If you’ve got school-aged kids, after this weekend the party is over. That is, if the party hasn’t ended already. It’s back-to-school time and even if you’ve already bought the new crayons, fresh underwear, cool backpacks and breakfast bars your kids will need, there’s one big thing you can’t really prepare for until the big day: getting out the door.
For some of us, the morning rush is a bigger challenge than the birth, breastfeeding, Mommy & Me classes and potty training combined. A quirky personality here, a late sleeper there, a missing shoe/forgotten water bottle/missing homework(!) can totally sink the mothership.
Jenifer Monroe, writing for BlogHer.com and republished at TodayMoms, has 10 smart tips.
She wisely breaks it down to Night Before and Day-Of stuff. She includes the usual: pack lunches (though I’m a day-of lunch packer … I can explain*), set out backpacks and shoes next to the door, lay out clothes the night before.
The Day-Of stuff includes getting up and getting dressed, breakfast (she offers two choices rather than asking, “What do you want?”), passing out medicines, giving 10- and 5-minute warnings.
All very good. Here’s where her advice is excellent:
1. Stay calm. This is very, very difficult if you feel time-pressure like I do (thanks to my Midwestern roots, 5 minutes early feels actually late to me). I sometimes look at my kids with disbelief. How do they not feel the panic of minutes just slipping by? Why choose now to change the laces on your shoes — car’s pulling out in 3 minutes! But if I embrace the panic, I start snapping (fine, yelling) and then we have tears (not always mine!) and then it just makes for a crappy drive and drop-off. Which leads me to Monroe’s next genius advice …
2. Don’t worry about the straggler. She has a son who hated school and said, every morning, he wasn’t going. Her response? “OK then …” and she’d finish getting everyone else ready. When it was time to leave, he’d be at the door. She’d hand him a slice of toast and they were off. I took that tact this morning with my 5-year-old (who rejected the clothes she laid out last night and was naked until three minutes before we left). Instead of panic, threats and inevitable tears, we were both smiling as if that’s how we always did things. The best part? I felt like Supermom and I did nothing.
3. No electronics until everyone — EVERYONE! — is ready. We’re not a TV in the a.m. kind of group, but I extend this to no toys or distractions of any kind in the morning until we’re all ready to go.
4. Sync up your timepiece with the school’s clocks. Those school secretaries with their tardy charts? They own the whole family now.
5. Get yourself ready before you start on the kids. This is a tough one, especially since in my tiny house, getting ready would wake the kids up and defeat the strategy. But I work from home so I can always breathe my dragon breath on the kids and anyone else unlucky enough to talk face-to-face with me — and brush or shower later. What I DO make the a.m. priority, however, is coffee. Set up the night before.
And now we’ve come full circle.
Comment with your best out-the-door tips, too, please.
* Soggy PB & J and cold-air hardened bread: ew. I pack what I can the night before, have one of the kids fill the water bottles, and then put together a fresh sandwich in the morning. Supermom, like I said.