Remember the socks
More than any other article of clothing, socks cause misery. They really do disappear. Do yourself a favour and buy a load of new socks three days before the start of term.
Shine the shoes
Shining shoes is a great Dad job and should be done the day before. I once got tips from a real shoeshine man. He said to remove the laces first. Then wipe the shoes with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of mud and dirt. Work in a light amount of polish. Then buff up with the brush. Line them up in the kitchen and admire your work.
Go to bed early
Do not make the mistake of watching Paddington 2 the night before the start of term as a way of taking the edge off the pain. You will stay up too late and curse yourself. Instead put them to bed early, confiscate all devices and read a story. Narnia should do it.
Avoid packed lunches
My mornings were ruined for many years because I had to make a packed lunch for a fussy child. “I don’t like cheese, I don’t like ham, I don’t like brown bread,” he would say every day upon inspecting my offering. I would pace supermarket aisles frowning, wondering what I could offer the young princeling which would meet with his approval. How I wish we had never, ever got into the packed lunch thing. If you possibly can, take advantage of school food, however awful. You will save yourself a whole heap of misery and toil.
Train them well
The key to successful parenting is to make the children do the work. They must be trained as early as possible to look after themselves. They should put their clothes out the night before and learn to go downstairs in the morning and make their own cereal before rinsing the bowl and putting it in the dishwasher. A little benign neglect combined with some basic self-sufficiency will bear much fruit in the form of free time for you. Leave those kids alone.