Sometimes We Are Late For School


I’m a fairly organised person, perhaps bordering on too organised. I prepare the night before where possible and leave little to chance.

This has become more pronounced since my children started school last year. This year, with two at school, mornings can become very frantic despite my best efforts.

Our alarm goes off at 7am and generally speaking we’re all up and breakfasting within fifteen minutes. After breakfast my children have only to: brush their teeth, get dressed, put their lunch bags and drink bottles which are already packed, into their bags, check readers and homework or any extra items like swimmers on sports day, are packed and we’re good to go.

But sometimes we get to school at, or after the bell.

I’ll admit that on some mornings it’s because Miss 3 has failed to launch and is half dressed at the time we need to leave or Master 20 months has filed an urgent nappy change request and there was once that I discovered head lice and treated the kids before we left for school.

But for the most part, the few times we have arrived at school after the bell it’s because my school aged children have dawdled or flat out refused to get ready on time.

I found this stressful and the more consistently it occurred the more frustrated I became. I was hurrying them into the car to get to school on time and it wasn’t fun for anyone.

In the end I decided that the children needed to learn accountability and so the next few times they dragged the chain I didn’t hurry them up. We left the house when they were ready and arrived at school after the bell.

I explained gently that they were late because of their unwillingness to get ready without playing around or searching out more enjoyable distractions. I didn’t say a lot, but I told them that if they wanted to be on time, or arrive before the bell they needed to be more willing to get ready in the mornings.

Funnily enough, after a couple of these episodes the kids were cured of their dawdling. Accepting the responsibility for arriving late on their small shoulders taught them that there are consequences to their actions and that they don’t always feel nice.

Of course, as the children grown in faith and knowledge of Christ, it is easier to explain this in terms of cheerful obedience and doing things because they are right, even if they are boring. I am indebted to the Dominican Sisters who teach my children religion at school because it is these very qualities they have focused on early.

More often than not, we’re out the door early now, and the unwillingness to get ready has almost disappeared. In fact, they’re quite the opposite and help each other complete all their tasks and take great delight in showing a responsible independence.

But that’s just in the mornings.

The afternoons are a whole other story…



Filed Under: ChildrenFamily LifeFeaturedOrganisation

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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  1. Susanna van der Gulik says:

    “we’re all up and breakfasting within fifteen minutes” – wow. I’m impressed. It’s the pulling mine out of bed and getting them to the breakfast table that seems to be the time-consuming part in my house!

    Great strategy. I’m firmly for getting children to take responsibility for themselves – I am aware that my master plan is sometimes confused with benign neglect… ;-) Works well as long as they have a stake in the consequences. Master 8 loves to play on the iPads at school before the bell, but Miss 7 and Miss 5 don’t seem to care.

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