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This year my school run involves 3 schools every morning and if I’m not out the door and in the car by a certain time then it’s all over. Well, no not really, it just means that someone is going to be late for school. So I’m running on a tight schedule and getting 7 people (including myself) out the door every single morning, dressed, fed and on time can be a challenge.
Here is how I do it!
1.Clothes out the night before including my own
Yes, every night I lay out everyone’s clothes including my own. That doesn’t mean that I spend hours planning my outfit for the day or what we will all wear, I just do a quick grab of what everyone needs. The big kids are responsible for gathering most of their uniforms together, I just place an ironed shirt on top. The baby of the family will have a nappy and packet of wipes next to his clothes. It’s a time saver so that if you are running late or short of time at least you have your clothes sorted. I started doing it when the twins came along and haven’t stopped.
2. Get up with the birds
As much as I’d love an extra 10 minutes in bed, I need to be up and at ’em at 6am. Or everything goes downhill. So I’ve learned to love seeing the sun come up and embrace the early morning, even if it means early to bed the night before. I use the first half hour of the day to make coffee, pack lunches into bags and enjoy my breakfast in some peace and quiet before the craziness begins.
3. The big clock in the kitchen is 5 minutes fast
Everyone in our house looks at the wall clock in the kitchen to see how they are going for time. So by having it 5 minutes faster we always have enough time to get to the car with a few minutes to spare. Because no matter how organised you are there will always be someone who forgot their library bag/hat/sports bag/lunchbox and needs to go back inside.
4. Warm showers when necessary
Now this might sound like it is making work for you but just as us mums like a nice warm shower to start our day so do some of the little ones. If I have someone who is not so happy about going to school, a quick shower seems to do the trick especially in winter. They seem to get moving a bit faster and be in a better mood. I don’t do this every day or every week (only when needed) and it’s a good little trick to have up your sleeve.
5. Keep a shoe basket by the front door
I only started the shoe basket last year when I got sick of the shoes piled by the front door. Each week I give the basket a quick clear-out and put extra shoes back in bedrooms. The golden rule is that each child needs at least 1 pair of shoes in the shoe basket. That way if we have to duck out to do something there are no excuses or time wasted trying to find someone’s shoe or a pair of shoes so we can leave the house. I can’t tell you how many times we’d be ready to leave the house and someone would announce that they couldn’t find a pair of shoes or their other shoe. Problem solved!
6. Lunches in the fridge and always have bread in your freezer
I do most of the lunchboxes the night before and when I’m feeling super organised might do sandwiches the night before too. I always have at least 1 or 2 loaves of bread in my freezer so I always have something for lunchboxes, and also because it’s nearly impossible for me just to run up to the shops for a loaf of bread with my entourage. So that extra loaf in the freezer saves me, and everyone gets vegemite sandwiches in their lunchbox on those days.
7. Breakfast on the go
When I do the sandwiches I make a few extra and put them on the kitchen counter with bananas and a muesli bar or two. My not so early birds can grab breakfast to eat in the car. And if you’re one of my 3 big kids then you can make toast for the little ones while you are making your own. It’s something that is such a big help to me and even the little ones can get a plate to help out. Would you look at that sweet little face?
8. Always top up your nappy bag and check your hand bag when you get in the door
When I was pregnant with my twins I read every book there was on expecting twins and read some of them more than once. I thought that way I’d be fully prepared and able to handle everything. Ha ha! The best piece of advice that I took from those books was having the nappy bag always packed and ready by the door. And to do that you top it up when you get in rather than leave it to when you are getting ready to go. Make sure you’ve got the spare clothes, nappies, wipes and other baby stuff. That means whenever you need to run out the door or make a last minute trip you just grab the bag and you know everything is in there. Same goes with the handbag; always check it has everything in it when you get into the house, rather than just before you want to leave the house.
9. You are responsible for getting your school bag to the car
This starts early and even the pre-schoolers of the house know to take their bag to the car and put it in. If the kids see my handbag outside the front door then they know to bring it out to the car too so I don’t forget it. Because sometimes in all the rush of getting 6 little people out the door my bag makes it outside the house but not always to the car. Now, as you can see there is plenty of room in the Nissan Pathfinder for all the school bags. The automatic boot opener makes the school car line a dream as you don’t need to get out, because I can just press a button and the boot opens all the way up for them. This means kids don’t slam the boot down as you just press a button and down it goes. I never need to worry about little fingers getting caught because it has a sensor function that prevents this! Very civilised and not a feature on my big van.
10. No one is allowed outside while a car is moving in the driveway
We don’t start the engine until everyone is in the car. And in our family, you need to either be in the car or inside the house. It’s a rule we set up when we had only little ones because I was terrified that with 3 little ones something could happen and someone could end behind a car, with tragic consequences. It’s a good idea to start these things when children are young even if you think it’s a bit OTT. But with 6 children under the age of 10 it’s something I’m glad we started. Whilst our van has sensors, it doesn’t have a reversing camera and certainly nothing like the camera that the Pathfinder has. It gives you great visibility (360 degrees around the vehicle!) and an extra level of protection and comfort when reversing.
My time with the Nissan Pathfinder has come to an end and I’m definitely sad to give it back. We’ve enjoyed it for our everyday driving as well as special trips out. And that entertainment system. Oh boy, it’s back to just the radio and CD’s again in our van. That’s going to be a tough adjustment as we’ve been loving the DVD’s playing in the back of the Pathfinder.
Now I know that you’ll be wondering how we got everyone in, and as mums you’ll love to know how many car seats can you fit in a car and how many anchor points does it come with? Well we have 3 in baby car seats/booster seats and 3 who don’t require a car seat. We set up the Pathfinder with our car seats so we had 2 in the middle row and a 3rd car seat in the back row. The middle row of the Pathfinder has a great feature whereby the left and right seats both fold down and slide forward easily to access the back. Sometimes if we didn’t have one of the children with us then my twins would climb into the boot and sit in the back row.
You could also fit 3 slimline car seats into the middle row of the Pathfinder or you could do what we did, which is have 1 car seat in the back row and 2 in the middle row. Either way, there is plenty of legroom for everyone. And as you can see when we took a trip to Grandma’s on a school day with just 2 in the back it was practically palatial.
If all my tips for getting you out the door in the morning with kids fail, you could always try what this mum did.