How to Get Children to School: Organized and On Time

On Your Marks, Get Set....

R-I-N-G-G-G-!!!!  The new school year has just rung in.  It’s another year of lunches, car pooling, field trips, forms, homework, tests and agendas.  How, oh how, do we get the children out the door on time and organized with all that they require for the day?  I have some suggestions, all which I enforce in our home.  I have 6 school aged children and the grades attended are from junior kindergarten to grade 9.  Being organized and on time is an art form in itself!

It may sound easy and even appear easy.  Perhaps, in a smaller house hold, it is easier.  However, when there are three or more children, the morning rush can become hectic, unmanageable and a nightmare (or rather, morningmare!).  To help alleviate some of the hectic morning rush, the following suggestions might help:

1. Routine. Follow a daily routine. Anything that must happen on a daily basis can be incorporated into the routine. These include times for: waking up, scheduled showers, meals, leaving for school, homework, computer, chores, television and bedtime.

Repetitive tasks can also be added into the daily routine. Choose and layout the next day’s clothing at bedtime to avoid the “what shall I wear?” dilemma in the morning. This also prevents “I don’t have anything to wear” so I can’t go to school issue.

Another repetitive task is to prepare the lunches for the next day after the evening’s dinner. If you are sending a hot lunch, then have the hot lunch ready to be reheated in the morning. This alleviates any time consuming cooking in the morning. Have sandwiches made, cut up fruit in containers, dessert and healthy snacks all made and put into the lunch bags. The lunch bags can then be stored in the fridge which will extend the coolness factor during the school hours.

After breakfast is finished and the children are ready to prepare to go to school, they should gather all their forms and place them into the front pocket of their agenda. Their agenda should then go into their back pack. Their homework should be gathered and placed into their backpack too. In addition to their responsibility, they must pick up their lunch bag from a designated spot (counter in the kitchen or from a shelf) and put it into their back pack.

They are to dress and be ready for a visual inspection by you before exiting. Ultimately, it is still your responsibility to ensure that they are well dressed, clean and have their homework, lunches, forms and agenda in their back pack.

The routine should be scheduled according to the clock. On some days, it will run like clockwork, other days, it may run slower by a few minutes. Other days, it will run faster. In general, make sure that they leave at the exact time or earlier, but never later.

2. Organize. Have a place for each and every thing. This is critical to keeping chaos at bay. It also sets a visual for children to follow. They can see the results that they are or are not producing. Each family will organize their home as they see fit, but I will use our home as an example.

I’ll begin in the kitchen. We don’t have a very large kitchen. In fact, cupboard space is extremely limited. Despite this, I have dedicated a bank of cupboards that is strictly for “school items”. There are shelves for: utensils, lunch bags, thermoses, sealable containers, juice boxes, water bottles, snacks and sealable plastic bags. Each item is labelled with the child’s name so that filling the lunch bag is much easier (and I never miss a child’s snack or juice).

Our study has been converted to the study room. In this room, there are two shelves that are dedicated to hold each child’s agenda and any school forms or notices. Each child is allotted two baskets (one for the previously listed items, and the second for library books, homework and tests). Each basket is labelled with the child’s name.

Our mud room is much smaller than we like. However, we work with the space that we have. We have a large metal shelving unit that is on rubber wheels. There are four shelves which allow two children per shelf. The very top shelf is reserved for fund raising boxes and so on. Again, each shelf is labelled with the child’s name. Each child is allotted two baskets plus a space to hang his/her back pack. Basket one is for outdoor accessories like hats and mitts while basket two is for dry shoes/slippers.

As we all enter and leave through this room, I have three large white erase boards that have one month per board. The first board is last month, the second is the present month and the third is the next month. These boards are extremely useful to mark meetings, trips, games, appointments, sleep overs, and so on. I have gone to the extent to allot one different marker color per person in order to keep things straight.

Well, I think that is about as far as I want to go with organization. I believe that you have the idea. Be creative and think of your traffic flow through the house. Begin at one of the path (your child’s bedroom) and visualize how the day unfolds according to the daily routine. Take notes on how and where your child would travel until arriving at the end of the path (the door that he/she leaves from to go to school).


3. Be flexible on non-school nights. Even thought the day is structured and rules are in place, it is necessary to allow children some leniency on off school nights. As adults, we like to have a little more free time on the weekends, so naturally, they would too. It is important to ensure that children have adequate time for a proper sleep. On school nights, from Sunday through Thursday, we have a set time for bed, and allow the children to stay up later on Friday and Saturday nights. With early bedtimes on school nights, we ensure that they have a good night’s rest, rise at the appropriate hour and are refreshed for a new day.

Take action. Involve your children. Enforce and practice the routines. The key is to have your children independently action as much of the routine as possible. You will see the morning rush slow down as chaos becomes manageable. Your children will be happier too. They will be organized, refreshed and not rushed. This is the way to start a morning!

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Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Mod2vint -- Oh, don't give up on him. Perhaps his way of organizing is different than the method that is being used. Some people are visual where color coding is the prefered method of organizing. Some are linear thinking, therefore organizing has to be in a sequential order of how things are done. Some people love labels and steps, even detailed instructions. Think of how he best learns and the chances are that this method will work best for helping him become better organized.

mod2vint profile image

mod2vint 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I don't think anything will help my son, but we will give it a try.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Daisyjae -- I am happy that you will be able to apply some of my tips!! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for coming by!

daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

I needed some help getting organized! I will be using some of your tips.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Teendad - It's wonderful that the children have your time to help them out throughout their day! Thank you for sharing and for your positive comments.

teendad profile image

teendad 7 years ago from Richmond, VA

I agree that routine is extremely important! I volunteer with foster/shelter kids and the only way to get them through their day, and especially out the door to school, is to follow a routine. Excellent hub!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Catherine -- I'm a little obsessive when it comes to being orderly! lol However, it sure comes in handy for running a household!

Catherine R profile image

Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

My house is chaos in the mornings! I love your tips - especially the white board idea - I am going to implement that as I find I am always putting piles of papers all over the place and then we can't find the forms when we need them.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Ladybird33 - Thank you for coming by! I hope that this helps.

Ladybird33 profile image

Ladybird33 7 years ago from Georgia USA

Great hub and great reminder to me. I needed this! Thanks Beth.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Tammy - Your daughter sounds very independent for her age! It's nice to read that young children take responsibility for themselves. No, I'm a Taurus...just very bull headed about some things! lol Thanks for stopping by!

tammyfrost profile image

tammyfrost 7 years ago from Oregon

Extremely helpful Thanks! My daughter is so good at getting ready in the mornings. She is only 8 and she is so responsible. I don't have to wake up until she is ready to leave for the bus. I usually prepare everything the night before. You obviously have great organizational skills...Just curious, are you a virgo?

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Ms. Chievous - lol I'm always learning! And trying to pass on what I learn! Thank you for visiting and reading my hub!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Ms. Chievous - lol I'm always learning! And trying to pass on what I learn! Thank you for visiting and reading my hub!

Ms Chievous profile image

Ms Chievous 7 years ago from Wv

You have 6 school aged children? I bow to you!!!look forward to reading more of your stuff

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Kevin - Yes, time management is a skill that must be taught to children at an early age. It's a lifelong skill. Thank you for coming by!

Kevin Peter profile image

Kevin Peter 7 years ago from Global Citizen

teaching kids abt importance of time is very difficult

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Diva To Be, I'm hoping that this will help someone out there!

diva to be 7 years ago

Very helpful ideas. Thanks.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you ppdm67! Without being organized, our household would be on it's head!

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York

Great hub!

With 2 kids that leave for school at different times, it's essential to be organized, especially in the morning. Some solutions for us - the lunches are made the night before, the clothes for the next day are chosen the night before and laid out, bookbags packed and placed by the door each night, shoes are where they can find them. They also have a set bedtime on school nights. Routine is they key - great advice.

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