7 Tips to Avoid Being Late for School

To avoid being late for school, routines and planning are the best allies. We'll tell you how to implement them in your family.
7 Tips to Avoid Being Late for School

Last update: 01 August, 2022

Getting children to class on time can be a challenge, especially when they’re very young. This is something every parent knows and has experienced on more than one occasion. A sudden tantrum, breakfast that takes longer than desired, a lazy and sleepy child who drags themself through every activity in slow motion. There are many circumstances that can make children late for school. However, proper planning is key for this situation to take place as seldom as possible.

Punctuality is a very necessary and valued quality in many areas of life. If we’re late, we disrespect those who are waiting for us, we miss opportunities, and we carve out a reputation as irresponsible people. Therefore, it’s essential to instill this value in children from an early age. But, to achieve this, we have to take into account a series of guidelines that we’ll show you below.

Keys to avoid being late for school

The dynamics and guidelines to follow may vary depending on the age of the children. Younger children need more adult supervision; in the case of adolescents, punctuality will depend to a large extent on their own organizational skills. Even so, establishing a series of habits can be of great help to prevent every morning from becoming a race against the clock.

1. Backpack and homework ready

Mornings aren’t the appropriate time to do homework for the day or to prepare the work or project that your child needs to take to class. It’s better to finish these tasks before going to bed the night before.

This way, you’ll avoid the morning rush and the risk of forgetting something due to sleepiness; and, of course, you’ll also get to school on time.

Make sure your child prepares their backpack with the books and materials needed for the next day, clothes (in case they need to change) and, if necessary, lunch. This way, they’ll have much less to worry about when they wake up.

A mother walking her child to school.
To avoid forgetfulness and delays, it’s best to organize your child’s backpack the day or night before. In addition, this will instill in them the habit of planning.

2. Clothes laid out ahead of time

The choice of clothing is one of the aspects that produce more delays every morning. And this doesn’t apply only to teenagers (who place great importance on their image); young children who are allowed to choose their attire can also waver for a long time before finally choosing or settling on an unsuitable option. This can even lead to endless conflict or a tantrum.

To prevent this from making them late for school, get them into the habit of preparing their clothes the day before, coat and shoes included. That way, they won’t have to think and they’ll gain valuable minutes that can make all the difference.

3. Sufficient rest

When children wake up rested and energetic, the whole dynamic of the morning goes much more smoothly. Insufficient sleep affects their school performance and, in addition, can make it difficult for them to get up and each task at home takes them much longer than necessary.

So, make sure they get enough sleep according to their age and avoid having electronic devices in their bedroom at night to avoid insomnia and possible distractions.

4. Habit and routine

Routine is one of the best ways to get children to do their homework on time, as they always know what step follows the previous one. To make behaviors automatic, it’s important to establish a routine that’s repeated every morning; for example: Get up, eat breakfast, get cleaned up, get dressed, grab the backpack, and go outside.

5. Scheduled times

To optimize compliance with the routine, it’s important for the child to focus on each activity and not be distracted or overextended. A good way to achieve this is to establish a scheduled time for each task; for example, dedicate twenty minutes to breakfast and move on to the next step even if it’s not finished. The next few days, your child will manage to adapt to the set times.

6. A reasonable margin

No matter how good your planning is, unforeseen events can always arise. For the same reason, it’s highly recommended that you always have a certain margin, for example, about 15 minutes extra with respect to the initial planning. If you calculate that it takes an hour and a half from the time the child wakes up until they arrive at school, wake them up 45 minutes in advance.

Children eating toast and jam for breakfast.
Breakfast is a key moment to start the day. Therefore, avoid morning rushes to limit this moment and as much as possible, share it as a family.

7. Motivate your children to avoid being late for school

Finally, we can use motivation instead of threats or constant pressure. As an example, you can tell your child that if he/she is ready on time, he/she will be able to watch cartoons a while before leaving or you can go to the park near the school a few minutes before going to class.

Learning not to be late for school is a valuable learning experience

Beyond avoiding reprimands from teachers or avoiding missing some classes, teaching your child not to be late for school will serve as a learning experience for life. Punctuality is fundamental in the social and work environment and working on it from childhood is the best way to ensure that it will last in the future. So, do not hesitate to implement the above tips from their early school years.

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  • Cladellas, R., Chamarro, A., del Mar Badia, M., Oberst, U., & Carbonell, X. (2011). Efectos de las horas y los hábitos de sueño en el rendimiento académico de niños de 6 y 7 años: un estudio preliminar. Cultura y Educación23(1), 119-128.
  • Spagnola, M., & Fiese, B. H. (2007). Family routines and rituals: A context for development in the lives of young children. Infants & young children20(4), 284-299.