Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

It’s back to school time again, and that means morning chaos.  At one point, we had four kids going to three different locations every morning, plus ourselves to get ready.  It wasn’t easy, but I have a few tricks that work to make the back to school season a little easier.

  • Stagger wake up times.  There is no sense in all four of our kids getting up at the exact same time and then fighting for the bathroom.  Our teenage daughter gets up first—she requires the most time in the bathroom, so she has to be the one to drag herself out of bed the earliest.  Next our youngest daughter gets a turn.  The two girls leave early with me.  The boys get their turns next, and have a bit more time to get out the door with dad.
  • Lay out clothes the night before.  Our kids pick their outfits for school before they go to bed at night.   They have their homework done, their backpacks ready, and everything they are taking with them set out by the front door.
  • Pack lunches early.  For us, it works best to pack lunches in the morning—my husband does it while I am in the shower.  But it would be great to have it done the night before, too, in the fridge and ready to go.
  • Set limits—Neither of our daughters, during the teen years, would ever leave for school if we did not set limits on the amount of time spent in the bathroom, our rule that she has to make time for breakfast before she leaves, and our unwillingness to write her an excuse for a tardy to class that would have been easily avoided.
  • Keep things simple.  We do cereal for breakfast during the week and save big breakfasts for when we have more time on the weekend mornings.
  • Realize that the best laid plans will still sometimes go awry, and that all you can do is be flexible, go with it, and try to laugh it off.

We’re down to our last one child heading back to school – but she has to manage her schedule around her brother-in-law, who is getting ready for work, her pregnant sister, who has to pee every five seconds, and her niece, who is potty training. Yes, our circus has changed over the years, but these tips still help keep us all sane.