This September we're focusing on back-to-school - so here are ten tips for surviving the school run with a smile
The school run is one of the big parts of the school day; for parents, at least. Twice a day, every day you need to get them up and ready, out of the house and too and from school, come rain or shine and in good time.
For some parents it's an absolute breeze, but for others - us included - it can be a somewhat busy and stressful time when you're racing against the clock to ready children that suddenly develop the pace of a sleeping snail.
And while it might sound innocent, the school run is potentially packed with hidden surprises, playground politics and the ever-increasing potential to be late.
So to ensure you survive the school run intact, here are ten tips to help it speed by as smoothly as possible in our post on tips for surviving the school run with a smile.
Get everything ready the night before - books and bags, PE kit, homework, anything they might need. Lay out the uniform for them and even an outfit for you and keep toothbrushes downstairs if necessary. Make it as easy as possible so there's less rush.
As Gemma states in our post on tips for new school parents, each night write yourself a list of everything you might need the next morning and stick it on the fridge for the first few days (and weeks!).
Keep everything in one place. Get in the habit of having a place for everything related to school (uniform on the chair, shoes in a specific place, books by the door) and make sure your children put everything in it's place as soon as they walk through the door each evening. This way, it will all be there in the morning and you can find it quickly and stress-free.
Although don't worry about making youself look perfect. Wear a hat and a big coat and 'get dressed properly when you get home from the school run' says Kat from Kat Got the Cream.
Make time for breakfast. Although mornings can be busy, make sure everyone eats, well. In our post on what your child's teacher wants you to know, a nutritional breakfast is stressed as one of the most important things you can do to set the day up right for your child.
Leave enough time to get there. Mel from Mel Wiggin's tip is to either get to school a fraction early or late if you're driving, this way you beat the rush and have more chance of parking (read more here).
Buy a warm, waterproof coat (for you and them!) As Gill from A Baby on Board says, it is always raining on the school run, so this will at least keep you dry while you wait.
Always take a snack to pick-up. Children are tired and hungry after school, so a quick snack will give them the energy to get home (even if you live in the next street!) Molly from Mother's Always Right says that the post-school hunger can never be satisfied, a truth all parents of school-age children recognise.
Check their school bag every night for forms, letters, unexpected homework - this way there's no surprises when you're just about to leave the house.
Allow them lots of down-time in the evening. Don't feel guilty about letting them zone out and watch TV, they need it.
Don't over-schedule after-school activities, especially not in the first term. The school day is mentally and physically exhausting for children, especially in the first few weeks.