What mom hasn’t gotten that frantic phone call from their kid at school – “Mom, I forgot my ________!" You can fill in the blank with any variety of items - homework, lunch, violin, lacrosse stick, glasses -whatever can get left behind usually does at one point or another.
If the same crazy chaos keeps happening day after day, planning ahead and establishing some routines can streamline those manic mornings and help to better organize the day. Get the kids to assist in the prep work – let them “earn points” redeemable for extra computer time or whatever else might motivate them to take part in setting up a plan of attack and sticking to it. It’s just as easy to love a good routine as it is a bad one, so check out some tips to help you get started:
- Pack it up the night before - as soon as homework is completed, pack up all papers, books, folders, etc. into the back pack, zip it up and leave it in a centralized location (by the door, in the kitchen) every evening so it’s easy to locate in the morning.
- Lay out clothes the night before. It’s easier to let your child have a say in this the night before than fighting about it 5 minutes before you have to head out the door. Everyday items like a watch or jewelry, wallet, or cellphone should also be included with the wardrobe. And how many times have I heard “where are my glasses”? Check out this cute glasses holder - my son hasn’t misplaced his glasses since I put this on a shelf by his bed a few months ago.
- Breakfast hassles? While multigrain cereal or some whole fruit are nutritious options, some mornings my son likes a hot breakfast. He loves pancakes, so I make a batch on Sunday, freeze them, and then microwave them during the week for a hot, homemade breakfast any time. Since I’m making my own, I can add bananas, walnuts, flax seeds - it's healthier and less expensive than the frozen store-bought kind.
- A calendar outlining activities and events for each day (math test, sports and club activities, music lessons, etc.) is a visual reminder of what items are needed to complete daily tasks – and gather them ahead of time. It’s also a good place for writing down a to do list – charge cellphone, get lunch money, etc. If kids can see what’s coming, it’s less overwhelming and easier to manage for everyone. I use this erasable calendar decal from PBTeen.
These methods have cut down on my morning chaos and have helped my son stay organized – what strategies do you use to reign in the madness? I’d love to hear about them and learn something new!