Make 2019 the year you get out of the house on time and smiling every morning.
Five families share their top tips for taking the stress out of the school run

Quick tip: the uniform box

Mum-of-three Rachel finds the key to getting out of the door on time with her boys Eden, five, Judah, four, and Shiloh, 15 months, is having dedicated uniform drawers, filled with everything they need to wear that day. “The hardest thing for me in the morning is getting everyone dressed. Eden and Judah wear uniform and until a few months ago our mornings were a little chaotic, with me often running around the house trying to find clean pants and tops at the last minute. I knew I had to get better organised, and having these labelled uniform drawers has helped enormously. Everything for the next day goes in there, including briefs and socks. It’s also helped the boys’ independence, as it’s easier for them to get dressed themselves.”

Quick tip: the easy and healthy breakfast

“Weekday breakfasts can be tricky,” says nutritionist Emma, mother to Sofia, 11, and Lola, seven. “A quick tip is serving breakfast in mason jars. If you’re really organised you can prep it the night before, or quickly throw it together in the morning. You just need probiotic yoghurt, fruit (berries are best as you don’t have to cut them up and they’re packed with antioxidants), oats and seeds, which are fibre-rich and help regulate blood sugar levels. It’s important to have healthy fats and protein to give kids sustained energy until lunchtime,” she says. “And, being in a mason jar, if you’re really pushed for time they can finish them off in the car on the way to school! Or, for older kids who like to sleep in, you can whiz it all in a blender and they can drink it as a smoothie on their way there.”

The quick tip: reward jars

“Getting Eve ready for school can be tricky,” says Chris, dad to the seven-year old. “I’ve found positive rewards work much better than threatening to take something away. Whenever Eve does something when she’s been asked to, she gets a bead for her jar. These tasks can be big, like emptying the dishwasher, or small, like brushing her teeth. When we fill a jar, Eve gets a treat. The size of her treat usually reflects the tasks. A ‘big task’ reward might be something like a trampolining trip, while a ‘small task’ reward might be popcorn with a movie. We’ll agree that upfront, so she has her eyes on the prize. Eve’s really proud when she’s filled a jar, which is also a great confidence boost.”

Quick tip: the coat station

Grace and Louis, mum and dad to Lola, six, and Bruno, four, agree that coats, hats, gloves and shoes can be the hardest part of their morning routine. “Particularly when it’s cold outside, trying to cajole them outdoors can be tricky,” says Grace. “But having their own pegs has really helped in ownership of getting their stuff on. It’s made it a bit more of a game in the morning and when they come in after school.” Louis adds: “We also have a big basket of hats and gloves by the front door, of all different thicknesses, so they can choose which ones they want. We often give Bruno his gloves 10 minutes before we have to leave, as it can take a while!”

Quick tip: school hair that lasts for days

“One of our morning stress flashpoints was doing Leela’s hair, particularly because it’s long, knotty and curly – we like to call it a bird’s nest!” admits Shivani, mother to Leela, seven, and Avi, five. “It was always the last thing I got around to, and on occasions I’d still be doing it outside the school gates. So now I’ve taught myself how to do proper plaits. This double French braid isn’t as hard as it looks, and if you do them tight enough they’ll actually stay in for a few days – win! It also helps to do it the evening before. It’s a lovely moment to have with Leela before bedtime – we get to have a little catch-up on the day she’s had, which is much better than doing it in the rush of morning.”

Editor : Claire Askew / Art director : Fleur Harding / Photographer : Annie Bundfuss / Stylist : Sophie Kennington / Prop stylist : Susie Clegg / Hair stylist : Bjorn Krischker / Make-up artist : Rose Agnus /


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