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Talk to Allianz about school run stress and you could win a £250 John Lewis voucher NOW CLOSED

(310 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Aug-14 12:27:27

The team at Allianz would like to hear about Mumsnetters' experiences with school run stress,

Here's what Allianz have to say: "The school run is an important component of every day family life and we are keen to help families across the UK make the process as enjoyable as possible."

So, which factors cause the highest stress levels on the school run? Maybe it starts with getting everyone out of bed on time? Or perhaps it's getting everyone out of the house on time?
Do you have any tips for making the school run a smoother and less stressful experience? If a stressful school run is unavoidable, how does it affect the rest of your day?

Whatever your experiences of school run stress, Allianz would love to hear about it.

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £250 John Lewis voucher.

Please note your comments may be included on Allianz's social media channels, and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

Thanks and good luck,
MNHQ

CMOTDibbler Mon 01-Sep-14 13:06:33

Our time line is pretty tight in the morning as we need to be out at 7.45. Having everything ready the evening before is key, and especially on tight days I'll get up before ds and get myself totally ready so he just needs to bung his clothes on, collect his toast downstairs and we can be out in 15 minutes if necessary

The actual school run is helped a lot in this family by tuning in to the lovely Classic FM. It's about a ten or 15 minute drive to school from our house. Short enough even to go back for something forgotten, but that's on a bad day! On a good day we just enjoy the music smile
The worst thing for the smooth running of our school run is if homework still needs finishing in the morning. This plays havoc with the carefully regimented up, breakfast, pack bags routine.
I've heard that many swear by packing bags, even making packed lunches the night before, laying out uniform and such like, but we've never yet achieved such feats of organisation!

KitCat26 Mon 01-Sep-14 20:21:18

Key is organisation, and getting up on time.

We are lucky and only have to leave by 8.45am, so on a good day being organised means getting up at 6.30am and doing the lunches, then getting the kids up and having breakfast. We need to be eating breakfast by 7.30 then up the stairs getting dressed by 8am. That technically leaves 30-40 minutes to do the last few bits before leaving...

Unsurprisingly those last few things to do are the most stressful and seem to take the longest; find book bags, check reading books are in and signed off, pack an extra snack if there is an after school activity, do hair and teeth and find three pairs of shoes which were definitely by the door when you checked last night.

Finally you are all ready with the door open ready to go when the youngest needs a wee. Right now. Whilst taking the youngest back in, the eldest runs out of the door to the end of the drive and shouts to the neighbours that her sister is on the toilet...

On a disorganised day it is worse!

IsabellaRockerfeller Mon 01-Sep-14 20:30:29

Which factors cause the highest stress levels on the school run?
Not getting up an hour before we are due to leave! That's the amount of time I need to get everything done, the kids need to be up 45 minutes before.

Do you have any tips for making the school run a smoother and less stressful experience?
Get everything ready the night before - uniform ironed and laid out, bags packed, packed lunch made and in fridge, homework done etc.
Walk to school if possible, avoids my biggest causes of stress (parking and getting stuck in traffic). Plus it's nice to get some fresh air.
Take snacks as the kids always say they are hungry en route - despite a massive breakfast!

If a stressful school run is unavoidable, how does it affect the rest of your day?
I feel bad for leaving DS at school in a rush or having had sharp words with him about hurrying up.
Usually a nice coffee at the cafe en route calms me down!

Scrounger Mon 01-Sep-14 21:04:34

Which factors cause the highest stress levels on the school run?
Getting them out of the door seems to be the hardest part, getting them dressed with shoes and coats on. The youngest two still need a bit of help with this so it can take a bit of time. I park a little away from school and walk the rest of the way so no problems parking.

Do you have any tips for making the school run a smoother and less stressful experience?
Get as much ready as you can the night before, bags by the door, any notes for school etc If I need to remember something I sometimes stick a note on the back of the front door to remind me not to forget it.

If a stressful school run is unavoidable, how does it affect the rest of your day?
It doesn't really, I get over it pretty quickly.

I have 2 dc to get ready for school <1st day back tomorrow> and a baby. To lessen the stress I get up slightly earlier than necessary; and am flexible with which order things get done...if baby is awake then he gets sorted first...
One thing which will definitely have to stop is the pre-breakfast minecraft grin that would cause all sorts of problems on a school day hmm

dobedobedo Tue 02-Sep-14 11:56:21

The most stressful bits are my ds1 (9) losing everything. He's quite disorganised, even with lists to help him!
Also some drivers are idiots, so they don't help the situation!
Getting things ready the night before always helps.
Dh starts work a mile away from ds's school so in the mornings we drop dh off, then ds and then ds2 (a baby) and I go home and relax with breakfast (me) and a nap (him).

For us, it was the sheer logistics of the school run!
Two DCs at different schools, 15 minutes' walk apart (I can't drive).
Leave DS in playground at school 1 before registration opens, walk quickly to school 2 with DD to arrive just in time.
Afternoon, pick up DS at 3.10, walk quickly to school 2 for 3.30.
It all worked unless there was a school trip or after school activity, when things often got complicated!
It was a bit easier when DD still fit on the bike seat, asI could go faster by bike than on foot, but I was often seen marching between schools, muttering to myself as I worked out who needed to be where when!
I'm so glad that now they're older my typical school run requires nothing more complicated than waving them off at the door in the morning and letting them in after school.

WowOoo Tue 02-Sep-14 12:19:15

I find the hardest part is getting them to eat their breakfast a bit more quickly.

I have a chalk board which is near the door - any reminders go on this. Ds1 has been encouraged to use it too and he sometimes does.

Ds1 will often remember things just before setting off. I wish he'd remember on the Friday afternoon.

I get as much as I can ready the night before and get everyone up and ready earlier than we need to be. Then, when time runs over we still have plenty of time. If not, we can just chill for a short while or the kids can watch TV or listen to music with me.

SixImpossible Tue 02-Sep-14 12:42:18

If I want to shower in the morning then I have to get up even earlier and shower before the dc get up. Doesn't happen otherwise, and this really adds to the stress.

I would love to be able to leave dc dressing, go off and have my shower, and return to find them dressed and ready for breakfast. Instead, if I - optimistically! - get them started dressing, then go off for my own shower, I return to find them back in bed, or half-dressed and engrossed in a book/Lego/etc, or, if I'm really lucky, sitting down to breakfast wearing yesterday's paint/mud/blood-spattered uniform that should have gone into the laundry basket last night.

Having to keep them going all the time is the major stress for me on a schoolday morning.

Which factors cause the highest stress levels on the school run?
disorganization whether it is clothing or breakfast

Do you have any tips for making the school run a smoother and less stressful experience?
knowing the uniform is ready the night before and bags packed before bed.
THEN in the morning keep a CLOSE eye on timings and break things down into 10-15 minute slots.
we have
15 mins to get up and brush teeth and get to the breakfast table
20 minutes for breafast
10 minutes for getting dressed.
then if all of the above has worked well we have 15 minutes of tv
5 minutes allowed to put on shoes

If a stressful school run is unavoidable, how does it affect the rest of your day?
It doesn't just have an impact on my day but also the children, leaving in a calm and considered manner helps set the childs expectations for the day. Always being or running late for school really nags on a childs mind.

TooManyNames Tue 02-Sep-14 12:56:10

My DH needs a vast amount of time in the bathroom - don't ask why! hmm which means I end up trying to sort my makeup while making sandwiches. Not a good combination. I'm lucky I've not put concealer in the sandwiches and hummus on my face!

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 02-Sep-14 13:07:08

Highest stress levels - slow eating, no matter how early dd gets up, she is still only halfway through breakfast whilst chucking clothes on.

Tips- bag and clothes ready the night before and me getting up 30 mins earlier to mainline caffeine and Mn whilst double checking.

A stressful run is always avoidable Imo.

gildedlily Tue 02-Sep-14 13:12:57

The school run here isn't too stressful mainly because we're only a 5 minute walk from school, I don't work and also because I'm naturally a morning person. If any of that changed it would be a different story!

I also get as much sorted the night before as possible. I also get up an hour and a half before we need to leave so there's time for the children to wake up and for me to do a few chores before we leave.

If it all gets too much a bit of school gate chat and a coffee usually sorts it out.

wonkylegs Tue 02-Sep-14 13:13:29

Our school run stress is the constant changing roadworks that necessitate huge diversions, requiring additional juggling and time. We are quick & organised but still get tangled up in the traffic.
We didn't get into the village school when we moved last year (annoyingly have to drive past it everyday though) , so drive to the nearest town 6miles away.... Since we moved here they've completely closed several roads on the way for weeks/months at a time necessitating diversions of several miles. This week marks the start of another one. Between that and the clamp down on parents parking near the school (there is no other way for us to get him there bar putting a 6yo in a Taxi) I generally want to scream by the end of the week. I now drive more every week despite changing from an office to working from home!

BellaVida Tue 02-Sep-14 13:57:08

I have 4 primary age DC and my youngest starts tomorrow, so I will have 4 on the school run, leaving by 7:45am.

I have already spent the last few days gradually bringing bedtime forward, in preparation for the sluggish early starts!

Which factors cause the highest stress levels on the school run?
It's usually one of two things. Either
- Just as we are about to leave the house I hear " Muuuuuuuum, by the way, we've got swimming today/ need to take in a shoe box (or other random object)".
- Me before we leave "Right, gave you got your rucksack, games bag, instrument?" then we arrive at school to find something has been left behind. Then I get "I though you picked it up" Queue much muttering under my breath and a round trip to pick up said item. Grrrrrr.

Do you have any tips for making the school run a smoother and less stressful experience?
Do everything the night before. I lay all their uniforms out in 4 piles, including underwear and socks. I prepare snacks and put in their school bags. I leave breakfast cereal, bowls and spoons out, so I can get ready themselves whilst they eat.
Ban TV until they are 100% ready!
Oh and I cheat I bit, by putting the clocks forward by 5 mins or so. That way if they are too slow, I tell them "Look, we're going to be late!"

If a stressful school run is unavoidable, how does it affect the rest of your day?
The unavoidably stressful ones are mostly down to traffic. I worry we won't make it, but we have never been late yet.
Sometimes the DC wake up and are bickering over the smallest things, which spills over into school run. If I have to tell them off, I worry about it having a negative effect on their school day, then feel guilty. Maternal guilt is the worst!

RedKites Tue 02-Sep-14 14:33:36

My first 'big school' run was this morning, and it was fine. We were all ready in enough time to take a few photos too. Long may this continue! My biggest source of school run stress is worry about parking. DS1's school is in a village, and there just doesn't seem enough parking to me. Hopefully with time I will find this isn't actually an issue, and then I can stop worrying about it.

nicename Tue 02-Sep-14 16:31:45

So, which factors cause the highest stress levels on the school run?
Buses/trains running late

Do you have any tips for making the school run a smoother and less stressful experience?
Everything ready (clothes out, shoes polished, bags packed) and checked the night before - kids and adults.
Breakfast - all the bits and pieces out on a tray in the kitchen the night before.
Timelines worked out and agreed nagged a million times with everyone.
Always estimate getting up, ready and out as longer than you think, then build in an extra ten minutes or so to make sure.

If a stressful school run is unavoidable, how does it affect the rest of your day?
Not so much now - I have agreed a later/flexible work start time so that if I am running late, there isn't a hassle. I can stay later to make up any time but otherwise, my work are fantastic and don't set up meetings for first thing.

ShowMeTheWonder Tue 02-Sep-14 16:46:23

I always underestimate how long it takes to get shoes and coats on! I have to remember to start this process five minutes before we leave the house, not at the time we actually need to leave. It's nice to walk through the fields and appreciate the scenery to take the stress out of it and enjoy it.

ouryve Tue 02-Sep-14 16:55:01

Both of my boys have ASD and both have been at the centre of their fair share of drama, on the school run.

I'm thankful that DS1 now gets a taxi to a different school. We've had him walking backwards because the sun, wind or rain are in his face and, at his most distressed, sitting down and refusing to budge. It's a 20 minute walk home. There's been days when it's taken us well over an hour and times when we've had to be rescued either by dragging DH home from work, or, on the day that his phone wasn't working properly, a passing member of staff.

I only have DS2 to contend with, most of the time, now. We've just got through a long phase of him wanting to run off and do certain things all the way home and laying on the floor or running in the road, if he's not able to. I'm dreading the onset of winter because he will not wear a coat of any description. We've had some wet days when I've had to take dry clothes for him in my backpack because it's been hissing down. He doesn't care. Unlike his brother, he loves the rain, but it's not very comfortable for the following 6 hours or so!

TenMinutesEarly Tue 02-Sep-14 17:29:35

The most stressful part is definitely the car journey. We always try to walk but sometimes it isn't possible. Traffic and parking are key stress factors. Walking is much less stressful.

TheHouseatWhoCorner Tue 02-Sep-14 18:26:13

Luckily I only have one to get to school.
She's a bit slow at eating her breajfdaste, and often requests a tricky hairstyle that requires a YouTube search.
But she's OK to be left to eat and/or dress while I get ready/ prepare dinner/hang the washing out.
We try to get bags, lunch, uniform etc ready the night before.
I always aim to leave about 5 mins earlier than I need to so that
1. I can get a parking space
2. I put my make up in the car while DD reads and we listen to the radio - a few mins of blissful calm.

lunar1 Tue 02-Sep-14 18:43:51

Getting my boys up dressed fed and out the house is fine. The problem for us is the actual walk. Pavements covered with dog poo. Cyclists on the pavement who don't slow down. Children on bikes and scooters who have no control over what they are doing. Cars parked blocking the pavement so I have to walk my 5&3 year old out onto the main road. Then on bin day if we are unfortunate enough to be walking after they have been round they throw the bins back all over the place so I have to either move about 30 bins or walk on the road.

It's 1.6 miles each way, I guess the only way to improve the school run would be to buy a car or force people to behave like decent human beings.

Lindy2 Tue 02-Sep-14 19:19:09

Our school run stress is usually caused by my daughter somehow loosing one of her shoes just before we leave the house. This happens with surprising regularity!

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