Time Management has always been something I have been good at.
But, somewhere between the fatigue and chaos of 6 kids, my ability to get things organised and sorted took a dive and school mornings lost their organisational edge.
Lets just say the kids were late to school a fair few times last year.
Being late here or there may not seem like much of a big deal, but lets just add up the figures for a moment…
The kids go to school approximately 210 days a year. Give or take.
Now imagine if you were 10mins late everyday for 210 days….
That’s 2,100 minutes of missed learning, which is the same as saying 35hrs of missed learning.
Now imagine what you could learn in 35hrs and remember kids learn way faster than adults do.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want to think about the days they were 20 or 30mins late.
So we’ve spoken as a family and decided that being late is not an option this year, which works for me and my anxiety, but also means maximum learning time for the MonsterSquad too.
Today I am sharing my top tips on how to get organised on a school morning to help get your kids out on time with the least amount of chaos possible!
1. HAVE A MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE:
Having a set out routine makes life easier for kids to see what needs to be done, and to know what is expected of them at particular times of the day. If you have a clear routine happening, and I suggest starting one now well before school goes back, it’s easy to make the following steps just a regular part of their day!
2. PUT UNIFORMS OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Make the job of putting tomorrow’s uniform (or clothes) out and ready for the following morning a part of your child’s everyday routine. We do it just before the MonsterSquad head to bed here at Chaos HQ and it literally takes 2mins for them to check the weather report and grab out what they need from our UNIFORM STORAGE SYSTEM.
It has eliminated the ‘What do I wear?’ arguments and saves a heap of time in a large family environment.
3. MAKE LUNCH-BOXES UP THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Lunch-boxes can be a nightmare if you’re juggling several kids of a morning and still need to be putting things together for them. I have found that making the MonsterSquad’s lunchboxes while they’re sitting down to Afternoon Tea works for us here at Chaos HQ.
I also pre-make and freeze an entire school term’s worth of sandwiches and snacks. This makes lunches quick and easy, especially if time is running short. Once I make the lunch-boxes up, I then keep them in the fridge ready to be packed in their bags the next morning.
4. SET CLOCKS 5-10MINS FAST FOR UNEXPECTED DELAYS:
I came across this beauty when we realised our kitchen clock had started running 10mins fast on it’s own! Setting your clocks 5-10mins early allows for any unexpected delays that often pop up on busy school mornings. When Eli was younger, it was not uncommon for us to be packing kids into the van to leave and he’d have a dirty nappy to change.
5. HAVE SCHOOL BAGS READY THE NIGHT BEFORE:
The last thing you need on your way out the door of a school morning is the whole “Mum!, I can’t find my reader!!!!”, or homework, or hat and so on. Trust me, I know this one all too well. So after homework time, I make sure the MonsterSquad pack their school bags up ready for the next day, so all they have to do is add their lunch-box and drink bottle of a morning.
We have a special School Bag Rack at Chaos HQ, which gives the kids a dedicated space to keep all the school belongings, and has been a total sanity saver for me. If you have forgetful little monsters, it can also help to write up a little checklist so they can be sure they have everything they need for the day.
Homework, Readers, Pencil Case, Books, Art Smock, Hat, Runners, and so on, whatever it is that your kids need! 😉
6. PLAIT LONG HAIR BEFORE BED:
If your girls have long hair and they don’t mind sleeping with it in plaits, I have found that brushing and plaiting the hair after their bath or shower or just before bed makes for less arguments and screaming fits in the morning. It often means that their hair just has to be neatened up or just needs a quick brush through instead of arguing with mini dreadlocks every morning.
I’m a big stickler for having hair tied back as dealing with Head Lice is my least favourite thing to do with school!
7. HAVE A SPECIFIC PLACE FOR SCHOOL SHOES:
I can’t count how many times we have had the age old argument of “I can’t find my school shoes’, I now have a dedicated place for the MonsterSquad to place their shoes as soon as they take them off each day.
Having that little cupboard, rack, tub, mat or so on to store them in/on also means that their is less chance of us TRIPPING OVER THE BLOODY THINGS!!!!
8. BEAT THE BUZZER:
Beat the buzzer is a great game to get the kids motivated of a morning. All you have to do is give a time limit for a certain task, and get them to race the buzzer!
For Example, if things like having breakfast is dragging out beyond belief, allow the kids a certain amount of time to eat it. 10, 15, 20mins, whatever fits into your morning routine, and set an alarm or timer to go off. Once the buzzer goes off, remove the breakfast, or start the next thing on your routine. Keep it moving and the kids soon learn to get a wriggle on!
It’s worked here, that’s for sure and you can use it for anything or any task!
9. BE MORE ORGANISED YOURSELF:
With this tip, I mean things like:
* Make sure the car has enough fuel in it so you don’t have to do it on the way to school.
* Fill out excursion forms and notices while the kids do their homework in the evenings.
* Use a calendar to record extra school activities and the things you will need for them like Swimming gear and so on.
I think you get the idea 😉
10. USE A REWARD/INCENTIVE SYSTEM:
Getting organised and teaching little people to be organised is a big job.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the failures of those ‘Mornngs from hell’, and I have let those kind of mornings ruin entire days in the past too. This year I’m more focused on rewarding the little successes. It doesn’t have to be huge, just something that shows the kids you’re proud of their efforts.
Our first incentive/reward I have set this school year is for the first full week of school. If the MonsterSquad follow their routines and help each other to get to school on time, I will take them all for a Milkshake up the main street. It’s something we never do and they’re totally excited about it.
Other incentives could include:
* Choosing the Movie Night Movie.
* Warm Milos & Mum time.
* Choose a craft activity.
* Family outings.
The ideas are endless. It doesn’t have to be weekly, just whatever works for your family!
I hope these tips and ideas have inspired you to get organised in 2014.
Remember though, Rome wasn’t built in a day and crap happens, so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t all happen over night. One late morning does not equal 35hrs of missed learning, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!