One thing all parents with school-age children can relate to is the challenge of getting them up, fed and off to school in the morning. As the term ticks along, routine gets more lax and getting out of bed becomes less and less appealing. To avoid the daily chaos, put some structures in place to slow the school run rush – sooner rather than later.
“An on-time and organised child experiences less anxiety and stress during the school day,” says Riverside College’s primary school principal, Lynne Arbuckle. Parents can also avoid additional trips to school and rushed apologies to teachers if they work together with their children to slow the school run rush and develop a morning routine.
Each family has a unique morning routine. As your child’s workload and schedule expands, the skill of creating and sticking to a routine will aid their learning and independence. Ultimately, that’s our intention – to teach skills that will translate from school life to tertiary education and beyond.
Ms Arbuckle’s tips on how to slow the school run rush
Stay calm and carry on: Act preemptively; take a minute to talk to or cuddle your child as they wake up – this may prevent attention-seeking tactics that delay the process later. Similarly, try to remain calm – the more flustered and anxious you are, the more likely your child is to slow down. There will be days when your child is dreading going to school. Show sensitivity to this and you will find that things run more smoothly.
Appoint a rotating Director: If you have more than one child, rotate the position of morning Director – this person is responsible for making sure everybody gets what needs doing done. Incentives can include picking the music for that morning’s drive. If your children are learning to tell the time, incorporate this into the routine, get them to note increments of ten or fifteen minutes.
Lay it out like crime scene: Set out clean clothes, bags and books the night before in a designated spot near the door. Involve your children in packing everything they need the night before, teaching them to be aware of what’s required to fully participate in class and school activities. If your child leans towards forgetfulness, charts and to-do lists can help them learn to keep track of their belongings and responsibilities.
Be an enabler: Stock up on wholesome, easy-to-make breakfast foods and keep them in accessible places so that children can help themselves. They will practice independence and free up your time. School age children can stack their dishes in the sink or dishwasher, so make each one responsible for their own mess. It can be the Director’s duty to check that everybody is pulling their weight.