School run fun? Discover how to have a stress-free start to your day

I’m almost giggling at myself for posting advice on how to nail the stress-free school run.  ‘Lo! The Oracle speaks!’ Actually, I feel like a bit of a charlatan.

As personality types go, I’m a bit of a stress-head.  If I was a cartoon character, I’m pretty sure I’d have permanently flushed cheeks and beads of sweat flying from my brow.

Yup. My stress-response is decidedly wonky. Missing car keys, a mislaid work pass, that ever-elusive left plimsoll – searching for any of these can send me into a cortisol-induced frenzy. So with this predisposition for freaking out, naturally, the school run ranks as DEFCON 1 on my internal scale of high alert.

In terms of unfortunate life events, it’s as though my brain places ‘being late’ right up there alongside being chased by flesh-starved lions or the Zombie Apocalypse. But I know it’s not just me who finds getting up and out in the mornings a total faff…

Why the school run sucks

All the conditions are ripe for the weekday morning ritual to be a royal pain in the ass.

Whether it’s breakfast bother (you SAID toast!!), a tooth-cleaning tantrum, raiding the sofa for dinner money, or playing Russian roulette on the roundabout-of-death – school run frolics can cause the most ‘zen’ among us to have a mini-meltdown. Especially on the days you have to make two trips due to the forgotten school bag/PE kit/banjo.

Or worse, the belated discovery that it’s wear-something-yellow-but-also-spotty day.  As Jane Austen once said:

‘it’s a truth universally acknowledge that, on such days, you WILL get stuck behind the bin lorry and have a 9.30am appointment with the boss.’

When you consider that there’s a tight time-frame for undertaking these scholastic shenanigans  – and throw in the fear of your child being marked as late (the shame!) – you soon wonder whether you’ll find your sanity in the Lost Property next to that missing plimsoll.

Teaching the school run a lesson

But all this aside, I have learned a few hacks to make it to the school gates without totally losing the plot.  Some are too obvious to mention (hot tip: get up earlier!) but, for what it’s worth, here are some things that help me:

1. Teach your child to be responsible for their own belongings. Get them to pack up their PE kit the night before, and round up their books in the mornings. Yes, it takes time to master this one. But ultimately it’s good for kids to learn to be self-organised (code for: gives you time to check you’re wearing trousers before heading out).

2. Get some perspective! That morning when you knocked over the entire box of cornflakes and then jumped in the shower to find the boiler had gone kaput… held you back a bit, right? No one wants their child to be late but, in the grand scheme, a small blot on their punctuality record won’t go down in the annals of history. Sh*t happens.

3. Breathe deeply and slow down your actions rather than rush. This doesn’t just work from a ‘less haste, more speed’ perspective, it also makes you feel a lot calmer and in control – which, let’s face it, is half the battle.

4. Don’t become Mumzilla. Just because you’re feeling flustered, don’t get all shouty with the kids. They need to start the school day feeling cheery – not like they’ve just escaped the tyranny of Sargent Major Mum. It makes you feel lousy too – not the best foundation for a hassle-free day.

It takes conscious effort to become a lower-strung mum but if it sounds like I’m wishing away my school drop-off days, I’m actually not.

Paradoxically, I love taking my son to school and waving him off everyday. It means a lot to us both. I know i’ll be gutted when he starts taking himself to secondary school. (But that’s not to say I am not looking forward to the break during the holidays!)


So does the school run send you into a tailspin? Or have you got the daily drop-off locked down? If so, what’s your secret?

You Baby Me Mummy

19 Replies to “School run fun? Discover how to have a stress-free start to your day”

  1. Love love love this post, I think it’s going to be so useful for me when September comes around! Thank you for a great post with some great tips x

  2. This had me chuckling, I’ve just wrote a similar post on prepping for returning back to work and it makes me laugh slightly as I am so chaotic. I have all the fun of the school run to look forward too.

  3. AMEN mama! *phew* do I share the “stress-head” category with you! It’s a pain in my ass, any day! I have just one school-ager right now, the other two are an infant and a toddler. They’ve got 2 & 3 years still before they contribute to more stress with drop-off and pick-up. But man mornings are the worst for me! I get rebooted by the afternoon, but lugging around to pick-up another child that requires less than 5 minutes for me, becomes the most dreaded job in motherhood. Winters are even worst with this! Thanks for sharing!

    1. oh yes! Don’t get me started on winters! More clothing to sort out and put on. cars to defrost and generally freezing ones whatevers off!!

    1. haha yes it helps to know that every morning there are other mums battling with finding the sports kit etc. thanks for sharing x

    1. I know what you mean!!! ‘Put your shoes on, sweetie’. ‘Put your shoes on, please’. ‘Can you put your shoes on?’ ‘Shoes. On’ ‘PUT YOUR SHOES OOOOONNNN!!!!!’

  4. Love the ‘Don’t become Mumzilla’ – very guilty of this one! My top tip is school breakfast club which means you can skip all the breakfast drama and even if you’re late, they’re still there in loads of time for school. #win

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