to think I have the perfect solution to the school hours/school run problem?

(55 Posts)
Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 01-Jan-13 12:15:54

Not really. I just want you to all pick holes in my Grand Plan, please, so I don't fall into any pitfalls. This is my first child to go to school, I have no idea what I'm in for. My apologies for the unlikeliness of bunfighting.

Right. So, somewhat unbelievably, DD1 is going to be of school age next year.

DD1 has a best friend, and over many many playdates her mum and I have also become very good friends. The friend is also starting the same school. The mum is a single parent, her DD is an only child and will stay that way. We live about a 2 minute drive/15 minute walk away from one another. She runs a shop another 5 minutes drive from my place; I work a fair way away but drop my car at a bus station 5 minutes past her place. So the map goes like this:
My bus station -- primary school -- her place -- my place -- her work with none of those distances being over 5 minutes drive.

So. She doesn't open till 10am, I work best doing early hours. So our plan is simple. I drop DD1 off at hers at 7am, fully uniformed and packed, she and best friend have breakfast together. Her mum does school drop off at 8.30, gets time to sort herself out before going to work even if morning is chaos. I pick up both girls and either take them to mine until she drives past and picks her up at just past 5pm, or drop hers at the shop - I have to go past there anyway to pick up DD2 from daycare. So I'm thinking, on days DD1 has an after school commitment, I'll drop off the friend with her mum, otherwise I'll just keep them both and feed them as needed.

Is this actually the world's best plan? Or is it just asking for trouble? Would it in fact turn out to be an enormous imposition to have someone else's child dropped off 3 or 4 mornings a week expecting breakfast? What have I missed?

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 02-Jan-13 14:24:19

I can hear what people are saying about problems that can arise but to be honest it's got to be worth a try. It will save quite a lot of money for both of you and will give the children a home environment to relax in before and after school. I'd jump at the chance. The fact that your DH could do the morning school run as a back up is a huge plus I'd say as it takes a lot of the worry out smile

Arcticwaffle Wed 02-Jan-13 14:00:49

We've done this sort of shared school run and before/after school care for years. It works beautifully most of the time. All the parents save loads of money they'd otherwise spend on childcare, and the children have had before and after school clubs as an occasional treat rather than something they've been to day in day out.
We also do it for holidays and inset days. And for emergency childcare/sick days.

oldpeculiar Wed 02-Jan-13 13:49:15

IME these sorts of arrangement seem to breed resentment.I'm not sure why that should be the case, but it does seem so.

Before he started school we could barely keep DS1 in bed past 6am. Now he is in Reception we have to wake him at 7.30 or be late. The difference in intensity and fatigue is astonishing.

If I were the friend I wouldn't agree. Mornings are absolute bedlam even though at pre-school they weren't. It's all the bloody bags I think. Also school shoes run off and hide overnight...

Clary Wed 02-Jan-13 13:42:01

I agree with whoever said best friends or not is not a problem - we have had various school run arrangements over the years and sometimes they were with children who the DC weren't friendly with at all really.

For example, DH used to have a situation with a mum of a girl in DS2's year whom we had known for years but DS2 not actually that keen on .... they walked to school togerher and if needed she wd drop her dd here early, or DH vice versa with DS2 - AFAIK (and bear in mind I was never here!) it was all OK.

I think any of these arrangements have to be reviewed and if they are not working, changed. As I say, we have had a range of arrangements in the past 9 years of working parents/kids at school, from walking bus, breakfast club, after school club, mate picks them up, gran drops in, I start early, DH starts late, meet a friend en route etc.

The most important thing is to have emergency back ups. Even now, with DS2 9yo so fairly independent, I have 4-5 numbers I can text if it all falls apart. grin

Treaclesmart Wed 02-Jan-13 13:30:46

I take my friend's little boy to school twice a week. It's OK but it is a bit of a hassle, I have to be more organised and make sure I'm dressed and have packed lunches done before he gets here as he's quite hard work. I wouldn't want to do it every day.
Would rather have him in the morning than the afternoon though! I think having an another child around after school every day would be difficult because they're often grotty when they come home, and it's hard enough trying to persuade them to do homework when there are no distractions. It's worth a try doing this and it's kind of you to help your friend but i'm not sure that it helps you much if your husband is around and could work later.

I wouldn't do this. In only four months of doing the school run I've seen a few friends fall out already over arrangements like these, and the friendships chop and change so fast - my son was 'best' friends with another boy from preschool (they both started age 2) and sadly they just don't get on since starting school - hopefully that will change but the thought of them having to spend each morning/afternoon together would be hell.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 02-Jan-13 11:56:23

beanandspud, your post is a leeeeetle bit chilling.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 02-Jan-13 11:54:17

Blimey, lots to think about. I love you lot, thank you!

To answer some questions (sorry about delay in responding, I'm in Australia so it was my bedtime partway through the replies last night):

Breakfast/meals fairness: I'll chip in for breakfast cost or bring a box of cereal around once a week. But I'm assuming that I'm feeding her DD at least a substantial snack; she'll pick her up around 5.15pm, so before dinner, but they'll be starving when they get home from school, right? So I'll do them beans on toast or whatever.

Who has most to lose: Actually, this came about because she was worrying about how to deal with after school. She can't close the shop for long enough to go pick her DD up and bring her back; she's a sole operator, and allowing for the school run traffic jam nightmare it's a half hour realistically. But she's perfectly happy for her DD to be IN the shop, to the point where she was considering a nearer, but inferior, primary school just so she could dash down the road and collect her. I don't mind at all if I keep her DD for the afternoon or drop her, really; just thought that her DD wouldn't want to be sitting there with my younger daughter watching DD1 prance around in a tutu. But this definitely represents an advantage to her, because in a pinch I can coordinate with DH but she is on her own. Her other option was to pay a babysitter to do pickup and sit with her DD for an hour or two in the afternoon.

Not sure about her after school clubs. I can drop her at anything that doesn't require me to stay, but I can't see DD1 and 2 (who'll be 2 years old) sitting there waiting while she does somersaults. If DD1 wants to do the same club as her, great! Otherwise, hmm.

7am - I suppose I was thinking that they do have a bit of a sister relationship, so if mine stumbles into hers half awake, it's no different from being at my house - and she's used to going to nursery at 7.30. But actually, there is no reason at all that DH can't do drop off at more like 7.30, 8am, it's only me that needs to be at work super early (I have an hour's commute, so it does need to be 7 for me to get in early).

beanandspud Wed 02-Jan-13 11:13:39

In theory it looks like a great arrangement as long as you have planned it together and the other mum is equally enthusiastic. You do need to agree to formally review it though and be prepared to make alternative arrangements.

However, thinking through the worst case scenario...

You arrive at friend's house at 7am. Other child has slept in and is running late. Mum and friend are still in pyjamas, your DD starts on her breakfast and spills coco pops down her uniform. Friend's mum now needs to try to find a clean top except that the washing's not up to date (planning to put a load on after the school run). DD's friend won't sit at the table because "she's not my friend any more". Television goes on because it is still only 7:45am, neither child wants to be dragged away from the TV when it is time to leave. Mum gets a bit cross that the girls (now best friends again) are messing around. DD has taken off school shoes and can't find them. Also remembers that they were supposed to bring in something beginning with 'ST' for the phonics lesson. Mad scramble for things beginning with ST (or was is SH?). Just as they all leave the house it starts to pour with rain.

Finally get to school, one of the girls rushes in, the other suddenly doesn't feel very well and doesn't want to go to school.

After school DC1 has been invited to tea with new best friend, DC2 hasn't been invited and goes home alone but is really upset about it. Your DD tells you that she was shouted at this morning by friend's mum and you don't know how to broach the subject without ruining the friendship. You no longer see your friend at weekends or holidays because you see so much of both children during the week...

<<wakes up in cold sweat>>

For all of those reasons I would try to be as self-sufficient as possible and maybe share the school run a couple of days a week or cover emergencies.

quoteunquote Wed 02-Jan-13 10:54:30

OP, we have always had an arrangement a bit like yours, either we have children here early(earlier than your drop off) in the morning, or ours get dropped at another friends,

Just work out what your back up plan is if someone is ill/car breaks down, it happens a lot.

and make sure that all bags are fully packed the night before and clothes laid out, my children have always had to do this, when they come in from school, before any leisure activities tale place, then nothing can get forgotten in the mornings(that always messes up plans)

when children arrive here, we always put their bags/ instruments/ and coats straight in the car, so they cannot get forgotten in the hand over, I make sure the children get very good at doing their own check list.

janey68 Wed 02-Jan-13 10:01:25

Oops! Are you going to provide an after school snack which would even things up a bit more? Otherwise I agree that you should contribute towards the milk, cereal etc. it all adds up over time

janey68 Wed 02-Jan-13 09:59:49

Yes that's a good point about the meal issue. Are you going to pr

Xmaspuddingsaga Wed 02-Jan-13 09:56:44

I would worry less about the girls not getting on so well. We have school runs with a variety of other parents, they are not the children's best friends but they get on well enough. I think this is really a non issue.

MrsMushroom Wed 02-Jan-13 09:52:29

I would hesitate to use the term "best friends" when you're talking about 3/4 year olds. They play together because you and her Mum get on...when they are in a class with 15 other litte girls, things can change so fast you wouldn't believe it.

Be aware that they may get "new best friends" and also sick of the routine....but you have to do what's best for you at the moment.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 02-Jan-13 09:47:59

I think it is a good arrangement in principal, though there is one area that could lead to resentment. The other mum is providing breakfast though from what I can see you are no providing a meal. I could see the fact that she has a cost and you don't could begin to grate over time.
You can't pay her, but you could provide your DD's breakfast item maybe buying cereal every other week and milk to even it up.
As others say the girl's could grow apart my DD has two friends who she was close to at nursery from 6 months old at about 6 years old they began to get less enthusiastic about each other. They like to see each other occasionally now, but not daily.

Xmaspuddingsaga Wed 02-Jan-13 09:47:53

OP I think you need to commit to ferrying your friends dd about to afterschool clubs etc even if your dd is doing something else. Otherwise it's not fair as you will be dropping dd off regard less. I would also like to ask where is your DH in this ? What time does he leave ? Could he not help out and drop your dd a little later ? 7am does seem early to me.

sashh Wed 02-Jan-13 09:44:05

How long does your dd take to get washed and dressed? 7 am seems an early drop of for me.

janey68 Wed 02-Jan-13 09:37:21

Those expressing shock horror at a schoolchild being dropped at 7 in the morning are missing the point that with working parents, that child is well used to being dropped at nursery or a childminder early. Until my children started school I dropped them at nursery at 7.30, and now they're school age we have a similar arrangement with a cm who then takes them to school and does the pick up later. It's all perfectly normal and as long as children have a secure routine and enough rest they'll be fine.

I think this sounds like a good arrangement as its reciprocal. Childcare is an interesting topic on MN because many people see nothing wrong with using extended family as a free childminding service, yet are ready to pick holes in a perfectly sensible arrangment like this. The bottom line is: you both need some form of out of school care so you both benefit.

I think a review after a term is sensible though, just to iron out any issues which might emerge such as after school clubs etc

UniS Wed 02-Jan-13 09:17:18

when we had 2 extras here in the morning... they would arrive having had their breakfast and were expected to get on with something ( duplo/ trains track/ jigsaws etc) in living room while I got DS breakfasted, teeth cleaned. DS would join them while I made his pack lunch then all got shoes on etc at 8.20 for walk to school.

I set ground rules about staying down stairs and shoes off. We have no TV so that wasn't an option.

Murtette Tue 01-Jan-13 23:42:57

Being very practical - if your DD is dropped off in her school uniform at 7am, will it still be clean when she's dropped off or will there be breakfast all down it?
Other possible problems (from when I used to have a similar childcare arrangement as a child rather than something I've experienced as a parent) - what happens if one of the children settles really quickly into school & loves it and the other doesn't? What happens if, after drop off, your DD realises she's forgotten something? If its an item of clothing, will you expect your friend to provide something? What if its spellings she's only just remembered she's supposed to know? Or money? And are you supposed to do any homework type stuff with the other child after school? A more modern problem - what will your DD do whilst the other child is getting dressed, cleaning teeth etc? Watch TV, possibly making it harder for the other mother to get her daughter ready as that girl wants to watch TV too?
I'm often pondering this as may end up doing something similar when DD starts school the following Sept.

SavoyCabbage Tue 01-Jan-13 21:16:56

If you have other alternatives (OSH, DH) then perhaps you could do these on a couple of the days so it's not every day that you are relying on each other.

PenguinBear Tue 01-Jan-13 21:14:10

As long as your friend is happy with it, sounds like a good plan smile

UniS Tue 01-Jan-13 20:33:39

Th morning bit CAN work, but needs reviewing regularly as to weather it is working now. I have had a friend drop her 2 off at mine at 7.15 2 days a week for half a term, I have dropped my 1 at hers at equally unpleasant time of morning on different days... but its been short term not for years and years.

lovelyladuree Tue 01-Jan-13 19:33:15

It will end in tears. Yours, probably.

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