Kaya Scott, mum of three and co-founder of Sassy Mama Dubai, an online magazine for mums and mums-to-be, shares her top tips on how to manage the school run in style
My biggest tip of all is to get your timing right. If you’re running late, trying to rush kids in and out of the car and navigating traffic like a maniac, then you’re guaranteed stress (and possibly tears) at drop-off. To avoid a crazy car journey, make sure you plan to leave 10 minutes before you actually need to. If this means getting organised the night before, then do it, even if you’re tired. Laying out uniforms, packing lunches and getting the breakfast table laid in advance will all help to make things go more smoothly the next day.
Keep your car organised
As a mum, this can seem impossible – we often have socks, books, bits of food and everything in between strewn all over the seats. But a messy car makes for a messy mind – and maximises the risk of forgetting to send your little darling off with their PE kit on the required day – so make sure that your car is kept clutter-free. Always keep a supply of tissues, wipes and emergency water within easy reach – it’s guaranteed that one of the kids will sneeze on the other or spill that smoothie you thought was a safe bet for them to drink in the car.
Know your route and best parking spots
A trial school run before term starts will allow you to figure out whether there are any shortcuts or ways to avoid major junctions and traffic-light hold-ups. Check which areas are safe and convenient for parking, because driving up onto pavements or double-parking right outside the gates are best avoided – and will cause major embarrassment to your children and a telling-off from school security.
At 7.15am, when you haven’t had time for that first sip of coffee, it can be tempting to turn on the radio and zone out. But the drive to school (or back home) is a great time to chat with the kids about everything, from what you have planned for the weekend to what they’ve been up to. Be prepared for the standard ‘nothing’ answer by asking inventive questions about what was the best or worst part of their day, or who was naughtiest in class. A good chat leads to a good mind-set and a much easier ride.
As temperatures soar, getting into a hot vehicle can make for a carload of grumpy passengers. Start your engine and air-conditioning a couple of minutes before leaving in the morning to cool everything down and take cold water or a cool box with an icy treat for the way home. If you have a helper and she can come with you on the school run – or you can join forces with another mum – then it’s also worth leaving one person in the car to keep the engine running and to scoop you up at the school gates to minimise the amount of walking required in the heat.
Wear your gym kit
You might be tempted to get dressed up to the nines for the school run but my advice is not to – there is absolutely no need, given how early school starts in Dubai. So whether you’re heading to a workout or not, just pull on your gym kit and hit the shower after you’ve dropped off the kids – it makes life so much easier. Who wants to totter through the school gates in high heels anyway?!
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