Even though it happens every day of the week, the school run can be a nightmare. Getting everyone ready, breakfasted and out of the door in time for them to get to school and you to get to work – and without forgetting anything important – is an ongoing struggle. But there are a number of ways of making the school run stress-free… or at least a lot more relaxed. Here are our five top suggestions.
The whole family will benefit from being more organised for the morning rush. If you know you’ve prepared things the night before when you’ve got more time and are under less pressure, you can just get up and go, confident that the kids have got their healthy lunch, and packed their games kit, an object for show and tell, or anything else they’ve been asked to take to school. Get the kids into the habit of doing their homework as soon as they get home from school so there’s no last-minute panic at the breakfast table. And there’ll be no need for all that running around like a headless chicken looking for something even though you know it’s going to make you late.
If you live close enough to the school and don’t need to drive the kids there, walking can be a much less stressful way of travelling. Yes, it may take longer than driving on a good day, but how many times have you got stuck in heavy traffic, had to take a diversion because of roadworks, or had to wait for ages in a queue to get close enough to the school gates? Walking’s great exercise for the whole family and has some surprising health benefits, which include counteracting the effects of weight-promoting genes, reducing chocolate cravings and boosting your immune system – which will help the family dodge all the colds and illnesses that your kids are exposed to at school. Look for a route that uses footpaths and avoids roads as much as possible – especially main roads – which will make the walk much nicer and a lot safer. What’s more, you know you’ll always be on time because there’ll be virtually nothing that can hold you up, and if you leave the house a bit later than usual, well, all you have to do is walk a bit quicker and you’ll still be on time!
Going to bed at the same time every night and sticking to a bedtime routine will help your kids sleep better so they wake up refreshed and ready for the new day. In fact, the same applies to adults too, so it’s a good idea for everyone to keep to a routine. Screens play a massive role in sleep disruption as they all emit a strong blue light that tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime; they consequently suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that your body generates to help you get to sleep. So to stop the whole family tossing and turning all night then waking up late and in a bad mood, put all your devices away a couple of hours before bedtime and find other ways of relaxing, such as having a bath, reading a book, practising mindfulness, having conversations, etc.
There are no hard and fast rules about what works best when it comes to ways of motivating your kids to get ready in the morning so you can have a stress-free school run. It’s essentially a case of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t, so just keep trying till you find the solution that works for you.
If your schedule doesn’t allow you to organise a stress-free school run, then maybe it’s time to ask someone to help out. Hiring one of our Aunties or Uncles to help get the kids ready and take them to school will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders, giving you more space to concentrate on getting yourself ready for work in peace. It also gives you greater flexibility at work, so maybe you will be able to make that breakfast meeting the boss said was important after all. And having an Auntie or Uncle to collect the kids from school at the end of the day will help reduce your stress levels too – you’ll be able to avoid the possibility of getting held up at work or in traffic, so you won’t have to worry about turning up late and being told off by the teacher.