For some, being on time comes rather easy, but adding children into the equation can challenge even the most punctual parent. This seems most apparent in the daily gauntlet of getting out of the door and to school before the bell rings (breakfast not included). Here are some hints to help us minimize the last minute delays that may keep us from the benefits of being on time.
We’ve all been there. We forgot to put the washed uniforms in the drier or slept through the alarm again, or your child can’t find his shoes...anywhere!
Getting to school on time is a challenge. Our household of five comes with many different personalities and habits and I’m sure yours is no different. My son had so many tardies last year, thanks to his Dad (mornings are not his specialty), that we had to make a change. Guess who is driving him to school now? The change we made doesn’t work for everybody, but here are some useful strategies that will help any busy family get out the door on time.
DON’T WING IT FOR BREAKFAST.
Don’t we all have at least one picky eater? If you are blessed with a child who will eat cereal for breakfast every morning, keep it to yourself. If you are challenged with a child like mine who prefers to go through a list of every food item available in some sort of power play/guessing game you need this tip. Check in with your child when you tuck them in and agree upon their breakfast for the next morning. Here’s the tricky part - stick with it! It may be bumpy while your child gets used to their new normal, but by week two your mornings will have a least a little more peace.
LAY OUT TOMORROW’S CLOTHES NIGHT BEFORE.
The same child who used to torture me for breakfast lays her uniform out before she goes to bed. That’s one victory I’ll claim! My son, on the other hand, is happy to pick his up off the floor and wear it again. First of all, that’s gross and secondly, it makes me look bad. Now we have a new plan. Sunday night, we take five clean pairs of shorts or pants and put them in the “bottoms” drawer. We take five clean shirts and hang them in the “tops section” of his closet. While I can’t say that this has permanently prevented my son from wearing a crumpled up pair of shorts with dried ceramics mud all over them, it’s certainly been a huge improvement!
PACK UP THE BACKPACKS AS AN ENDING TO HOMEWORK.
There is nothing more likely to make you late than a child who can’t find their math homework before school. Make it a habit to collect all assignments, books, and binders and have them packed up, zippers zipped, and ready to go as soon as homework time is over. Most children are so happy to be done with homework, they don’t even fight this one...or maybe they don’t have any fight left. Either way, having a packed backpack by the front door makes leaving the house on time a much more attainable goal. If you want to take it one step further, have them put their shoes next to the backpack too.
BEING PUNCTUAL TELLS OTHERS THAT YOU VALUE THEIR TIME.
When we, as parents, demonstrate our respect for school, teachers, and education overall by stressing the importance of arriving on time, our children will learn from, and model, the same behavior and values. Timeliness will become a habit which will benefit your children for the rest of their lives.
Take these tips, make some changes that fit right for your family, and enjoy the benefit of not driving like a maniac in the school parking lot after the bell has rung!