School-run survival tips for those who have tried everything else

School-run survival tips for those who have tried everything else
The smell of shoe leather is in the air, which can only mean one thing: a new school term approaches. 

For those of us who have run out of ways to entertain small children on an hourly basis for six weeks, this is nothing but good news.

But for drivers who endure a daily commute, it is the proverbial pin ready to burst their traffic-free bubble, bringing them crashing back to a congestion-filled reality to the tune of three screaming children in the back of a heavily laden MPV.

August is blissful on the roads - one can join the M25 with gay abandon, at any time of day or night, and find J9-11 running freely.

Come September, the workers return, and so do the dreaded school-run mums.

Since my own boys became school age, and I added to my collection two more from my partner, I became part of this demographic, which gives me a unique insight into how to survive these hectic times.

Here are my six top tips for surviving the school, or indeed any, journey with multiple children in the car...

1. Let them fight

Yep, you heard me, let them fight.

It’s impossible to stop them from the driver’s seat, it can be entertaining if you take bets on who’ll scream first, and it does tire them out.

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2. Only under-fours can play I-Spy

It becomes an existential exercise when toddlers play it. Take my youngest, who’s three. “Something beginning with B. It’s outside the car” was his clue. “Giraffe” was the answer, they're best left to their own devices when playing this type of sophisticated gameplay occurs.

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3. Pain au chocolats make the best snacks

You can kid yourself it’s a continental breakfast if you’re running late, and at the very least, it keeps them quiet longer than a sweet.

4. Every time they ask “are we nearly there”, make a right turn

After the fourth right turn and the dawning realisation you’re now going to be late, they’ll shut up*.

*NB this is still worth doing, even if it makes you late too, for the sheer ability actually to annoy your children for a change.

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5. Buy a car with independently sliding rear seats

Boys tend to shoot up with alarming speed, and at startling different rates, so you’ll find you suddenly need to give one acres more leg space, nicked from the unsuspecting toddler.

6. Audio books are still the best invention ever

iPones and iPads involve looking down, which is no good if you’re as scared of vomit as I am, and less you’re rich as Croesus, you won’t have one for each child.

We ran the gamut of Peppa Pig, Cat in the Hat and Wind in the Willows CDs on the way back from Cornwall, and for a blissful hour children and adults were equally enthralled.

Which should be enough time for any school run.