As summer is ending teachers and families are getting ready for school. At my house we are going through our usual “back to school” shopping; clothes, shoes and supplies.
I like that schools help children develop their executive functioning skills like planning, prioritizing and organizing. Most schools use folders and a binder to train children to organize their materials.
At this time of year it is also good for families to think about what they are doing to teach organization at home as part of the “back to school” ritual. What are your routines? Whether your children are just starting school or moving on to the next level this is a great time to plan efficient ways to organize materials and morning and homework routines.
Involve your children in the planning. If needed have a schedule with pictures to help children move through their routine. An official routine may help them feel like mom is not just nagging, it is in the schedule.
Breakfast – What foods should we have in the house? What time do we need to start?
Getting Dressed – Choosing clothes the night before.
School lunch – Who will make the lunch? What foods would be good? Will we make it the night before or in the morning? Does the school have a lunch service? Can you bring a water bottle or snack?
Back pack – Is everything in the backpack? Where do you keep it? Is it in the child’s bedroom, a mudroom or near the door?
Backpack – Unpack important things as soon as possible; notes to parents, permission slips, or half eaten lunch items.
Homework – What is the best homework routine? Some children like to do work right away, while others have activities first or just need time to unwind and eat a snack. Plan what works for your child and also think about where the most comfortable and least distracting place to work would be. Sometimes it might be in the back seat of the car, but on the less busy days is the kitchen table or island good or does a lap desk in a quiet corner work better?
As a teacher and then a parent I have always enjoyed this time of year. Helping children learn to use routines prepares them for all of the opportunities of the new school year.