We all remember the dreams we had as kids where we were anxious over things we forgot to bring to school or perhaps dreamt we showed up to class in our pajamas. These dreams are often a result of not feeling prepared. Planning ahead is an important skill to teach our kids–and perhaps the first […]
We all remember the dreams we had as kids where we were anxious over things we forgot to bring to school or perhaps dreamt we showed up to class in our pajamas. These dreams are often a result of not feeling prepared. Planning ahead is an important skill to teach our kids–and perhaps the first opportunity to teach them to anticipate and plan their day is to include them in staging the things they need for each school day–the night before. Kids can be shown how to routinely consider these four categories each evening to begin to learn the art of preparation: clothing, homework and school supplies, lunches, sports or extracurricular gear. And here is how!
First, the school outfit. You can assign a drawer or a shelf or a spot on the dresser where kids can lay out all the items they will wear the next day. This includes socks, undergarments, and shoes, but also any special accessories like hats, scarves, hair accessories. And to make it fun, you can label this assigned area with the correct day of the week with interchangeable labels of your child’s liking.
Next we should get the book bag prepared. Each day the book bag should be emptied to remove contents not needed. Use a folder system inside that bag that allows your kids to transport things easily. For example, have a folder labeled “Completed Homework” to make sure homework from that evening is transported back to school. You can also have a folder labeled “Assigned Homework” so papers from school can be easily found once home. And a third folder can be labeled “Parents and Teachers” so info that is being sent home or to the classroom (which seems like more and more these days) doesn’t get lost at the bottom of the bag. If your child doesn’t have a locker or assigned desk, consider having a checklist of additional items that can be good to have in their pack, like: extra pens and pencils, extra notebook paper, tissues, hand sanitizer, lunch money, house keys, bike lock, etc.
If your child, packs a lunch, consider having them help or own this task. Getting them involved in what they eat, helps improve interest in the food they are eating. It also gives your child the opportunity to learn about which foods are healthy choices to include. If it is a toss up between packing a lunch and buying lunch at your house, make sure to have the school menu in a place like the pantry so kids can review and decide which lunch they will prefer that day.
And for extracurricular activities, I would first recommend a calendar within your child’s view that let’s them see what days they are practicing/performing etc. The gear preparation is much like the prep for clothes. Make sure uniform and gear are laid out or in their gear bag ready to go the night before in the designated staging place.
Practice makes perfect. You will see that your child gets better at this over time. And they will begin to connect the value of thinking ahead with the reward of being prepared with less anxiety over forgotten things. And you should all enjoy the benefit of easing into your mornings!