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03 November 2023

How To Leave For The School Run With Less Stress

Almost everyone that has had kids will know the feeling of frantically shouting, “shoes!” at your little one in a vague attempt to get them out of the house on time and on their way to school. Whether this is a regular occurrence in your house, or you’re fortunate that this is an infrequent happening, school run mornings can be stressful. However, there are certainly things that can be done to make leaving the house for school less stressful.

It is possible to make leaving for the school run less stressful

Want to make your school day mornings less stressful and more serene? Here are my top tips for keeping the peace and getting out of the door on time:

1. Get everything ready the night before

Of all of the tips I can give this is the big one. It goes without saying that one of the easiest ways to eliminate stress is to get as much ready the night before as you can. 

It’s no coincidence that almost all of the articles you read on how to make the school run less stressful will involve this tip of getting as much prepared the night before as possible, as it really is true that preparation is key! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll have time to do it in the morning; if something unexpected crops up, it will eat up your time to get ready.

So what does this look like? It could mean preparing, among other things, the following:

  • Packed lunches and snacks (keep the lunchbox in the fridge over night). 
  • Pre-ordering any cooked dinners, if applicable.
  • Laying out uniform.
  • Sorting any special equipment, e.g. PE kits, gardening gloves and welly boots for forest school, harvest festival or PTA donations etc.
  • Packing school bags with anything required, e.g. school diaries, a sun hat / woolly hat if applicable, homework and reading books etc.

On top of everything required by your children for their day, remember to prepare for your own day ahead too. Particularly if you work outside of the home, you may need a lunch for yourself, plus the likes of your laptop, purse, work pass, travel pass etc; make sure to have all of your things packed and ready to go, too. Not only will this set a good example for your children, but it will also make for a smooth morning ahead of your working day.

2. Sign any forms as soon as you receive them

Hand in hand with preparing the night before is signing any forms as soon as you receive them and actioning anything that needs to be returned to school on receipt. Whether your school operates a digital form system on an online platform or sends home paper forms, make sure to action them when you get them, paying for any trips or other activities as soon as possible, too. Add the events to your calendar at the same time. This will ensure that you’re not scrabbling around completing forms or looking for change on the very morning that it’s needed.

3. Keep a note of special events…and a pot of change by the door!

Keep a note of all of school’s special events, such as non-uniform days, school trips and World Book Day events, somewhere handy, such as a paper or online calendar, or a diary, and check it regularly. If using a digital diary, you may even be able to set up reminders of these events ahead of time. Make sure you know what is happening when, so that you’re not trying to fashion a last-minute fancy dress outfit out of what you have available at 7:45am, or scrabbling around for that onesie that you’ve forgotten to wash.

Going hand in hand with this is keeping a pot of change somewhere accessible so that you can grab a pound coin or similar as and when required. At particularly busy times of year, such as Christmas and the end of the summer term, having change that you can dip into for non-uniform days and similar makes life in the mornings a lot easier!

4. Work with your child’s personality type

If your child is an early bird, it may well be the case that as they get older you can give them a little bit of independence and responsibility, such as getting them in the habit of making their own breakfast. Alternatively, if your child likes to have a lie in, be up before them in order to wake them up as necessary or have a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast readily available for them to eat in a jiffy.

5. Stick to a routine

Of course, we all have mornings where unexpected things crop up, but where possible, try to stick to a routine. This will make the mornings much more predictable for all concerned and will hopefully help the children to know what is expected of them and when. Some children respond really well to a picture schedule, so consider making one of these if you feel it would help (you can buy ready made ones on Etsy).

6. Do a final double check

Just before heading out the door, do a final double check of everything. You may want to keep a checklist somewhere close to the door to make sure you have everything; a whiteboard or chalkboard is handy for writing any notes on of things that are happening that day that differ from the norm, so that you don’t forget about them.

7. Keep calm…it’s only the school run!

And lastly, although I know this isn’t always the easiest thing to do, keep as calm as possible. You will have days when everything goes smoothly, and you’ll have other days where you’ll need to turn back around half way down the road because little Johnny has forgotten that they need to take in 12 toilet rolls and an empty box of tissues for junk modelling. Such is life. We can’t always get it right, because we’re only human. But hopefully a little preparation will go a long way!

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