The new school year is upon us. But after a summer of relaxed mornings, am I the only one left wondering how on earth I am going to get everyone ready for school and out of the house on time?
My older children sort themselves out. They have to – their school bus waits for no-one. But if other households are like ours, here are some of the reasons parents with younger children might find it hard to get everyone out of the front door as they try to get used to school mornings again.
1. ALARM CLOCK DOESN’T GO OFF Either you were so tired when you went to bed that you forgot to switch it on – or more likely little fingers have been fiddling with the buttons again and set the alarm to go off at the wrong time.
2. READING RECORD MYSTERIOUSLY VANISHES You listened to your child read the night before, but forgot to sign the reading record. And now the reading record isn’t where it should be in the bookbag…or anywhere else in the house. Aghhhhh!
3. I FEEL SICK! – Your child wakes up complaining they feel sick. They look slightly off-colour, but they manage to eat a bit of breakfast and don’t actually seem too poorly. You’ve got to go to work, or have an important appointment you don’t want to cancel. You spend the next hour deliberating whether to send them to school or not, instead of concentrating on getting the children ready, yourself ready, and the bags packed.
4. DRINK SPILLAGE AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE Just as you thought things were going well, one of the children spills a glass of orange juice all over the kitchen table AND their school uniform. It’s going to need lots of frantic mopping up, both of clothes and the table.
5. LOST SHOE How is it possible a child can come home wearing two shoes the night before, but is only able to find one of them the next morning? Looking under the sofa is always a good starting point in our house for finding it.
6. NATURE CALLS! You’re about to walk out of the front door when your child suddenly announces they need the toilet NOW! You feel completely helpless. It’s difficult to shout at them, but you know you could be waiting some time…
7. WHAT’S THE WEATHER DOING? Typical! School starts and the sun comes out again. The forecast says it is going to be a hot day and you really ought to put a bit of suncream on your child. You search high and low for the bottle, and when you eventually find it you then have to chase the unwilling individual around the house trying to apply it. In winter, defrosting the car windscreen or finding suitable gloves and scarves could well be the thing to slow you down.
8. I NEED MONEY! Why is that school cake sale always on a day when you have no money in your purse? There simply isn’t time to stop at the cashpoint, but even if there was that would be no good as you can’t possibly give your child a ten pound note to take into school.
9. THE PHONE RINGS You’ve horribly late. You’ve just about got everyone out of the door when… the phone rings. You spend precious seconds deciding whether to pick it up or not, by which time everyone has come back into the house to see what is going on and you need to usher them out all over again.
10. NON SCHOOL UNIFORM DAY You’ve actually made it out of the house for once! You’re nearly at school but something doesn’t feel quite right. You suddenly realise that all the other children heading to school are in home clothes, while your little treasure is looking very out of place in their school uniform. Time for quick decisions. Do you risk being late by turning round and going home to change their clothes, or carry on to the school gate knowing that they may feel miserable all day as they are the only one in their class wearing school uniform?
*Please feel free to add your own reasons for morning panics – it’ll make me feel better!