21 things that always happen on school mornings
Five days a week, between roughly 7.30 and 8.30am, parents all over the country are tearing their hair out trying to get their children ready for school. It's the same routine every morning, and it never gets easier...
How many of these did you cross off this morning?
1. Your child, despite bouncing out of bed at 6am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, sleeps through their alarm, you shouting through their bedroom door, and the dog jumping on their bed. Only when you whip the duvet off their body do they finally begin to regain consciousness – unwillingly.
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2. There's always a row over breakfast. Someone has finished the last box of Cheerios, and no one is owning up to it. You try to defuse the situation by suggesting alternatives (cornflakes, porridge, rice crispies), but nope, none of them are cutting it – until, as a last ditch attempt to get your children to shut up and eat, you offer homemade pancakes. As if you have time for this on a school day.
3. You send your child upstairs to get dressed. Ten minutes later, they're still sitting on the bedroom floor reading, stark naked apart from one sock. And they have the audacity to look hurt when you shout at them...
4. Despite your strict 'no screentime before school' rule, you always find someone sneakily watching You Tube on a forbidden iPad.
5. You will need to shout 'TEETH!' at your child at least 17 times before they actually venture as far as the bathroom. Come on, the school routine has been the same every morning since their first day of Reception; how come they haven't got it yet?
6. You finally make it downstairs to make yourself a cup of tea, only to discover that some nameless culprit has finished the last of the milk. So now you have to get through the next hour without caffeine... PANIC!
7. Your child emerges from the bathroom with a streak of toothpaste dribble right down the front of their freshly washed school jumper – and a quick hunt reveals that all the others are still in the laundry basket. Oh well; a swift scrub with a baby wipe will have to do.
8. You're in the middle of doing your daughter's hair when you discover 'visitors' of a most unwelcome variety. Aarrrgh! But there's no time to do anything about it now – you'll have to make do with the tightest French plait you can imagine (which is apparently a form of torture), and remember to buy nit lotion later.
9. Someone remembers that they have homework to be handed in today. Homework that was set four days ago, and that hasn't yet made it out of your child's schoolbag.
10. Someone else remembers that they have a music lesson today, but one of the sections of their clarinet seems to have gone missing. Of course, it's not their fault...
11. Your child will decide that three minutes before you need to get coats on is the perfect time to set up an elaborate Lego game all across the living room floor. And then get so engrossed that they have to be forcibly removed from it, kicking and screaming.
12. You discover a letter in your child's book bag saying that their school trip payment has to be handed in today or they won't be able to go – but your cheque book is empty, as is your purse. And your child's piggy bank is full of IOUs (written by you). That'll be a mid-morning trip to the cash machine and then to the school office, then...
13. Your child feigns a stomach ache. You almost believe them for a moment, but then you realise that it's outdoor PE today and they'll do anything to get out of it. Not a chance.
14. It's almost time to leave, but someone has lost a shoe. Needless to say, this wouldn't happen if they'd been put back on the shoe rack. It's discovered five minutes later in the dog's bed.
15. Time to go – but your child is still lying on their back on the floor, mid-daydream. You briefly feel guilty about the rude awakening you're about to give your next-door neighbours, but honestly, how are you meant to get through the morning routine without blowing your top?
16. You shout; your child cries. You know you'll be wracked with guilt for the rest of the day, while they'll have forgotten all about it by the time you get to the playground.
17. Your child refuses to wear a coat, scarf or gloves (it's SO not cool) even though it's sub-zero outside. You pick your battles and bite your tongue, knowing you'll be thinking, 'I told you so' by the time you reach the end of the road.
18. Your child starts complaining about being cold. Surprise, surprise.
19. You spend the entire school run barking commands at your child: 'Hurry up! Slow down! Mind that dog poo!' One of these days you'll record yourself and play it back every morning to save yourself the bother.
20. You get halfway to school, and your child realises they've left their lunch box on the kitchen worktop. You don't know whether to laugh, cry or scream – so you do all three.
21. Finally, you've made it to school and your child is through the doors. It felt like running a marathon in stilettoes with a hangover, but you did it, and now you can drag your broken body home/off to work and collapse. Same time again tomorrow, okay?