"Do you miss those days?" I asked, looking for a bit of love
"Well, it seems like you've been doing it forever" she answered.
"I miss Dad walking me to School, but I like walking with you too!"
Big Boy put his hand into mine and immediately the warmth from his little hand spread up into my heart and he looked up at me and said;
"I love being with you in the mornings."
That was the answer I was looking for.
The School Run this morning may have been cold, wet, miserable and devoid of any other adults I knew to have a chat with, but then again it was also full of love, relaxed and fortunately for me was a typical morning.
I know. How jammy am I?
Don't get me wrong, I'm always scrabbling around in my handbag hoping that I've already put my keys in there, before Top Ender shuts the front door as we leave in the morning (So far I haven't locked myself out) and we have on more than one occasion said a prayer for a good day as we've been walking up our road because we forgot at home, and we've even forgotten homework, violins, blood test monitors, lunch boxes, water bottles and jumpers that we've had to go home to retrieve, but generally we have the mornings under control in our house.
Kia, who are promoting their Walk to School Month and Tots100 thought it would be fun for them to give me a heart monitor to wear on the morning School run, just to see at what points I was most, well stressed I guess, but surprisingly to me I didn't have any stress. Well, according to my heart rate anyway.
I have a resting Heart Rate of around 54 bpm, again I'm jammy as this is something I inherited thanks to good genetics, or it could just be because I have such a big heart. Anyhoo, every time the instructors at the Gym take my heart rate, or I go to the clinic for what ever they are always really surprised to see that it's so low because, well I'm the first to admit it I don't look like I should have a slow heart rate do I. Doing Top Enders hair into a bun, took my heart rate up to 69 bpm. Then again maybe I do get stressed.
We love walking to School, it helps that the side entrance to the School is only five minutes away from our house, but for us walking to School is a chance for us to lay out our plans for the day, to remind each other of events that are upcoming, things they wanted reminded of to share with friends and even to put requests in for lunchboxes or an evening meal suggestion. Just like Kia, we love the health benefits of walking to School (for me the 40 minutes of walking a day of walking back and forwards from School is doing my daily steps total a world of good!) and we love that each October we see more and more children walking to School as part of the International Walk to School Month, where primary school pupils across the UK and over 40 countries worldwide celebrate the benefits of walking to school. Whilst not everyone may have access to a heart rate monitor, the exercise is good for your heart, especially if you run home like I do!
The thing I know you're going to want to know however, is how do we do it. How do we turn what could be one of the most stressful things of a day into a pleasant walk, even if it is raining and we're all cold?
Well, I follow these simple rules, which I guess you could call my tips for a smooth morning.
Everyone has a job, and these jobs start the night before
When we get home from School, the children put their shoes into the shoe box.
Top Ender empties out the lunch boxes and if needs be throws them in the washing machine for a quick wash.
Big Boy is in charge of collecting homework, notes from School and home contact books and putting them in one place for me to deal with.
They then read together on the sofa, whilst I put together a snack for them and I hear each of them read in turn and sign their books to say they've read and deal with any letters from the School.
Together we then look at the homework (spelling practice, a bit of times tables practice nightly and one or two pieces of weekly homework given on a Thursday due in on a Tuesday) and repack our bags for the next day.
Water bottles are rinsed and refilled, lunchboxes are hung to dry and we get on with our evening... after changing out of the School uniform and putting whatever needs washing into the washbox that is!
By giving the children something to be responsible for, I've taken stress off myself and by doing it in the evening, we're not rushing in the morning.
Keep it Simple
The mornings for us are simple. I get up a good hour before the children, I read my Scriptures, read a few emails or Facebook messages, post an instagram image of my sock choice for the day, get showered and dressed and then go sort out the Cats with their breakfast.
Once I've fed the cats, put together the lunch boxes (which are already planned out), started breakfast cooking if it's a cooked breakfast morning, I then go and wake up the children. The children have already laid out their clothes for the day, so they just need to pop into the bathroom to freshen up (baths before bed) before getting dressed and joining me downstairs for breakfast.
The children sit together at the table, eating, watching a youtube video if they are allowed, or chatting about various things that cross their mind before going to brush their teeth and joining me in a morning prayer before we head out the front door, where our coats and bags are waiting for us.
Simple, easy and no rushing. Most of the time anyway.
Set off earlier
The last tip/rule for our house is that we set off at the same time every day. At the moment we leave at 8:30am, just because we got used to an 8:30am start in the Summer Holidays and it's a bit wet and cold and nobody wants to be out in the wet and cold for longer than they have to be! Normally however, we leave the house at 8:20am and walk the long way to School because it's fun and a longer walk does you more good.
The extra few minutes allows us all to destress, we haven't got to worry about being late for School and if we have forgotten something then we still have enough time to run home and grab it without too much of a hassle.
So that's how we do it. What are your mornings like?
I was sent a Monitor to wear and was compensated. Which is useful as I've brought Tops some new shoes.