Is the morning routine a race in your house? Let’s face it, not everyone is a morning person, and even if you are, your kids might not be. Getting to school on time might be a perpetual challenge, or you might hit a rough period when, for whatever reason, it’s just tougher to get out the door on time than it used to be.
If you are looking for some strategies to keep your family organized and on time, we’ve got you covered. Below are suggestions from Lowell parents and teachers of kids age two and up—we hope you find a few tips that work for you!
Twelve Tips for Getting to School on Time
1. Be sure to take care of yourself and do what you need to do to feel ready for the day. What some of our parents do:
- “I have to prepare myself first! So obvious, but I’ll never forget when my second son was an infant, and I had to pack both kids up to drive the older son to preschool. I worked so hard to make sure they were ready, had the baby in the car carrier and older son all set with lunch and backpack, then realized that I was still in my pajamas when it was time to walk out the door.”
- “If I’m calm and together, it helps my son feel that way too—so I get up earlier than I need to for a bit of quiet ‘me’ time.”
- “I send [my son] out to the car first because he is a slower mover than me. Having a minute or two of quiet helps me make sure I’m remembering everything I need.”
2. Create a “launch pad” where you can put everything that needs to go out the door in the morning. Having a basket, special cubby, or closet near the front door helps your children identify what needs to get into their backpacks. Consider posting a checklist to help your kids remember the items they will need. The launch pad can help you stay organized, too—forms to return to school, special items that need to be delivered to the class, your own bag, etc. “Keeping that spot sacred and learning to check it each morning before you leave is key!” one parent urges.
3. Do as much as you can the night before. This is by far the most popular piece of advice from our parents and teachers—specifically:
- After dinner is finished, spend a few additional minutes packing your child’s lunch. Better yet, get the kids involved, too. Set up a drawer with easy-to-grab snacks and then put your child on the job of packing his/her/their lunch. They might really get into it (and therefore actually eat it!?) and, it saves you an extra step too. For more tips read The Zen of Making School Lunches.
- Lay out clothes the night before—including socks! This is especially helpful if you have a style-conscious child. One of our parents shares, “Knowing that the options have been pre-selected and are ready to slip on will make the morning run so much more smoothly (and then that leaves time for determining the right accessories!).”
4. Establishing routines—and sticking to them—is a game changer. This includes establishing a regular bedtime. If everyone can go to bed early (easier said than done, we know!), waking up early isn’t as bad. In the morning, make sure everyone knows what should happen when—for example, dress for school and walk the dog before breakfast or vice versa. Whatever makes sense for your family.