We are officially shocking at school mornings! It is the part of the day where I’m most likely to lose the plot and feel like an incompetent parent. I’m typically shouting “Where is your other shoe?” while downing a cup of coffee and wrestling a small un-cooperative person into a pair of pants. Sofia has only just started school when the twins were born and it is a miracle that she ever got to school during her reception year. We tend to be better at the start of term as the term goes on we get more and more chaotic. Now the boys are at pre-school we have the 3 kids to get up and out of the house – it is messy!
They have a late book at my daughter’s school. You need to sign your child in plus give a reason for your lateness. I’m never sure what to write “bad at life” “general incompetence.” There are so many things that make our school mornings go pear shaped.
#1 Getting up late
Our official getting up time is 7.30. Sleeping through the alarm or somehow falling back to sleep equals disaster! Any messing around eats up time you don’t have, making me extra grumpy and tense. The kids will refuse to eat their cereal because they are being rushed. The twins will decide to sit on the potty forever. It will all descend into tantrums and shouting!
#2 We are not morning people
If we need to wake the boys up they tend to be quite stroppy. They are spoiling to fall out over the smallest things – “your chair is too close to mine” “I want to read the cereal box”. Sofia can be super lively or really tired depending on how much sleep she’s had. I need to warm up for the day and am not very cheerful before a caffeine fix. Rolando moves very slowly and is not very communicative. I sometimes let the kids watch a TV show on the Ipad in the morning. This does minimise the squabbling but does also slow down getting ready as everyone is glued to the screen.
#3 Lack of preparation
Forgetting to switch on the dishwasher or tumble dryer the night before totally scuppers the morning. There is nothing worse than all of the stuff that you need for breakfast still being dirty or school uniform not being dry. I’m also very lax at packing bags and prepping uniform the night before.
#4 Dressing drama
There is a 50/50 chance of the boys cooperating with getting dressed. The twins are genuinely more willing put on their clothes if we give them choices (Do you want to put your pants on first or your vest? Do you want to wear your blue tshirt or the yellow one?). Doing this with both of the boys is effective but takes ages. The less time that you have the more likely it is that one of the boys will have a meltdown and refuse to put on their clothes. Other sources of screaming include refusing to put shoes or coat on.
#5 Lost things
Shoes hide in the morning. I think it is a kind of kid footwear conspiracy to try and break rushed parents. The socks like to get in on the act too, there are socks all over our house until 8.00 in the morning and they all disappear. Other things that we tend to lose are my daughter’s recorder, PE kit, reading books, learning log, clothes for dance and school forms (I longing for the day when permission slips can be done electronically).
#6 Train barrier
We have a level crossing close to our house. This is the final hurdle for our school morning. It is always closed when we are running late. If you ever want to test how patient you are wait for a level crossing to open multiple times a day.
Trying to be better
I know that we could make our school mornings run a bit more smoothly or at least reduce the chances of them being a total disaster. I think there are a few things that we can do to get our mornings back on track.
Much as I love to squeeze in as much sleep as possible I think it would help to wake up at least 10 minutes earlier than the kids. If I had a few moments before the kids got up I might be a little bit more organised and human. Even if the morning goes very wrong at least I’ll have had a moment of calm before the chaos.
Prepare all of the kid’s stuff and breakfast the night before – I totally know that this would eliminate a lot of our morning problems but I’m usually dog tired by the end of the day so all good intentions of getting organised often go out of the window. Maybe if I packed up the kids bags at tea time the previous day I might be able to do this routinely.
The calm after the storm
The silver lining of our morning chaos is that I enjoy the quiet time after the school run. Once I get back home I feel like I’m starting the morning again. I have breakfast and a shower and get set up for the day.
What things derail your mornings? Do you have any tricks that make your mornings run smoothly?