Back to school: Tips to help you master the school run

If you’re anything like us, the words “back to school” leave you feeling slightly bewildered. You're probably asking yourself where exactly the summer went. It feels like yesterday that we were planning our Euro finals party, booking a lovely staycation (or two!), and relishing our newfound freedoms after lockdown restrictions ended at last...

Somehow, though some strange trick of time (surely it must have sped up somehow…), we find ourselves staring at the return of the school run in the face. And now we’re thinking, can it be done? Those six weeks may have flown by, but it can still feel like you’ve managed to forget the basics of getting everyone up, fed and out the door more or less on time with only a few minor crises.

Well, don’t worry – Swan is here to help! In this post, we’ll give you a selection of handy tips to make sure you survive that difficult first week back.

An apple sitting on top of books to showcase going back to school.

Preparation is key

You may have heard the old cliché that “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Well, like many cliches it contains a grain of truth – as well as being, of course, deeply annoying to hear!

When it comes to the school run, unfortunately, it’s basically a straight-up fact. If you’re content to wait until the first morning back to get yourself ready, you’re probably going to struggle. Someone can’t find their school bag, an argument has broken out over who gets the burnt slice of toast, your car keys seem to have become temporarily invisible… The seconds are ticking down, and it’s started to feel like you’ll be lucky to be out of the house by lunchtime.

In order to avoid this nightmare scenario, you’re going to have to do a bit of work the night before. Trust us, it’ll be worth it.

Much as they might resist, encouraging everyone to pack their bags the night before is essential. If encouraging doesn’t work, try cajoling, bargaining, or demanding.

Ultimately, if someone can’t find a textbook, or has somehow lost every single pen they own or has even managed to misplace the whole bag, it’s a lot better to find out the night before, while you still have time to help them look!

A Swan white and blue iron, ironing a jumper.

Looking fresh and clean

Of course, school bags are one thing, but making sure everyone has a clean uniform to wear is fundamental. There’s nothing worse than a last-minute scrabble through the drawers looking for a jumper that’s just about passable.

But you’ll also want to start as you mean to go on, with everyone looking their freshest. And that means no creases!

If you’re ironing-averse, why not invest in a Swan Garment Steamer? It’s the perfect way to make sure everyone will be looking sharp – with the minimum of fuss! It works well for flat ironing, but you can even run it over clothes still hanging up if you’re really pushed for time.

A white table with a black alarm clock

Waking up

Okay, you’ve done what you could to prepare. Everyone has a freshly cleaned and steamed uniform laid out waiting for them. The bags are packed and ready to go. Now it’s just a question of getting everyone out of bed and out the door!

This is, of course, easier said than done. Especially when you yourself are probably just as eager for an extra ten minutes in bed as everyone else is!

With this in mind, we’d like to stress two things – let’s call them the good news and the bad news.

The bad news first: you’ll really need to be up and ready before everyone else.

Yes, we know, that’s probably not what you want to hear. But trying to get ready at the same time as everyone else is a recipe for disaster.

Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But nevertheless, it’s going to make your life that much harder if you’re trying to get yourself showered and dressed while hoping that everyone else is doing their bit to further the collective cause of getting out of the house on time.

The good news is that if you do get up first, you’re officially entitled to have as much caffeine as you like. In fact, we’re pretty sure this is a legal requirement…

A quick cuppa or three

For the coffee lovers out there, this means you need to have ready access to delicious, top-quality coffee – preferably with as little fuss as possible! That’s why we’d suggest the Swan Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine. You’ll have the perfect espresso ready to go in no time – a true lifesaver on those hectic mornings. And the handy drip tray means you won’t be adding to the mess!

If you’re more of a tea drinker, then you’ll need the largest quantity of boiling water in the quickest time. After all, you’ll want to get that teapot full to the brim within minutes of you waking. Not to worry – the Swan Gatsby Pyramid Kettle has you covered. With its enormous 1.7L capacity, you boil enough water to make 8 cups at once. And all of them can be yours! (Okay, you may want to share.)

A boiled egg in an egg cup.

The most important meal of the day

Right, you’re up. You’re thoroughly caffeinated. Everyone else is stirring. We’re well underway. In fact, there’s only one big hurdle left – breakfast!

But sometimes breakfast can feel less of a hurdle and more of an insurmountable obstacle, an entire mountain range that has reared up between you and the front door. When everyone’s tired and bleary-eyed and not wanting to wait around for food, you’re only ever one poorly chosen word away from a major argument.

The solution, of course, is to get lots of delicious breakfast food ready to go as quickly as humanly possible – if not quicker.

Breakfast staples made easy

Well, you’re obviously going to need all the help you can get with that one. So, first things first, you’ll need a toaster that’s up to the job. The Swan 4 Slice Nordic Toaster fits the bill perfectly here. Not only can you, as the name suggests, cook four slices of toast at once but there are independent controls for each side of the toaster, so even the fussiest eaters won’t have room to complain!

If you want something a bit more substantial to keep everyone going till lunch, toast alone might not cut it. But what other easy breakfast options are out there? Cereal is certainly easy enough, but most of the kids’ favourites are not necessarily the most nutritious options, to put it mildly. Eggs, on the other hand, are difficult to get right and hard to cook in bulk… or are they?

The Swan Egg Boiler and Poacher preparing 7 eggs.

Well, the Swan Egg Boiler and Poacher says otherwise! You can easily boil up to 7 eggs at once with this piece of electronic wizardry, with a choice of three settings to make sure everyone’s happy. There’s even a handy buzzer sound to let you know when the eggs are ready, so you don’t have to hover around waiting while they cook. You can get on with dealing with any unsuspected challenges that just love to erupt at the very last minute!

Ready, set, go!

The moment has arrived – can you believe it? Everyone is fed and watered, bags packed and shirts looking smart – and you’re even a few minutes early!

Of course, it’s always a little sad to see everyone heading off after six weeks of bustle and noise, the house no longer quite so full of life (or, you know, arguments). But you can at least give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back – it’s no mean feat to get back into the rhythm of the school run.

And that’s why our final piece of advice is to just try to stay calm and don’t worry too much if things don’t go exactly to plan. You’ve got eleven months of practice ahead of you, after all! And whatever happens, it won’t be the catastrophe you’ll have built it up to be in your head.

So, from all of us here at Swan, we wish you the best of luck with the first school run of the year!