The only thing better than your first child starting kindergarten is when your last child starts kindergarten. Goodbye pre-school and daycare costs! Hello dance class, piano, soccer, art class, summer camp, PTA, Boosters, Room Parents, and school events every week. Guess we won’t really be saving any money or time. Oh well. On to the next stage of parenthood!
This year, I have a daughter in kindergarten and one in 3rd grade. Getting 2 little girls ready and out the door on time is no easy feat. But there are some ways that make it run a little smoother.
- Drop Off & Pick-Up Zone
The girls come home from school and their backpacks go to the drop off zone- which is simply the top of a living room storage cabinet at their height. Here they pull out their folders full of homework and school notices and put their lunch bags in the kitchen. In the morning, the folder and lunch bag go right back in the backpacks in what is now the Pick-Up Zone. Anything else that needs to go out the door also goes here from library books that need to be returned to dry cleaning to take in. No more searching for missing backpacks if the only place it goes is in the Drop Off Zone where it patiently waits to be become the Pick-Up Zone.
- Think and Plan Ahead
If you are able to do things the night before, do as much as you can from preparing their lunches to getting your own things ready for work. If you have kids that won’t settle down and go to bed- have them pick out their outfits for the next day, get their backpacks ready, or make some of their lunch. They’ll either do the work and make your morning easier- or suddenly feel too tired to help and go to bed which was what you wanted.
- Use Timers & Alarms
I use alarms and timers to keep us on track. They are scheduled on my phone to go off on school days. When the 1st alarm goes off at 7:55am, the girls know it is time to clear their breakfast dishes and start getting ready. When the 2nd alarm goes off at 8:00am, at least one of them better be out of the bathroom. When the 8:15am alarm goes off- I should be finishing up their hair. I don’t think I could get them out the door on time without all these alarms to keep pushing us onward.
- The Daily Breakdown- Dry Erase Board
I use a calendar that syncs with my computer and phone as my calendar, but I also use a dry erase board to write down what is happening that day that pertains to the whole family so we are on the same page. I write it out at night and put it on the kitchen counter. It only takes a minute or two. Writing down what is going to happen the next day really helps me focus and be better prepared. My husband and kids can see that it is early dismissal today, dance class at 4pm or that we need to go to Costco that day. Then we erase as things happen until the day is complete and the board is clear. Whew!
Just getting your kids off to school on time 180 days a year is a major accomplishment. Hopefully these tips will help you win some of those battles even if when the dust clears, you feel utterly exhausted, and realize it is only 8:30am and you still need to go to work. I remind myself that one day my kids won’t need my help and I’ll miss these crazy mornings.