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How to nail the school routine

8 Aug 2018

Whether you are school gates veteran or a first term newbie, establishing a morning routine for school that works for everyone is essential. Maggie Davis met with three parenting pros to talk through their school routines 

Rosie Green 

Mum to Arthur, 12, and Sophia, 10, Rosie Green (@lifesrosie on Instagram) is beauty director at Woman & Home magazine and a spa columnist for The Telegraph. She is currently writing a book based on midult life – children, careers, relationships and how you never thought you’d spend a night under a Frozen duvet in a single bed and be grateful that you got four hours of unbroken sleep.

Describe your typical morning?

I wake up at 6am as I’m writing a book and I try to do that until 7am and then I get Arty up and I make him some eggs while listening to Radio 4 so I feel informed for the day. I wave him off on the bus at 7.25am and then Sophia gets up and I switch over to Radio 1. We tend to have breakfast together – usually fruit, yoghurt and oats loveliness – and then Sophia goes back up and stands in front of her mirror dancing in her knickers when she should be getting ready.

What’s your morning beauty regime?

As a beauty editor, I have a smorgasbord of lovely products. I love a great shower gel and a really good body scrub. What makes me feel complete is if I’ve done my hair. If I’ve got an important meeting that day, I’ll wash my hair the night before but I must admit, the make-up sometimes gets done on the train to London.

What’s your school gate style?

I’m a dress person. I will wear them all summer and then put tights and boots on in the autumn and with a mid-heel, I’ll feel quite dressed up. I’ll either wear that with a denim jacket or belted mac. And then on the other days there’s a lot of athleisure going on. Sometimes it stays on all day with no sport happening. You know it’s gone all wrong when you pick up and you are still wearing lycra.

Uniform requirements?

Arty’s quite smart and wears a blazer and tie, which he’s had to learn how to do this year. That was quite a sweet moment – daddy teaching him to do a tie. I love buying them their new school shoes at the beginning of the new term. Every year, I think I’m going to be organised and get them three weeks in advance and then every year it’s the day before school and I can never get the right size. I love patent Mary Janes for Sophia.

Top tips for a smooth school routine?

Try and have playdates before their first day so they have that one friend before they start school. I feel like I’m winning at life if I manage to sew in labels but I think you should let yourself off if you need to write the names on in permanent marker. On that first day at the school gates, try to not to cry in front of them! Save your tears for when you are out of sight. 

Thaarani Uthayasangar 

(@teeclutter on Instagram) is a fashion buyer turned fashion blogger and mum of Kyran, 6. She is pregnant with her second child, due at the end of September, and has been deftly working her maternity style at the school gates.

Describe your normal morning routine?

Kyran wakes up really early like at about 6am and usually plays with his Lego and when he gets hungry, he asks for breakfast. So we do his teeth and get him dressed and then we go downstairs. Once breakfast is done, I’ll have my shower and slip on whatever is easy on the day. If I have time I’ll put on a bit of makeup and do my hair – I always try to wash my hair the night before to save time. The hardest thing is getting his shoes on and getting out of the house. We aim to leave the house by 8.15am and then I drive him to school.

What’s your school gates style?

My general style is jeans and a T-shirt. I mix my look up with slogan tees or sometimes switch the jeans to a pleated skirt or trousers. I almost always wear trainers, either Converse, Stan Smiths or white Superga. This summer, my pregnancy style has mainly been dresses and flat sandals.

How about Kyran’s uniform?

He wears grey trousers, a white polo with a blue jumper. For him I love the trousers with the adjustable waists so you can adjust them, I love shoes with Velcro fastenings as he can’t do his laces yet and it’s really easy for him to slip them on and off. 

Top tips for a smooth school routine?

Try to do early nights and iron the uniform and get everything organised, including reading books, the night before. In the morning, get them dressed first and then once that’s out the away, you can get ready yourself with however much time you have left. Keep track of the Parentmails and always check the class WhatsApp group to see if you need to bring anything in that day.


Ready, steady, school!

5 Sept 2018

Love it or loathe it, the kids are back at school this week. Time to set the alarm and get organised — after all, nailing the school routine is the key to a happy life. Take a leaf out of kids’ author Mark Lemon’s book. 


Mark (the_dad_author on Instagram) lives in Bristol with his wife Simone and their children, Otis, six, and Thea, three. His beautifully illustrated books published by Lemon Drop Books, deal with issues of ethnic diversity and his latest story, The Magical Wood, sensitively covers childhood bereavement, drawing from Lemon’s personal experience of losing his father at a young age. Here he shares his school morning routine.


Describe your typical morning

I would call it organised chaos, but I’m sure Simone would call it something totally different. Whoever is awake first feeds the kids. Once the kids are fed we both get them dressed for school and nursery, before both running for the shower. If I had to liken our morning routine to a movie, it would probably be the start of Home Alone, when all of the family are late for their flight; frantically rushing around the house to get ready. I really recommend having a look at this back-to-school checklist to ensure you have everything you need.

What’s the greatest challenge each morning?

Drinking a full mug of coffee, brushing Theas hair (love this quick and easy hairstyles for school feature) and actually leaving the house.

How do you divvy-up the tasks?

Luckily, Otis’ uniform is quite simple, a polo shirt, shorts and a sweater so its quite easy to get him ready. Simone usually takes Thea to nursery and I generally take Otis to school. He scoots and I run alongside him and then walk back. It’s about a 20 minute walk so its pretty good exercise. I work from home which means I can do the school pick-ups too.

How do you deal with the school gates? 

Id say the school gates are still 80 per cent mums and 20 per cent dads and you do have the regular parents you chat to. Just smile and try not to get too involved in the playground politics. It helps as I’ve been in to the school to read stories to all the classes in each year and I’ve also done an assembly. I think Otis is quite proud he loves school which is quite nice.

Top tips for a smooth school routine?

Just go with the flow. Make sure you give your child enough time to settle in. See this helpful article on how to make healthy packed lunches that everyone is happy with. Always take a snack and a drink with you at the end of the school day. I’ve lost count of how many times I have forgotten to take a snack with me at school pick up, to then witness a full on child meltdown in the school playground. Most importantly, try to remember that all children are different and settle into school life at their own pace.


Photographer: Nicky Emmerson. Art director: Fleur Harding. Stylist: Francesca Bartoli. Prop stylist: Lizzie Harper. Make-up: Hester van Overbeek. Hair: Lewis Pallett. Production: August Management. 

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