How To Get Your Kids To School Without Yelling. Yes, It’s Possible.
This is how I imagine myself on school day mornings…
I shepherd all my children into the car. They are dressed. Teeth and hair are brushed. They have eaten something nutritious that may even include “whole grains.” Backpacks are brimming with completed homework. We are so ahead of schedule, that I can drive at a leisurely pace as we all sing along happily to One Direction.
But unfortunately this is more the reality…
“GET IN THE CAR. RIGHT NOW. DID YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH? I ONLY ASKED YOU 14 TIMES. COME ON. WHERE ARE YOUR BACKPACKS? WHY ARE YOU CRYING? THERE IS NO CRYING WHEN WE ARE TRYING TO GET TO SCHOOL. WE ARE SO LATE. SITTING ON THE HOOD IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING IN THE CAR. WHY IS NO ONE LISTENING TO ME?!! LET’S GO!!!”
I was yelling way too much. So I asked some moms (okay, begged) for their best tips on getting their kids out the door to school, without losing it. And you’ll be happy to know that they all admitted to losing it sometimes but they had fabulous ideas on making morning go more smoothly.
Prepare as much as possible the night before.
I recently noticed something. When my husband is out of town, things go much more smoothly in the morning. Why? Because I prepare. The night before, I make the lunches, put out coats and shoes, line up backpacks by the door and it all makes for a much less stressful morning.
Shower before your kids get up.
That means waking up before they do which can be painful if you decided to watch The Jimmy Kimmel show before you turned off the light but it’s worth it to propel yourself out of bed before the chaos and jump in the shower. Plus, I look so much cuter when I have time to put on a little eye concealer and lip gloss.
Stay off your smart phone.
Yes, I know you thought of a really funny tweet in the shower but once you start tweeting, emailing and texting that hilarious video of your husband snoring, you are losing valuable morning minutes. There’s a reason they call social media a time suck.
Kids must get dressed before going downstairs for breakfast.
Any kid who does not come down properly dressed will be sent right back upstairs. (Note: a t-shirt, tights and bare feet is not an acceptable outfit.) It can also help if your children pick out their clothes the night before to avoid a chorus of, “I have nothing to wear!!”
Make a chart for the kids to check off as they complete their morning routines.
For example, get dressed, put clothes in the hamper, brush teeth, put on socks and shoes, tell your mother how awesome she is, stuff like that.
Remember that you aren’t running a diner.
Try to streamline breakfast a bit. Today is cereal. Tomorrow is pancakes. It takes way too much time to make individual meals. My point is – if your kid wants an egg white omelet with extra cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms, she is going to have to wait until the weekend.
Load up the car 10 minutes before you really need to leave
This allows time for the… I forgot my backpack. I forgot my favorite key chain, that absolutely must come to school. I have to go the bathroom (although that’s mostly me).
If your child is ready by a certain time, he or she gets a reward. This could be 10 minutes to work on an art project, play with his/her iPod or read a book. Whatever will motivate them.
So, doesn’t that all sound easy? But I promise you– even trying one or a few of these tips, can make for a more relaxed morning which your whole family deserves. And yes, you will still occasionally yell. But forgive yourself and try again.
Now, we want to hear from you. What works for your family in the mornings? Spill it. Also, would love for you to experiment with one or some of these suggestions and report back to us.Published February 14, 2013. Last updated February 14, 2013.