Getting your children out of bed and into the bathroom to wash up and dress for school, not to mention getting your kids to eat a healthy breakfast, can prove challenging all by itself.
There will always be a collection of challenging mornings: moody days, harsh weather days, or misplaced-but-completed homework days. Getting out the door and to school on time can feel like an intricate choreography that can go wrong at any second.
Start the school morning off right.
Getting ready for school starts on the previous night: make sure that bags are packed, clothes laid out, snacks are in the lunchboxes and ready to go in the morning. Teaching your children to think a step ahead and plan in advance will not only help the things run smoothly in the morning, but it will also teach your children valuable life lessons about organization.
Some alone time in the morning can also set the tone for a calmer morning routine. Get into the habit of giving yourself 20 minutes to start getting ready before your children do. This quiet time to focus on yourself will have you feeling relaxed before you wake those sleepy-heads.
When it's time to wake up your children, do so several minutes earlier than you would if you only had to drop one child off to school. Let's say your children's schools are 15 minutes apart. In this case, you'll want to wake your children at least 15 to 20 minutes earlier. Add in extra time for snowy and rainy days, too.
Also, get your children into the habit of checking to see that they have everything they need, like signed parental consent forms for field trips and school assignments, before you're out the door. If your children forget important documents, you're going to have to turn around and go back home to get the papers, adding that additional time to your school drop-off routine. Don't take this step lightly; it'll save you gas and more.
Take a trial run from your home to your children's schools before school starts. If you need to stop at multiple schools, stop at the one nearest to your home first, unless that school's start time is later than other schools that your children attend. Use a GPS to find shorter routes. As a safeguard, always know of a backup route in case the typical route you take is blocked or congested with traffic.
Safety is important.
Having a routine and keeping a back-up plan for getting your kids to school on time not only can help you have a stress-free morning, but can keep you and your community safe by giving yourself time to obey traffic laws. One mother shared her concern about parents compromising safety as they rush to get their kids to school, "People fly up and down [the roads] all the time. They don’t stop to let people cross at the cross walk." She continued, "And I’ve also seen at bus pick-up or drop-off that cars routinely ignore the school bus stop rules even when there’s flashing lights and the bus stop sign is extended."
Make sure you understand school drop-off procedures.
Recent security events at K-12 schools have forced administrators to enhance drop-off procedures. If you want to make stress-free mornings part of you and your children's daily routine, familiarize yourself with the drop-off policies and procedures at each of your children's schools. For example, in Toledo, Ohio, parents had to find specific places to drop their kids off so they wouldn't incur traffic violations.
This is what a parent had to say to ABC 13 about the situation, "Even just pulling up to the curb on a rainy day to let your child go out and go right to the school, the officer is coming up and taking your license and giving you a ticket while there's no parking available for parents to drop off their children." By knowing where school parking lots are, who is permitted to park in the lots, and for how long, you could avoid getting ticketed.
If your children's schools have drop-off lines, be prepared to drop your children off and pull out of the lines as soon as possible, so other parents can get their children to the drop-off area. tick to a consistent drop-off routine, so your children learn what to expect in the morning.
Parents Ticketed Dropping Kids Off to School. (2012, March 13). ABC. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from ABC 13
Feinberg, T. & Cowan, K. (2004). Back-to-School Transitions: Tips for Parents. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from National Association of School Psychologists
CBS. (2013, August 19). School Security Changes Have Parents Droppings Kids at the Curb. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from CBS
Gilmore, G. (2013, February 13). Parenting Pet Peeves: School Drop Off and Pick Up Practices. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from Barista Kids
No More Manic Mornings. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2014, from Parents.com