As a motorist, there are few things as stressful as the school run – even if you get up and out on time, there is always something to knock you off schedule, be that a broken down bus or a forgotten lunchbox.
And then there are the lunatic parents who are on a mission to getting a parking space as close as possible to the school gates – it sometimes feels like it’d be worth your while turning up late every day just to avoid these motoring maniacs!
The stresses of the school run
A study of 1,000 parents with children aged between five and 15 was recently carried out by Allianz insurance* and found their stress levels peaked at 8.15am, just as many were about to set off or were already in the middle of the school run.
Almost a third (30%) of parents tested said a bad school run could mess up the rest of their day, while a number complained of the long-lasting effects of a nightmare run, with the ‘stress hangover’ lasting until 2.30pm in some cases.
Furthermore, a 2012 study** found over three-quarters (77%) of parents who drive their kids to school find the morning and afternoon school run more stressful than work, while more than half (54%) said they’re more likely to use their horn or swear at other motorists while ferrying the kids.
So if this sounds like you, what can you do to make the school run a more pleasurable experience for all?
Get out the door on time
Granted, this one is easier said than done, but if you just get up and out on time you’ll find you’re a lot less stressed on both the school run and the subsequent commute to work.
So if you find you’re running late every day, get yourself and the kids up earlier, if you’re too tired to get up earlier, get to bed earlier. And if the kids dawdle and won’t eat their breakfast on time, give them a breakfast they can eat in the car.
If you have a desperate last minute look for missing shoes, coats or school bags every morning, just take a few minutes out to get everything ready the night before – lay the uniforms out, get the packed lunch ready and leave the school bags by the door.
Once you get into this routine, you’ll never look back.
Enjoy the time with the kids
It’s both a parenting cliche and a complete truism but kids grow up so fast – one minute you’re blubbing at the school gates on their first day at school (now there’s a nightmare school run), the next you’re waving them off to university.
So take the time to have fun with the kids, talk to them about what they’ve got on that day, what you’ve got on that day, make plans for the weekend, put on their favourite music and sing along – anything that you all enjoy.
Above all else, try to stay calm though and refrain from teaching them words that would make the school bully blush!