One question I’m asked a lot is, “How on earth do you keep on top of it all?”. Even with 5 children, we rarely ever forget anything important and are seldom late, so what’s the secret?
Well the simple answer is…..organisation.
I’ve always been a pretty organised person, but as a Mum of 5 kids at 4 different stages of education, there is more to keep on top of now than ever before, so today I’m going to share some of the ways in which we try to keep up with it all.
With 7 people to get up, dressed and fed, ready for school and work each week day, and only 1 bathroom, having a set routine is essential for us. By having a set routine, everyone knows what they should be doing and when, so no excuse for arguments. The routine has changed and adapted over the years as circumstances change, but the basic format is the same. We’re fortunate in the fact that we live in Key Worker Housing, which is basically on-site housing for my husbands job at the local hospital, and we live on the same road as the youngest two’s schools, so there is no commute for us to deal with.
At 6.30am the alarm clock goes off. Time for a quick trip to the bathroom before the kids get up, then Dad goes to make coffee after waking the kids up. We sit in bed drinking coffee while the kids take turns in the bathroom (believe me that time to take in caffeine and actually wake up properly in the morning is crucial!). The kids have a set order for going in the bathroom to avoid arguments. Two days a week, eldest has to leave early to get an early bus to College so on those days he goes first, but the rest of the week, middle daughter goes first as she takes the longest to get dressed in the mornings. Next goes eldest daughter, followed by eldest son (on the days when he doesn’t go first). Once the big kids are done, it’s time for Dad to wake the younger two kids up and clean their teeth etc. Once youngest is done in the bathroom, it’s Dad’s turn, while I get youngest dressed for school and do her hair. Once Dad comes out of the bathroom, it’s my turn, and once he’s dressed, he takes the kids downstairs to get their breakfast. Once the kids have had their breakfast, it’s their job to then bring the washing downstairs, which Dad then sorts and pops a load in the washing machine. Dad then quickly washes up the breakfast dishes and has breakfast himself while the kids make sure they have everything they need for school, pack their bags and put their shoes on etc. At 8.15am, the older girls leave to walk to school. On the days he doesn’t leave early, eldest leaves for college at 8.30am. Then at 8.35am, Dad walks the youngest two to school. He returns and has a quick cup of coffee with me before leaving to get to work himself for 9am.
Now this routine is well-established and usually runs fairly smoothly, but there are additional organisational things in place to help it run so.
Stuck to our fridge is the kids timetable. This starts off blank at the beginning of the school year with just the kids names and days of the week on, then gets filled in once they know their timetables, and gets updated throughout the year as timetables change. At a glance we can all see who has what on which days, that way we don’t forget P.E kits, Swimming Kits or who’s staying late at school on which days. As a general rule, the timetable gets checked every evening to make sure relevant kits etc. are packed ready for the next day. A quick glance before leaving the house in the morning makes sure that those kits don’t get left behind!
This is updated constantly with activities that differ from the standard timetable, i.e.: out of school activities like private swimming lessons, parents evenings, doctors appointments etc. Like with the timetable, this is checked daily so that we know what we have coming up and need to prepare for.
This time of year especially, a regular whinge first thing every morning is, “I can’t find my gloves”, “where’s my hat?” etc. The hallway Organiser was our solution to this problem. It doesn’t stop youngest son from coming home with only one glove every.single.day…..but it does help everyone to know where everything is (or at least should be!) when getting ready to leave the house each morning.
These are just the things we use to help our morning routine run as smoothly as possible, we have numerous other organisational strategies but those are for another post…….
Do you have anything to help with the morning routine? Any tips to share?