Strugling with secondary school run(98 Posts)
In a nutshell my twin DD's started secondary school in September. Rather than going to the local secondary school, we decided as a family to go to the 'better' state school 8 miles away. As we are out of catchment we are lucky to get a place and my DD's are getting on really well.
There are no school buses or public transport, so I have to drive them. I work, run the home and have a large allotment, plus my DD's are very sporty and do a lot of sport in the evenings and weekends.
The trouble is the effect on me! I am knackered. The early starts are killing me, coupled with the stress of getting them there on time. Mornings are a nightmare. They are always arguing (as twins do) but even that is preferable to the lacksadaisical (sp?) attitude they have.
E.G. Time to leave - nothing is ready, so I did them a checklist for nightime. Checklist isn't used.
Unless I keep reminding them of the time, they won't be ready. Clocks all around the house - they don't look at them. They have no concept of time.
When asked at night 'have you done X, is Y ready', the answer is yes. Time to leave in the morning DD's suddenly remember X or Y isn't done and they have to rush off to get it. I have explained if they were getting a school bus they wouldn't be able to do it, but good old mum stands there waiting. I would rather them forget X or Y because then dealing with the consequences might make them learn. However, they remember just in the nick of time, but it makes us late/stressed.
I have explained we have to leave at a certain time for them to be on time and for my work. I have even said that the deal of going to this school was they got organised the night before and were ready at the set time. Its now nearing the end of the first term and its no different to the first week! I have said if its like this still by Xmas, then we will have to look at moving to the nearer school, which is within walking distance and starts at 9am not 8am. Still there is no change but I know they will be heartbroken to change schools.
I don't want to stop their sport as they are exceptionally good and their coach says they have high potential in their chosen sport.
I just don't know what to do. Being purely selfish, its killing me. I am getting migraines and feeling very stressed. Plus my work if suffering (work from home) as I have such a short day with this nightmare school run (it takes just over an hour in the afternoon to do the school run).
Any help/advice would be appreciated. I just wish they would make an effort. They are still acting like primary school kids, yet expecting grown up treatment. They don't do anything unless I tell them. For example, clothes left on floor, won't have a shower etc etc. I just feel I am parenting like I did when they were 5 year olds.
Any ideas how to get them to become a bit more responsible?
You might need to try a bit of tough love. It won't be easy for you - tell them in no in certain terms the time the car is leaving and if they aren't in it go without them. Bet you only need to do it once!
I have a similar school run to you but do not have teenagers yet, the nine year old is working towards it though! Are they young for the year? I read somewhere that it takes teenagers a while to get into gear with organisation. It must be doubly hard as you have two of them! It is exhausting, I spend an hour and a half on school runs everyday, due to no junior school where I live I drive to the junior school and then back to the primary school and then the same reversed in the afternoon. I also work from home and it is hard enough as it is without the school runs so you have my sympathy.
Could you maybe phase in the responsibilities instead of expecting them to do all of them, maybe one a week and add an extra every week? so it doesn't feel overwhelming to them. The dirty clothes thing happens in every house, regardless of age!
Stop doing the school runs. Let them take the bus.
Obviously I fully expect to be posting the same in the next year and a half and have a told you so thrown at me
Set a leaving time. Make sure they know when it is. Say that they are allowed one mad scramble a week between now and Christmas- any more and they will have to change schools. Keep a note of the mad scrambles.
Stick to it. You have rights too.
Take a few days off. Do not tell them, do not nag them, leave when they are ready to leave and take then in explaining theŷ have made the choice to get to school at that time.
I'd tell them it happens again and the sport stps and that is their decision.
Make them take the responsibility.
My son is now in Y8. Granted he only have 17 minutes walk to school, and he startes 8.15. But by half term in Y7 he was up to speed on his own uniform, his pe kits, his bag, his homework, and remembering everything he needed.
I did NOT run to school with his kit when he rang me saying he had forgotten his kit, and he had to serve the detention. He did not have to experience this twice.
He knows he has to be out of the door by 7.45, and by 7.40 on the dot he starts putting his shoes on.
Stop babying them. They know that YOU want them to go to this school. The question is, what do you want more: For them to be at this school, or for you to have a decent working day without headaches and stress. This is not doing either of you any good.
Tell them they are taking the bus, or changing schools, thats their choice. Mum ferrying them back and forth is off the table.
Let them go without kit. Let them have detention, and lose out on sports. They will buckle up their ideas when they are not in a position to emotionally blackmail you over the issue.
"Take a few days off. Do not tell them, do not nag them, leave when they are ready to leave and take then in explaining theŷ have made the choice to get to school at that time."
Actually yes,that's a much better idea. I would do this.
I feel your pain. I am constantly nagging my two. Dc1 is also in year 7. My school run an take 45 mins by car.
Try a day where you leave only when they are ready. Bite your tongue and wait for them. If they are late for school, they can explain why to their teacher. There may well be a consequential school punishment, and they will have to take it. Tough love.
If however one is ready before the other, you may be able to 'divide & rule'; both are late but it's only one twin's fault. You may then have an ally.
Thanks for replies but to all the people saying make them take the bus - there is no bus!
I could've written your post a couple of years ago.
THB I knew of the downside when we got them into an out of catchment school, the endless ferrying is part of the deal.
I used to take mine on the way to work; we were getting later & later and I was getting more & more shouty. One day I left one of them behind & he had to wait for DH to finish a call so was really late for school.
Regarding the sport, is there anyone you could share lifts with? Ask other parents at the fixtures. That made my life much easier.
I would stop reminding them and if they forget books, kit, homework that is tough. They will have to learn form mistakes . Also could they not get the bus home or partway at least ?
8 miles is about 40 minutes on a bike, isn't it? Is that an option?
No bus no train. No way would I let 11 year old bike 8 miles down country lanes.
I feel your pain. I am a single parent with a full time job and have an 8am departure for school and a 9pm pick up. We also have no public transport round here.
My strategy is to wake everyone with a cup of tea at 7am, let the dogs out, get breakfast on, then shout up the stairs every 10 mins or so with a time check, until they appear. I eat my breakfast, watch the news and have a cup of tea.
They know when we have to leave and if they are late, then I let them be late. Usually one of them will have a go at the other one for holding them up. If they forget their kit, it is their problem. I have just stopped worrying about it and slowly they are getting better at it.
I think you need to take a step back and see what happens.
Are there any parents near you who could lift share? At least that would take the strain off you a bit.
To answer questions (can't remember all names)!
I think leaving without is a good one and I'll give it some thought.
They are young for their year - they are 11 with a July birthday.
I do already have a leaving time - its just me that sticks to it!
Might use the sport as a bargaining tool.
Leave when they are ready and if they are late, they take the consequences. Great idea, but it will make me late too!
One comment was surprising 'they know you want them to go to this school'. Not at all. I couldn't care less as long as they are happy and doing well. We decided as a family which school was right.
Lots of food for thought.
I so wish there was a bus, because that would be the answer.
Mine's a little like this. The clothes etc. He's an Aug y7, a little indulged and has the potential to be massively disorganised.
However he has now got the hang of thinking about stuff and sorting it the night before. It is the only way. He also gets up when he has to and gets ready without any nagging.
Impose a few sanctions. Can't do after school sports? No screen time? Hit them where it hurts.
Do not underestimate the power of the threat of no clubs/screen time, but be prepared to carry out what you say or you are sunk!
They all relapse from time to time (they are just children) but you are not doing them or yourself any favours by being a pushover.
You decide the leaving time.
Every minute late = five minutes late for the next evening's activity, or five minutes late picking them up after school that day.
Implement that NOW and give them till Christmas. If they think you don't mean it they won't change.
Tell them what time you are leaving and then leave. Tell them "I am going at X o'clock" and do it - I once drove four doors down our road and they all came running after me with all their stuff. I never needed to do it again
You have answered the no bus people. But what about all of those saying just leave when you need to and without them if that is necessary. You are being too soft and they will not change unless tough love is given.
Elastamum - I think I might be waking them up too late. You seem to allow an hour. Perhaps its as straightforward as that! If they aren't ready at 7.50 to leave I will have to wake them at 6.50 not 7am!
The worse thing is everyone tells me let them forget it. That's fine, I wish they would. Its the remembering just as we are going out of the door.
Daltec - no parents to lift share this year but I know someone next year who will do the return run and I'll do the morning run. But we will have to go out earlier aaaaghh
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