The summer break is already here for some families across the country; despite the additional work that having kids home all summer can create, it appears that parents are actually shaving roughly 10 hours of effort off of their weekly routine.
We all know what a total trainwreck school mornings can often be.
Even when you’re prepared in advance, the average school morning usually ends up requiring some rushing, searching, and occasionally *someone* crying.
(*Me. It’s me crying*)
Based on recent research, it looks like summer mornings are giving parents a bit of a break, since a week of school mornings adds enough hours to equal an EXTRA FULL WORKING DAY to a parent’s work week.
A study conducted by Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain division reveals that the amount of time parents spend getting their household up & off to school each morning is equivalent to 10 hours & 15 minutes, or an additional full day at work.
(And every parent out there is thinking, “No s%^, Sherlock!”)
Nutri-Grain surveyed 2K parents across the country to assess their typical morning routine. Respondents were queried on the what tasks they complete on a school morning, any challenges that they face throughout that routine, and how much -or little- time is devoted to their own personal grooming and morning preparation.
The results? If you’re anything like me, you’ll likely feel a lot better about your own parenting based on the survey results, because it’s apparent that when it comes to chaotic & overwhelming school mornings, we’re in good company. It’s a jungle out there, people- a jungle full of messy, forgetful kids, lost shoes, spilled milk and skipped parental breakfasts.
According to Snacking News, which published the Nutri-Grain survey, the single biggest challenge all parents seem to face on a typical school morning is:
Getting the kids out the door on time.
(Duh, right? We all knew that. And so does the attendance office at my kids’ school, because they witness my many unsuccessful attempts to achieve this elusive goal. )
Despite attempting to prepare in advance for each morning, many parents found themselves having to backtrack over tasks that were either skipped by their children or done incorrectly the first time. As the survey reveals:
Parents need to remind their kids at least twice in the morning to get dressed, brush their teeth, or put on their shoes.
The wording is key here; “at least twice” is significant. I’m not the most math-savvy individual, but if you calculate the fact that most parents have to remind their child at least twice to complete each task and there are at least three tasks to complete, the mathematical result of this complex equation is that x= “Why do I have to repeat myself?!” and y= “WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!!!”.
And speaking of not having enough time in the morning, the survey also indicates that keeping kids moving at a steady pace is not for the faint of heart (or the short of patience).
Based on the research, it seems that:
By the end of the school year, parents will have asked their kids to hurry up almost 540 times.
Again, some math: there are roughly 180 days in a school year. That means that parents are forced to tell their kids to hurry up at least three times each morning…. unless they had the kind of morning I did today, in which I used precisely 27 of my allotted “Hurry UP!” in a nine-minute time span. (And an additional 3 directed at the car in front of me in the school drop-off line).
In terms of tasks completed on a typical school morning, the parents surveyed averaged 43 various responsibilities to tackle before arriving at their workplace.
The tasks covered the full gamut of household responsibilities: defrosting a meal for dinner that night, signing a permission slip, finding a lost shoe, etc. And laundry played a key role as well: not just switching over a load before work, but finding a new shirt for your child to wear because, apparently the study revealed that:
In an average school week, kids spill on their clothes twice while getting ready for the day ahead.
*SIGH* Even the best-laid plans can go awry, am I right?!
Parents are not only facing the equivalent of another full day of work added to their load, but their own personal grooming & preparation appears to be suffering as well.
Although the survey reports that the average parental wake-up time is 6am, respondents reported that:
On average, parents skip around two breakfasts a week because they are running late.
Ever watch a woman attempt to steer a car while applying mascara? It can be an alarming sight, but apparently it’s because personal grooming takes a backseat -or rather, A DRIVER’S seat- when it comes to getting out the door to work on a school morning:
Forty-three percent of women put on their makeup during the morning commute and 52 percent of men shave.
Now there are undoubtedly some of you that are recoiling in shock and horror at the idea of such a chaotic morning routine. There are you beautiful unicorns that likely have peaceful, un-rushed mornings with nary a spill and not a moment of blind panic in sight. Kudos to you, because although most of us strive to a do a better, calmer job of getting our families out the door to school/work, most of us are a hot mess, as the survey clearly illustrates.
But parents know that their routine isn’t necessarily the ideal, and that the chaos creates unwelcome stress & anxiety.
Most survey participants admitted so by intending to make significant resolutions to improve at the beginning of each new school year.
But the reality of that is apparently more challenging than we expect:
Although 84% of parents vowed to develop a more efficient morning routine for their family, over 63% abandoned the idea, “citing lack of energy to keep up”.
In a nutshell, school mornings in the average American household are a flaming dumpster fire. While we could all certainly tweak our approach to help things run smoother, knowing that you’re not alone in the struggle is helpful. As Jeremy Harper, Vice President of Kellogg’s Marketing points out, the survey’s intention was to gauge the struggles that most families face each week:
We wanted to shed light on what real mornings are like for parents before their kids go off to school.
TRUTH, Jeremy! The survey certainly illustrated what real school mornings are like for most of us, and the struggle is real. Summer break is a welcome pause to hop off the School Morning Struggle Bus.