing (ie dirty trousers happens too). If you think that’s organised, I have friends who even pop the toothpaste on the kids’ toothbrushes from the night before (!) but we’ve not reached that level of organisation, yet. Snacks in bags are prepped in advance though, and anything extra needed for French or Sports Clubs after school for example make their way to our hallway, too. This short prep time really does save masses of stress in the morning so do try it.
2. Going to bed early. My kids never want to sleep but pushing bedtime an hour earlier has meant happier children who have more sleep and extra time in the morning as they rise earlier. It took a week to get them used to the new routine but even sleeping half an hour earlier has helped.
3. No tech in the week bar doing homework on the computer. Gadgets be gone. They watch TV but they don’t play games which affect brain activity and prevent sleep. Computer games increase adrenaline too with no release and I’ve noticed happier children now that’s limited in the week with an hour each on Saturday and Sunday.
4. More sport. I’ve upped sport after school whether that’s a long walk or after school clubs to help them release energy and feel pleasantly tired by bedtime. It’s also increased appetite so more clean plates and less waste.
5.Waking up an hour earlier than usual on a morning has made the greatest difference so if you do just one thing, make it that. Oliver, 8 tends to naturally wake up around 6am, whatever time he’s slept the night before but Xander loves a lie-in so has been hard work to crack with the earlier morning tim but we’ve got there now! I tend to wake both boys up around 6.30-7am meaning the mornings are now not as rushed as before, as we don’t need to leave home until 8.20am. The kids get to eat a leisurely breakfast together and chat to me (often opening up over food) and they choose a cartoon to watch before going through their checklist and homework if needed, before we enjoy the walk to the car. I love that we get to connect on a morning as it really sets us all up for the day and I equally love not constantly shouting, ‘Get your shoes on, we’re going to be late’ as we are all less pressured. Arriving early to school has also meant being able to catch up with other parents properly, rather than me rushing in and out. I’ve even scheduled in a chat with the teacher on a morning which was far easier than coming in after school.
Small changes: a big difference.
No more ‘moody mornings’ here. Not often anyway!
I hope these tips can help you too.