How many times have we sent our children to school and thought, “Whew, thank goodness I’m not going to be the adult on the other side of that classroom door!” Was that also the morning that your child woke up late, didn’t like the outfit he/she was wearing, wouldn’t eat the breakfast you put in front of them or couldn’t find their homework? How much morning chaos could you have prevented by assisting your child in organizing things the night before?
We all want our children to grow up to be successful, happy and healthy adults...right? I believe that a good way to begin your child on this road is to begin preparation when they become school-age. I have spoken before on the importance of instilling self-confidence, independence and responsibility in our special needs child. There is no better way to begin this process than to begin arming them with organizational skills.
Start with a chart of what they can do to prepare for the week ahead on Sunday. It can be a picture chart or one with words if they are able to read it. Be sure to laminate the chart so you re-use it. Here’s how to start:
- Begin with helping them choose five outfits for the school week; perhaps they can choose the outfit and you can approve it. Together you may want to look at the weather report on your phone first so he/she can choose appropriately. Hang them or place them in their room with the day of the week attached, so they know which one to put on each morning.
- Have your son/daughter place their bookbag in the same place everyday. Guide them so that on Sunday evening and everyday after homework is completed, their bookbag is “in position” and filled with the right stuff like clean eyeglasses, notebook, paper, pencils, etc. Get your child in the habit of putting homework away immediately after completion so it doesn’t get misplaced, eaten by the dog or grease-stained.
- Let your child help with the week’s lunches. If you can, prepare them all on Sunday and allow your child to put them together each morning and place them in their bookbag. Do the same with breakfast; let them decide what they will eat for the week so there are no surprises.
To recap, these are the items you may want to list on the checklist. Your child will check each one off as they are accomplished:
- Choose their outfit from the closet and get dressed
- Put their lunchbox in their bookbag
- Choose their breakfast
- Brush their teeth
- Grab their bookbag and coat on the way out the door. (remember, glasses, notebook and homework are already in place)
I believe that with a little parent/child partnering prior to beginning the week, you will have a successful, healthy and happy child! As an added bonus, you’ll be less stressed too!!