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Don't Get Stressed, Get Organised

Moms combat back-to-school woes with next-level planning

By CARA HUNT

Tribune Features Writer

cbrennen@tribunemedia.net

It's that time of year again. Kids have to switch gears from late night TV binge-watching to going to bed early so they can get a fresh start for the 2018/19 school year.

And if you are like a lot of Bahamian moms out there, you are already dreading the battle of getting everyone dressed and out the door on time without losing your sanity.

This week, Tribune Woman talked to several moms to see how they plan to reduce the chaos that usually surrounds their weekday mornings. And they all agreed that the key to keeping things together really lies in two areas: getting their kids to bed early and packing their bags the night before.

"Last year I think I blew a mom gasket," said Tiska, a mother of two boys.

"My biggest challenge was that my boys never wanted to wake up, so I would spend half an hour trying to get them up before they finally got on with starting the day. My sons are seven and nine and they averaged bedtime at 9.45pm. I am determined that we are going to start the bed process at 8.30pm this year because if they are in bed that gives mom some 'me time' and hopefully they will be up earlier and less tired."

Savannah said that an early bedtime is what ensures peaceful mornings.

"I have to be at work at 8.30am, so there is no time to play in the mornings. You have to get up and in the car or you get left. I don't have time to play. With the traffic out east I have to leave home at 7am at the latest. So we go to bed early. My daughter, who is five, is in bed at 7.30pm and by 9.30pm I am in bed. We wake up at 6.15am. I have all of our things placed the night before, and combing her hair the night before is essential. When we get up it's bathroom, get dressed. She usually has an PediaSure in the car and that holds her until their first snack. She is in school by 7.45am and I am at work by 8.20 usually at the latest."

"I hate the mornings," Olivia told Tribune Woman. "It seems that all my kids and I do is fight and we would row in traffic all the way to school. Then I feel bad because I know that sending them to school with everyone so upset is not a good way to start the morning or help them be ready to learn.

"I have to admit, we are unorganised. Sometimes I would just be ironing in the morning. This year I am taking a cue from Pinterest. I bought a five-shelf closet organiser for all of us. My goal is that everyone is responsible for filling their cubby for the week on Sunday. So we will have underwear, socks, ties, shoes and uniforms, extracurricular stuff all laid out for the week. And I have a similar setup for the fridge. I bought a small plastic bin and the plan is that all their snacks go in the bin, so in the morning we just grab and go. I'm hopeful that once this becomes habit my kids will be so glad to not hear me row, that school mornings are smooth."

Meanwhile, Kenny said that in addition to laying everything out the night before, she makes sure her kids have their alarms set.

"If you know your child doesn't like to wake up, set it earlier. My daughter is not one of those kids who jumps out of bed. I set her alarm clock half an hour before I need her up and that really helps, because when I need her out the bed she is awake and ready to go," she said.

Shona suggests having a relationship with at least one other parent in your child's class, or even better, a WhatsApp group for the class parents.

"Another tip, I put all info in my phone with reminders to go off the evening before or two days out for each child depending on what it is. Can't rely on the notes alone. I need to know who has a field trip, who is out of uniform et cetera. I also stay in the loop with at least one other parent in the class because sometimes kids don't bring home a clear message, forget homework, or only write down two of the 20 math sums from off the board," she said.

The moms all agreed that a little pre-planning and organisation can go a long way.

"Basically, my rule is I leave only the essentials for the morning," said working mom Catherine. "We all have mornings when you tired or you don't feel like being bothered, so the less you have to do, the better. I think I have us to a point where if need be, we can be out the house in half an hour. I also have a point of no return - that is the time when we have to leave the house, so my kids know that the car pulling out then no matter what stage of ready they are."

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