Nothing gets the day off to a bad start more than rushing around, shouting at everyone to hurry up and children bickering as you bundle them into the car. Try our ‘School Morning Hacks’ for a more harmonious start to the day.
1. Get prepared – Make sure that anything that can be done the night before is done. Lunches can be prepared and ready in the fridge, clothes can be laid out and school bags packed. You could even lay the table ready for breakfast.
2. Personalised Pegs – Personalise a row of pegs so that each member of the household has their own and bags, coats, gym kits etc. are always easy to find. You could also put a box underneath each one for shoes.
3. Get yourself up early – Get up a little while before everybody else and get yourself ready in the peace and quiet of the house before the rush for the bathroom begins. This way you can oversee the smooth running of the morning routine with a cup of tea in hand!
4. Speedy breakfasts – Spend some time at the weekend making healthy breakfast muffins or oat and cereal bars that can be ready in tins to grab with a yogurt and glass of fruit juice for a fast, nutritious breakfast. If you have a smoothie maker, bag up portions of fruit or vegetables in the freezer that can be whizzed up in seconds, particularly for those who find it hard to get their ‘5 a day’.
5. Avoid wardrobe disasters – make getting dressed the last job of the morning. You won’t have time to find somebody another outfit if theirs end up with breakfast or toothpaste down it.
6. Turn off screens – Make a rule that nobody is allowed to watch television, play on computer games or use their mobile phones until they are completely ready. This will stop them losing track of time over breakfast and will also ensure that they are keen to get ready as quickly as possible.
7. Checklists – Create checklists for each child with all the things they need to do in the morning in a sensible order. (e.g. breakfast before cleaning teeth and getting dressed) These can be laminated and a pen attached to tick off each one as it’s completed. The final job on the list can be ‘quiet free time’ until it is time to leave.
8. Mean what you say – If somebody is dawdling and you threaten to make him or her walk if they are not in the car quick enough for example, then follow it through. Obviously this depends on the age of the child and the practicalities, which is why threats shouldn’t be made without thinking it through first. But if they know that your are serious, it shouldn’t happen for a second time!
9. Remember to praise – Have a reward system for those who are ready promptly. They could earn points towards a small treat at the weekend or a tasty snack for break time at school if they are the sort of child that needs to see a quicker pay off for their efforts!
10. Relax at the weekends – After the busy structure of the week, make time to have more relaxed mornings at the weekends. Enjoy leisurely family breakfasts and make the most of a less structured routine to spend some quality time with each other. Monday mornings come round again very quickly!