With the Kids

A Quick Fix to Help Us Get to School On Time

Our mornings tend to be slow going, I’m not much of a morning person :) The kids are usually waking me up, coming in for a snuggle. We talk about our day and then it’s up and at’em to get ready for school. We are usually up in plenty of time to head out the door on time. But for some reason, we were often cutting it close and have even been late to school a couple of mornings. I don’t like that feeling of being late or so close to late that we’re moving so fast. Lunches get left home, homework is still on the table. It’s not good. So I decided we needed a quick fix to figure out how to get us out the door earlier each morning.

walking to school

I asked myself what were we doing each morning, with plenty of time to get ready, that wasn’t helping move things along? I had to figure out where we could make a change.

Quick Fix to Help Us Get to School On Time

First, timing.

I looked at our morning – when did we wake up, how long did it take to get ready, what time did we need to leave. We walk most mornings to school, so I had to take that into consideration. I found a time we need to leave out the door for when we walk and for when I drive to get us to their school even a couple minutes early.

Second, new rule: Get dressed first!

Before, I was letting my kids eat breakfast in their pajamas. That’s when things went wrong. It was like pulling teeth to get school clothes on my kids after they had eaten. They want to play and would forget to get dressed. That is what was making us late.

So I decided to switch it up one morning, having them get dressed first, before anything else, and it worked!! They were dressed, they ate breakfast, and they could play for a bit until it was time for school. Then all we had to do was add coats, shoes and backpacks and we’re out the door. Yippee!

With my little 3 year old, we’ve even picked out her clothes the night before. We line them up on the floor so she can quick get them on and we don’t have to take a few extra minutes to make the decision! Sometimes it’s the clothing decision that takes a good 10 minutes…what’s a girl to wear?! So putting them out works great if we can remember to do it the night before.

Third, consistency.

Being consistent every morning is a big part of how we continue to make it out the door on time. There have been a few mornings when we didn’t get dressed first thing and it set us back to cutting it close. So I try my best to have consistency with our new rule and follow through.

Do you struggle with this too? What are you doing to help get to school on time? What is your quick fix for the mornings?

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  1. I too find punctuality depends mainly on me being on the ball. I struggle with leaving breakfast things on the table, but that seems to be critical for getting us out the door on time -if I start cleaning up, the kids start playing, and it takes too long to pull them back from that. It can be a major battle to get my 6 year old daughter (a very creative, easily distracted child) ready and out the door on time. A friend of mine has a picture chart for her child, so he can see what needs to be done each morning before he can read or play. I think I need to try that for my little girl!
    I also have a 3 year old son and take care of a 1 year old, so there can be some last minute hiccups involving putting shoes and jackets on, diaper changes, etc. I need to take these things into account and have them Really ready to go (shoes, jackets, backpacks, etc.) before we decide there’s time to read a story.

  2. Had a problem with my daughter when she was younger, although she wasn’t a morning tv watcher…I tried everything…schedules, setting clothes out, lunches and breakfasts premade, etc. I resorted to “trickery” or “tough love”. Living in the country in a kinda secluded area, this is what I did…the night before we had a long talk about being on time for different things, how to make sure this was to happen, I told her that she had to be ready to go out the door by such a time and have a alarm sound 15 before she was to leave as a warning, then she was going out the door just as she was 15 minutes later, she agreed. She went to bed, I reset all the clocks in the house (hers included) back 30 minutes. In the morning, it was the same as usual…she dawdled…15 minute warning went off, she ignored it…15 minutes later she went out the door as she was…in her underwear. When she realized this was the last draw, she promised never to be late again, she came in got dressed and I never had a problem like that afterwards. It may have sounded cruel, but this was another mother’s solution that I had read in a parenting magazine.

  3. I set my iphone with alarms and different tones. I have one for waking up, one for get your butt out of bed (because of course the waking up alarm doesn’t always do the job), and an alarm to get your butt out the door (that one is set 3 minutes before we actually do have to get out the door to take care of all of those last minute things that need to be taken care of).

  4. I do struggle with this, but more with myself than my kids. LOL You are right, consistency is key. I have a schedule for myself which helps. Dressed by 6:45, stop eating breakfast (and playing Words with Friends) at 6:55, dress my daughter by 7:15, etc.

  5. I do the same as Marie. Everyone must be in school clothes before breakfast, and then keep to schedule. We must have teeth brushed, shoes on, and backpacks ready to go by a certain time. No last-minute rushing around for this family!

  6. I have had the same problem with my kids the only difference, they wear uniforms for school, which is great. The days they have gym I have them wear their gym clothes as pajamas & on those days we are out of the house very early. Even though they don’t have gym on the same day, our morning exit is faster. Hope that helps.

  7. We did struggle with it but we have done a few changes that makes us be on time :)
    – I get up before anybody else and do everything I need to (what is not much). So when the children wake up, I am ready to be the capitain of the morning boat ;)
    – we have a max time for everything. for example breakfast is from 7 to 7:30. At 7:30, breakfast is finished. I have a clock with an orange in the 6 and children know you can eat until the clock gets there. They say to each other “hurry, hurry, we are almost in the orange” :D Getting dressed 7:30 to 7:40 and so on…
    – To make getting dressed and brushing go I promised reading if we are on time. My children take turns to choose a book and they love it. It is also a time to hug each other before running to a busy day.
    – We leave clothes, bags, shoes, coats, lunches…prepared the night before. I even lay down the table for breakfast.

    For me the big difference comes from being there fully to be the captain of the ship. If I also need to dress up, eat….while they are also doing it, we are doom to sink. I am also NOT a morning person so I have minimized the time I need alone to 15minutes. In order to wake up 15 minutes earlier, I put my clock every day 2 minutes earlier. This way I got used to it without much trouble. Now when my alarm goes on and the bed is o so nice, I always think of the nice feeling we all have when we leave on time and we did not have to rush and had time for a book or two and a hug or two, and then…I pull myself out of bed because it is realy worth it for all of us.

  8. My son loved to watch cartoons in the morning….so we made a deal, if he was up and ready for school except for brushing his teeth and his shoes, he could watch cartoons…well Mr. Smarty Pants started getting up at 6am.. an hour & a half before he really needed to even get up. I really didn’t like him watching that much tv, but a deal is a deal….so find a way to motivate, but be careful….they may outsmart you!

  9. We are struggling with this issue as well, as we get ready to send our first to kindergarten. Do as much as you can the night before: clothes laid out (make it fun by having the kids look up the weather report), coffeepot on autobrew, lunches and backpacks completely packed. We also mounted a dry erase board on the door from the kitchen to our garage, where we write anything we need to remember to take with us for the next day.

    I am going to try getting them dressed first – I have seen the same thing with my kids wanting to play after breakfast, so that might really help. It’s also something they can do by themselves if I’m still in the shower or getting dressed so they aren’t waiting on me.

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