Staying sane on school mornings

Saturday June 9 2018

One of the many challenges parents face

One of the many challenges parents face in the morning is getting children to have their breakfast in time. Net photo 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

School is here again and for many parents, school mornings can be like hell because getting an entire family wake up, dress, feed, to school and then going to your work place in time seems impossible.

What would be essential is that the child at least has the uniform on, has brushed his teeth and is not on an empty stomach before you leave home but how does one do this and be at work in time with the crazy city traffic?

Ann Male, a mother of two says she has always been a calm mother but when it comes to school mornings, things get out of hand. “Sometimes my daughter gets playful when it is time to eat. I do not want her to go hungry so I yell at her. It is like she never takes things seriously.” Like many children, Male’s daughter keeps rolling about in bed when it is time to wake up.

She has on several occasions forgotten her children’s lunch boxes and had to incur an extra cost of a boda boda to pick them from home.
“School mornings without a maid have always been frustrating for me. I keep forgetting petty things such as my phone, lunch box, and their homework books on the dining table. I had a car so I thought it was a waste for my children to go with the school van.”

Tricky items
If not watched, the following things can ruin your school mornings; unfinished homework, transition from dinner and shower time to bedtime, and then actually getting the children to sleep so they can wake up in time.

If a child leaves the house in the morning without the right shoes, or sports gear, or homework, or without eating breakfast, it can contribute to problems at school. And if a child is late to school, the parent is often late to work, too.

Male recalls a morning she wore different shoes. “The shoes were both black but with a different design. By the time I realised, I was at the school already. I was only saved by the pair of sandals that I keep in the car. Going back home to change the shoes would have been risky because there was a client at work who was already waiting,” she says.

Preparation is key
After a long day it is tempting to keep off work for the next day. Make preparations for the next morning at night.
• Put out breakfast bowls, clothes after dinner.

• Also make sure that you get enough sleep so that you do not doze the entire day.
• Ben Nsubuga, a father of two says getting up early is very important because you get enough time to calm down. The resident of Entebbe town wakes up at 5am every day and the children 15 minutes later. Staying calm sets you for the rest of the day and the children will be calm too.

“Since their mother does most of the preparation the night before, they only wake up to bathe, eat and dress up. By 5.45am, we are on the road already. This enables me to beat the jam because at Sir Apollo Kaggwa (Nakasero), they must be in class before 7am,” says Nsubuga.

• Being early enough gives the children time to relax. However, when Nsubuga’s children had just begun school, he would carry a blanket in the car. “They would sleep all the way from home. When we reached school, I would wake them up and play some songs or play with them for some minutes for them to calm down and to be fully awake.”

• Put car keys, school bags or shoes in one place. “Tell your children however young they may be that it is important to put everything back in its proper place when they return, and supervise them until they make it a habit. This will help you spend less time looking for everything.”

• Older children need a few instructions from the parents which they can follow through to prepare themselves for school. However, some children need reminders.

• Nsubuga’s office on Cham Towers would open at about 8am so after dropping off the children, he would drive to his workplace and sleep in the car and his blanket became very useful.

Nsubuga also makes sure he does most of the tasks before lunch time so that he does not delay to pick up the children from school. By 5pm, they are on the journey back home to avoid the traffic jam on Entebbe road.

“I am now more organised and less stressed. By 6:30am, I have already dropped them off at school. I make sure that they do their homework upon arrival at home and put them to bed as soon as they have eaten supper about 7pm so that they can have enough rest. They never disturb me when I wake them up,” says Male.

However, if a parent cannot manage the school drop, they can pay for transport services at school such that the children are picked up from home and parents can go straight to work.