How to nail the school morning mad dash

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- For so many kids here in the Piedmont, this is a day of new beginnings. A new grade, maybe a new school, new friends. For parents, too, it's also a time of fresh, new hope of trying to nail that whole school morning mad dash, preferably before the end of the school year.

"You're excited, you're nervous. Everybody is," laughs mom Sheryl Pope, a mom to a 5th grader and a high school senior. "Getting them up today was easy because they're excited, but after that, it's hard to get a routine down."

In asking moms on Facebook and out in the Piedmont today, there's one overriding factor that helps in creating a smooth school experience right from the get-go.

"Creating a routine, preferably one that starts on Sunday nights. I get their clothes ready, breakfast ready to go, have them make their lunches," said mom Carol Hamilton. "Mostly though, I try to leave them with this when I drop them off at school. I tell them to 'be nice and to treat others how they would like to be treated.' I just think that's really important."

"I take their electronics away at 9:30 p.m., they don't get them back until the next morning. That way, they can settle in at night and actually get a good night's sleep," said Kim Kiser, mom to a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old.

For mom Denise Drager, creating a non-negotiable routine of a family dinner is what she believes is her most important tip to a less stressful school year. "There's no eating anywhere in the house but in the kitchen. That way we can all be together. It keeps the family connected, everybody knows what's going on with the other; it draws us closer together."

Even the most well thought out, detailed routine sometimes doesn't go quite exactly as planned. Sara Ahmad did all of her Sunday-night-prep work and got her kids to school on time, only to find out the school in her district did indeed start on a Monday, just not this Monday. At least she'll be ready to go in plenty of time for next Monday.