School mornings! It doesn’t matter if you have one child or 4+ – it is hectic. There’s so much to do in so little time.
Here’s how I organise myself and four children on those busy school mornings.
Routine, routine, routine
Children thrive on routine. School itself is mainly routine base so why not have the same at home in the lead up to school. Set up your school morning routine as soon as your child starts school then as they get older they can do more and more themselves to get ready. While the children are younger, I like to use picture-based lists, so they know what the next step is.
In general, our routine looks like this (we have about an hour to get ready for school):
B1 & B2 pack bags
B1 & B2 get dressed and are ready
I get dressed/ready
I get B3 dressed/ready
I get B4 dressed/ready
Ever had four kids in the bathroom trying to brush their teeth……
Yeah – doesn’t work!
If you have more than one child, consider staggering your morning so at any given time there are usually only one or 2 children doing the same thing.
Getting up in our home is where the staggering begins, and it just flows onto the other steps from there.
The baby and I get up first – when he wakes up, usually around 7.30am. This gives me time to have a cup of tea and make sure his breakfast is underway before the older boys wake up.
Next B2 and B3 get up, by the time I wake them I’ve already prepared their cereal and the baby is already eating his.
B1 gets up last and prepares his breakfast.
Even though they get up in stages, we all still have time where we are together over breakfast to talk about the day ahead.
B1 finishes his breakfast first so moves on with the routine, then by the time B2 finishes B1 is already 1 step ahead of him, so they are never in the same area together which mean fewer arguments!
I set this up last year, and it is the best thing I’ve done. Before this bags were dumped on the floor and emptied all over the house, things were always getting lost and disorganised.
I made this with some storage cubes. It sits in our main entrance so regardless of if we come in through the front door or garage – it’s there!!!
We also have a copy of the school calendar in this area to keep track of important school events.
B1 and B2 have the same setup. A blackboard is showing them on what day they do certain activities at school, so they know what to pack.
Next goes their bag – at the end of the day, their bag is unpacked. Lunchbox emptied, lunchbox in the kitchen drawer everything else goes in the dishwasher to be washed. Homework folders in the homework folder “locker” and notes put in the note tray.
They each have a “locker” for sports gear and shoes. Once they’ve played sport for the week I wash the uniform, fold it and put it in here so it can always be found.
Finally is their “bucket” for holding school hats, ties and anything else they might take out with them but not necessarily to school (watch, sunglasses etc.).
B3 and B4 have a different setup.
B3 has his bag. Next for B3 is his library bag and books. Then B3 has his shoes and finally his “bucket” with hats and sunglasses etc.
B4 has his bag; next are my shopping bags, then we have the “homework locker” where B1 and B2 put their homework folders and finally B4 keeps his shoes and hats in his “bucket”.
I’ve used a snack/recess box for years.
In here are all of the items the boys can have at school. They must take their sandwich, a piece of fruit from the fruit bowl and up to 3 snacks.
There are a mixture of healthy snacks and some special treats like chips (tip: rather than buying snack size bags, buy a bigger one and sandwich bags – there’s several dollars difference which adds up throughout a year).
All I have to do in the morning is put the box on the kitchen bench.
Each child has an electric toothbrush (thanks Mum!!!), and because they’re all different ages, they all have different toothpaste. I get B3, and B4’s ready for them and B1 and B2 do it themselves.
The genius thing here is – each of the toothbrushes are on 2-minute timers (including my own), the three older boys know they have to brush their teeth as long as the timer. When mine goes flat, if theirs haven’t – they’re not brushing long enough. As they each have their toothpaste, I can see how much is being used.
Plus, we have a competition. The kids each get a number depending on when they brush their teeth; if they go first, they get number 4, 2nd number 3, 3rd number 2 and 4th number 1. At the end of the week we tally up the numbers, and the winner gets to pick a prize from our “prize box”.
All school clothing is kept in one area of their wardrobes, or if I haven’t had a chance to put it away yet, I put it on their dining room chair the night before.
Leaving on time
As with everything else, getting in the car is done in stages to prevent arguments and to make sure children aren’t running around in the front yard. B1 goes first, B4 goes 2nd, B3 is next and then B2. They know their order and line up at the door accordingly.
So, there you have it! School mornings don’t have to be chaotic. With a little organisation, you to can have it all under control.
What tips do you have to organise your school mornings?
Kirsty is the founder of That Noise Is Mine.
An established blogger, writer and business owner raising 4 children independently. Kirsty is determined to succeed in this new life forced upon her.