The children headed back to school and preschool today after two weeks of holidays. We thoroughly enjoyed rising at any time (me with the first child of the day, which was at least 45 minutes later than usual ), but it did mean that it was an effort being organised and out of the house on time today.
To improve on todays’ efforts I went back to a previous post of mine about school morning organisation to give myself a bit of a refresher and thought I would share it with you!
(1). Set bedtime
Having an age appropriate bed time for the kids, means they get the sleep they need to actually wake up of their on accord and are refreshed for school. They wake up happier and are easier to manage.
(2). Table set for breakfast
We have the table set for breakfast, including the cereal boxes on the table before we go to bed at night. Dad is usually the first to have breakfast and will put the milk on the table. As the children wake at different times, this enables them to easily serve themselves. The older children will now cook themselves a hot breakfast on most mornings.
(3). Lunch box preparation
I have the lunch boxes set out on the bench and will put in any items that are non perishable in the night before. For example, I will put crackers in containers, cut up fruit and place in containers in the fridge and use the wraps to package up any homemade food for the kids lunch boxes, so as much as possible it is just a matter of adding the items to the kids lunch boxes. You can see more info in my post School lunchbox process.
(4). Clothes preparation
I don’t lay the clothes out for the children, but do ensure that they are in the right spots for the children to access them themselves and they need to have their clothes out before they go to bed at night. This works extremely well for younger children at preschool as sometimes making decisions on what to wear can take a huge amount of time! Better to do this in the evening when there is less time pressure and if items cannot be found there is time to locate them.
(5). Key time markers
We have key times across the morning at which certain activities need to occur. At (or before) 7.30am children need to brush their teeth, get themselves dressed, pack bags etc. We aim to leave the house at 8.05am, so everyone should be completely ready by then.
We left a bit after 8.10am today and had been doing so for the last week or so of last term. Although this does not mean the children are late, it does give less margin for stops on the walk due to shoe laces undone, falls of scooters and the toddler wanting to walk. It is less stressful to leave that bit earlier, so I need to get myself a bit more organised tomorrow so this can happen.
(6). Children take away their breakfast dishes from table
Each child is responsible for taking their dishes from the table to the kitchen bench for the youngest and for the older kids, they need to place their dishes in the dishwasher.
Having the kids stack the dishwasher means there is then one less thing that I have to do and therefore I am not as rushed. It also helps them understand that we all have to work together to keep the house tidy. This task and the next two require the children doing things for themselves. I find it is much easier for them to concentrate on these, if their are no distractions like TV or computer on.
(7). Children make beds and tidy their room
Each child is responsible for making their beds and tidying their room. I don’t expect perfection from this, but that at the minimum the beds linen is straightened and items are removed from the floor.
(8). Children pack their bags
It is their responsibility to ensure they have their lunchbox (the eldest two children now make their own lunches), hat etc, all the things that they need for their day at school. I find this helpful in training them to keep their possessions organised. If they have left their hat at home because they left it in the bedroom, instead of putting it back in their bag, they will have to accept the consequences of this. (At our school, no hat means that they cannot play out in the sun during terms 1 and 4.)
(9). Keep Calm.
This is probably the hardest one of these to do sometimes, but even when they are infuriating me, I find if I try to calmly deal with the situation, (as opposed to ranting and raving at them!) that it has much less chance of escalating or snowballing into more issues making it easier for us to leave the house on time.
An extra one – (10). Walk to school
This is not possible for everyone, but I find that this is less stressful than packing all the children in the car, finding a park, getting them out etc. It also provides a lovely opportunity to chat and play games as we walk along.
This morning we left the house with dishes on the table and unmade beds. I am hoping we will leave the house in a different state tomorrow!