Struggling to get your mornings in order?
Are you always late for school?
Have school mornings become the cause of some serious anxiety?
Things were getting pretty bad when I realised things needed to change. My kids were getting to school late even though I was up 2 hours before we needed to leave.
Whats going wrong?
I sat down and thought about what was actually happening in the mornings and where we were going wrong. Below are some of the things that were NOT working:
1.Some days I was getting up late and then screaming at my kids to wake up from my own bed.
2. I was shouting at the kids to get out of bed. Not turning the lights on or opening the curtains/blinds and hoping they would get up and ready by themselves.
3. I used to iron the children’s clothes in the morning. Realising only in the morning how dirty they were as they didn’t get changed until well after dinner.
This could easily take half an hour in the morning. Cleaning any stains off with a damp cloth as well as ironing could further waste time.
4.The children always had breakfast in front of the TV. This was becoming a bigger issue day by day. The children were not eating being so fixated on the screen.
The kids would be zoned out. They wouldn’t respond to me talking to them they were literally zombies when the TV was on.
5. The children wouldn’t be able to find matching socks in the morning. I was just dumping the socks into their drawers without pairing them. This was giving the kids yet another excuse to dawdle.
6. I was screaming at the kids at least ten times to brush their teeth every single morning.
The Kids just didn’t seem to get how important it was. When they did brush they didn’t spend enough time so it looked as though they hadn’t even bothered.
Brushing hair by the front door and not being able to find even 1 of the 6 million hair brushes we own. The girls screaming as I was late and trying to get it done quickly.
7.Not being able to locate school shoes. The children were throwing their shoes under the stairs in a very dark cupboard with no light.
Trying to find 5 pairs of very similar looking shoes was turning into a nightmare. It taking a huge chunk of my time in the morning.
8. Fumbling with snacks that need to go in lunchboxes. The children would moan about what they wanted for snacks and would keep changing their minds.
9.Another problem was Not being able to find water bottles in the morning and the children leaving them at school.
Trying to locate another few bottles was becoming challenging and sometimes they would go to school without water.
10.Everyone would suddenly need the toilet before we left for school and one kid would set the other off.
One child would run to the upstairs loo and then complain of constipation. which would add at least another 10mins of waiting around
11. Getting myself ready after the kids. This was taking a lot longer then it would have done if I did not have the constant interruptions of ‘I can’t find my jumper’ or ‘someone is in the toilet’.
Running around like a headless chicken. This would mean on some occasions I would forget to use the toilet. Remember only to go, once I was on the school run.
12. Not cleaning as I was going was also becoming a big issue. There would be breakfast plates everywhere, old lunch just left on the counters and mess everywhere.
This was causing problems as I couldn’t find anything. If I had put things away it would have saved me precious time.
I was coming home to a bombsite. I was feeling like an awful mom for yelling at the kids in the morning. This would affect my mindset for the rest of the day.
Looking back, I can’t believe the mayhem that the mornings had become. So, last year I put a few things into place which made my mornings a lot more organized and stress-free.
Below are the things that I implemented to make what seemed like a mammoth task manageable:
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Set a bedtime
My kids have always had a set bedtime. The night routine starts at 6:30 pm which includes baths, brushing teeth and having a story.
I aim to have my younger three children in bed by 7-7:30pm and my older 2 in bed between 8-8:30pm. This may sound early but the children need a good night’s sleep as they get up at 6;30am
Setting a bedtime for myself has been life-changing. I was getting into an awful routine of falling asleep in front of the TV most nights. This would mean I was getting up at 2am to go to sleep in my own bed. Broken sleep is not good for anyone.
Making a point of being in bed by 10 pm. whether I was tired or not has really helped me unwind and fall asleep earlier.
This helped me relax and ultimately fall asleep. Sleeping much earlier than if I had been watching a movie into the early hours.
Lunch box prep
I always prepare lunches before bedtime, I add all snacks and fruit and even fill up the children’s water bottles.
Obviously, some things can’t be made the night before. I pack everything else that needs to go in before school including all snacks and water bottles.
This way if they have forgotten their bottle you have time to arrange something to send the kids with.
I now keep 2-3 spare plastic bottles at home. I can send with them in case more then one child has left it at school.
Tidy the night before
Another thing we have implemented is tidying the house thoroughly after dinner. I load the dishwasher, hoover and give the surfaces and cooker a wipe down.
I get the children to tidy the toys away and clear the hallway. This means that when I get in after the school run, I have very few chores to do and can get straight to work.
Kids put their dishes in the sink
I always get the younger children to put their dishes in the sink. The older kids can put their plates directly into the dishwasher.
Just getting them to do this simple task means that surfaces will appear much cleaner and tidier. Its less work for me when I get home from dropping the children to school.
Pack school bags the night before
I get the children to pack their school bags the night before school. I make sure they have all the correct equipment and homework for school the next day.
The worst thing is trying to look for a book just before we leave for school. This will also give you a chance to check any correspondence you may have from the school. It’s also a good time to empty out any old work that the children no longer need.
Keep calm and carry on
Try and avoid shouting and yelling in the morning.
You can adopt some simple breathing techniques if it just gets too much. When I was yelling at the kids I was feeling awful the whole day. Now my routine is a lot better I don’t feel the need to shout (as much!)
I have also adopted a new policy of giving each one of my children a hug and a kiss in the morning. Telling them I love them.
When mornings had become so stressful, I was just ticking boxes.focusing on getting the kids out the door and lost the personal connection with my beautiful children.
As they leave the car for school I always tell them ‘have a great day’. This makes my children feel loved and special.
Allow 10-15 minutes to get the kids out of the door
ALWAYS allow 10-15 minutes to actually leave the house.
This is where we always lost the most time. It would take me 15 mins to get all the kids into the car and buckle all the seatbelts.
In the winter months, I would leave even earlier to allow me time to de-ice the car.
You can also teach the children to buckle themselves in which has been an absolute lifesaver. It means I don’t have to climb right into the back of the car to do it.
Unload and start loading dishwasher
I always unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning, and my kids know the saying ‘load as you go’.
I cannot deal with a sink full of dishes. I can get straight to work when I get in without worrying about cleaning.
Get dressed, brush teeth and take care of yourself first
Get up 15 minutes before the kids and get in the shower.
Usually, I brush my teeth while I am in the shower just to save time. I quickly get changed and put on some very light makeup.
I am now ready to wake the children and I now never forget to go to the toilet!
Put the laundry in the night before
I recently discovered that my washing machine has a delayed timer which has been an absolute godsend.
Even if you don’t have a machine that does this, you can load the laundry. It will be ready to be switched on as soon as you come downstairs first thing in the morning.
It will be ready to be hung out to dry or popped into the tumble drier as soon as you get in from the school run.
Get rid of electronics at breakfast time
Getting rid of electronics, TV, tabs etc has made the biggest impact on my children’s’ concentration in the morning.
I am no longer battling with the television for their attention and they are eating breakfast a lot faster.
Iron all clothes on the weekend
I find that ironing all the uniform on the weekend means I am saving lots of time in the mornings.
The children know exactly where the uniform is and can access it quickly.
Get the children to hang their uniforms up everyday
I have got my children into a habit of getting changed out of their uniform as soon as they come home.
This way the uniform not only stays clean but is nicely hung up ready to be worn the next day.
Meals are at a set time
In our house meals are at a set time, breakfast at 7:30am, lunch at 12:30 and dinner at 5:30pm.
This means that the kids always know when they need to eat and gives me enough time to feed them, clean up the house and have them in bed on time.
Getting the older kids to help with the younger ones
Getting my older kids to put help the younger ones with shoes and coats has meant one less job for me to do in the morning. It saves time for me to lock down the house and quickly finish tidying the kitchen.
Empty school bags the night before and fill in permission slips
As soon as the kids come home they bring their dirty lunchboxes to the sink and put their backpacks by the front door.
This also gives me a chance to read any letters from school and sign permission slips although now its mostly done online I still check.
Put shoes somewhere easily accessible and have enough socks paired up for the week
I put all the shoes by the front door under the radiator ready for the next day so there are no problems finding them in the morning.
The children need to put their shoes on before breakfast with the exception of baby who has a habit of taking his shoes off.
I also make sure I pair up the children’s socks so they are able to quickly find them.
Kids need to go for a wee and brush their teeth before they leave the bathroom to get changed.
My older son takes a shower in the morning and I limit the time to 10mins and he needs to brush his teeth before he leaves the bathroom.
Set breakfast menu
Having a set breakfast means no arguments or fuss in our house the options are oatmeal or toast. With the majority opting for Oatmeal.
Brush hair before breakfast as part of the dressing routine.
I brush both girls hair before they come downstairs for breakfast.
The girls don’t have a choice of style it’s a simple ponytail or a braid, this way they are fully dressed and ready for school.
The bottom line
Since we implemented these points into our daily routine things have become much calmer in the mornings.
We now get to school on time without feeling stressed out and I am shouting far less then I used to.
Cleaning and tidying as I go has been the biggest help to me but I must stress that it is not something that comes naturally to me.
I genuinely have to work hard in order to keep my house tidy with 5 kids but it is doable.
Do you have any top tips that you have implemented to make school mornings smooth sailing. I would love to hear about them. Please comment below and let us know what they are.