The two or so hours between 7am alarm clock and 9am school bell on the first day of first term is perhaps the most frantic and emotional 120 minutes of the year. Tired and uncooperative children, missing shoes and socks, uneaten breakfasts, unbrushed teeth, tears (from parents and child), lunches and misplaced car keys are a combination that leave children and parents alike frazzled, almost before the day has begun. So, with ‘back to school’ just around the corner, we’ve put together 10 tips to make sure the school run does actually run smoothly.
1: Start getting the children into a good night-time routine.
If your children have been staying up gradually later and later during the holidays, start getting them into an ‘early to bed’ routine in the week leading up to school.
2: Talk the plan over with the kids the night before.
Before the children go to bed, have a chat with them about the next morning’s plans and their school day. Make sure they know what time they’ll need to be up, what they’ll have to do to get ready in time, and what they’ll be doing at school.
3: Plan the route to school.
If your children are starting school for the first time or going to a new school, make sure you’re familiar with the route and the drop off zones at the school. Drive it during the holidays, taking the one way streets, main roads and dead ends into account.
4: Pack lunches the day before.
In fact, do whatever you can the night before – make lunches, fill water bottles, iron clothes and make sure uniforms and school sports gear is ready and packed. To keep sandwiches fresh overnight, pack them into a small plastic lunchbox and pop them in the fridge or freezer. It’s sometimes the last thing you want to do in the evening but it’s far easier to make a sandwich when the kids are asleep than when you’re calling out instructions and trying to butter toast at 8am.
5: Make sure school equipment is charged.
With children often needing iPads or laptops at school, making sure they’re charged and ready in the morning as this is one of the easiest things to forget.
6: On the first day, set the alarm for 20 minutes earlier.
There will be inevitably be dramas and problems on the first school morning. Factor them into your timeline by giving yourself and the children an extra 20 minutes or so, so you’re not arriving at school half way through the first lesson.
7: During the morning, give children a five minute warning for each new task.
To ensure your children don’t spend 30 minutes putting on one sock, give them a 5 minute notice of the next task to be performed.
8: Set an alarm for 5 minutes before you’re due to leave.
Keep the loiterers and slowcoaches in line by setting an alarm for 10 or 5 minutes before you and the children need to leave the house.
9: Have tissues and wipes in the car.
You often don’t notice a runny nose, breakfast crumbs or sticky fingers until you’re on your way to school. You want to be heading to school, not a shop or a public bathroom!
10: While you’re waving goodbye, make sure they’re not scratching.
Summer is head lice season. Make sure the kids go back to school head lice and nit free, If you spot any of the head lice signs then it’s time to take action and stock up with a once off 10 minute Licener Treatment.