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3 Top Tips for surviving the school run

Thursday, 30 August 2012  |  Admin

If your little one is heading off to school for the first time and you're about to do the school run for the first time, then welcome to the club!!Before I had kids and actually did this myself, I didn't really 'get' the school run. I didn't appreciate that it is actually a feat of organisation which benefits from military precision and makes running the bulls at Pamplona look like a walk in the park!In an ideal world, everyone would get up in just the right amount of time before school (too early and they'll be gumpy later, too late and you'll be grumpy as you'll end up rushing because you're going to be late). You'd eat a healthy breakfast together, then make packed lunches while your child / children get dressed, brush their teeth and then get their shoes on, waiting patiently by the front door for you to grab keys for a leisurely walk to school.HA! Dream on...I don't know ANY Mums who sail breezily into school day in and day out. I consider it a good day if there are no raised voices (me or the kids) prior to the school drop-off. But 4 years in and we're definitely getting better. Here are my three top tips for a smooth school run:Get up earlyCaveat to say early enough to get everything you need done, without rushing.Rushing = stress = not a good start to the day.My no1 daughter has recently taken the baton of 'early rising child' in our house (her brother managed to pass this one seamlessly, without even one day of allowing us all to sleep to 7am) and she now gets up at 6am daily. Rather than moaning about it (well not all the time) I've started to get up with her. It gives me time to get breakfast out for everyone, get a load of washing on, get the packed lunches made - all BEFORE anyone else gets up. Generally that means I can have everyone fed and dressed well in advance of the time we need to go, meaning no last minute stress.Now 6am in pretty extreme, but if you find that you run short of time every day, just try getting up 15 mins earlier and see what difference it makes.Get what HAS to be done, done quicklyWe have a few rules in our house which make life easier. For example , everyone has to get dressed before breakfast. This works in our house as my kids are always ravenous for their breakfast and will co-operate on getting dressed so that they can eat. On the flip side, they might get breakfast on their school jumper but I can live with that.Tooth brushing is the other stress point. Of all my children, why is the 15 month old baby the only one who rushes to brush her 6 teeth in the morning? This used to cause no end of stress, so now the rule is that teeth need to be brushed as soon as breakfast is over, before they do anything else (like watch TV etc). Again, they want to get on and do something else, so they'll usually cooperate by brushing their teeth with a minimum of moaning.Weekly Extra-curricular activity scheduleAs soon as your kids get to school, things start to get complicated with extra-curricular activities. Add more children and things get seriously complicated. So to make life easy for my poor over-worked brain we have two copies of the weekly extra curricular activies in the house. One goes on the noticeboard in the kitchen so we can check at breakfast who needs what for that particular day. Then there's another copy of the same timetable in the porch on the back of the front door. That's the final check before we leave our house 'A, have you got your swimming stuff, trumpet and recorder?' This sanity check has prevented lots of teary 'I haven't got my kit / lunch box / trumpet' calls from school and subsequent cross journeys from me.If you're an old pro and have got some tips you'd like to share, please feel free to leave us a comment!

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