A couple of months ago, everything changed, my little Dottie started school. My baby is no longer at home with me, she is firmly ensconced in the education system. I have always felt that 4 is too young, but it is the way it is in this country, and I know that home schooling is not for me, or for my children. So at the beginning of September, off we marched, school uniform on, pack lunch in hand and tears hidden behind a brave smile. My tears that is. Dottie was fine, she is doing so well, I am incredibly proud of her, I think having seen her big sister go to the same school since she was born has really helped her get in the swing of things straight away. But life has changed forever for us both.
I know it will get easier, after all I have been through it before, but I miss her like crazy, she is such good company and of course gives the best cuddles. And actually I need some time for me again, time to look after myself, time to blog and time to work. So it begins with a blog post. I would like to say that I am back regularly, but I can’t promise, the house renovations still aren’t finished and even when the builders leave there are all those jobs I have been putting off for months, maybe even years. The ones that you can’t really do with little people around. What I will say, is that the intention is there, and I have posts lined up, a bit like those jobs, ones I have wanted to do for ages, so even if it is a slow trickle to start, I am hopeful to be here certainly more than I have been of late.
Today is one of those posts, something I wanted to write when Dottie started school, because after six years of school mornings, I know how stressful it can be getting the kids out the door without tantrums and tears, and that’s just me! I feel that I have finally got it down pat, but it has taken a while, I won’t lie, there was a point where I wondered if I would ever feel relaxed on a school day. This post will probably be a little controversial with the trend for all things slow, but it is how I survive, what works for me in making the school morning as stress free as possible. And just a word of warning, these will not be for everyone, for me, it is about routine, that’s what works for me and my girls, so if you are the free spirit that I always aspire to be, then you might want to give the rest of this post a miss.
Everything in it’s place and a place for everything
When the girls get in from school, all their belongings (and mine) get put back where they belong:
- School bags
- Packed lunch box
I know from experience, that desperately trying to find where one of them left their shoes, when you are supposed to be leaving the house, doesn’t make for a happy start to the day. It doesn’t matter if that place is a cupboard or a spot on the kitchen floor, just as long as they are always put there so everyone knows where to find them in the morning.
The night before
I don’t know about your child’s school, but it seems to be quite regularly that they are asked to take in something random or dress in their pjs, or bring in a cake. In which case, anything extra I also get ready the night before, if the girls need to take something in for a project, I put it with or in their bags.
Packed lunches are the bain of my life, I’m not sure what it is, but I don’t enjoy making them at all, so again, I prep as much as I can the night before to save time in the morning.
Finally, I make sure we all have our clothes ready and laid out for the next day. Yep, I know this one sounds particularly geeky, but I don’t know about you, I don’t want to be scrambling round for something to wear when I am in a rush, and quite honestly, the longer I can spend in bed the better so any extra time in the morning is a bonus.
Getting up earlier than the kids
As per my previous point, I am not a morning person, and I fought this for years, but actually by getting up earlier, and making sure I am showered, dressed, etc, it makes for a calmer morning for everyone. It also means I don’t have to panic that I will have to leave the house in my underwear because I am trying to sort out an issue with the girls rather than get myself ready! However, I appreciate that some of you have five am risers and no-one wants to get up before that time of the morning!
This might not be for you, but the getting up earlier bit means I have time to meditate for 15 minutes, and yep, it really does make a difference. A calmer Mum equals calmer kids.
I am currently using an app called Calm, which for me personally is the best one I have found so far.
Our Morning Routine
The next bits might be harder to enforce, but for me it really does make a difference:
- No tv before school – I am a bit of a tyrant when it comes to TV anyway, but no-one wants to lose their kids to the technicolour world of the digital screen before they have to leave for school. I don’t know about you, but my children turn into zombies when a screen is on.
- My girls get dressed, do their teeth and have their hair done before they come down stairs in the morning. I figure that going hungry because they are messing around is better than going to school in their PJs, and worst case, it is a bit of toast on the way.
- I encourage Dottie to stay in her room until I go in, with little ones, if they start going awol you might never get them dressed. She looks at books or plays for a few minutes, or if I’m very lucky just stays in bed. Because she is used to this, and it has always been her routine, it probably does make it easier I admit.
As I mentioned at the start, this might not be for everyone, and the routine that works for you, will be different for one that works for others. But as my friend coincidentally mentioned this morning (he didn’t know I was planning this post), his partner struggles because she doesn’t do the school mornings very often and therefore doesn’t have a routine, hence she finds it all pretty stressful.
Anyway, I will leave it at that, most of what I wrote, is probably blindingly obvious but if not, then hooray! And if you have any tips that help you, I would love to hear them too.
Have a great week.