A new school term is upon us and life has very quickly reverted to the mad rush of fetching and carrying and extra-mural activities. But you can limit the ensuing chaos by following some simple steps to keep you and your child organised and on track.
A good place to start is to assess the previous school term/year. This is especially important if there were problems and no discipline around homework and school activities. Failing to assess may lead you and your children to repeat bad patterns of behaviour so hold a family meeting and discuss how you want the term ahead to be. Give everyone a chance to speak and come up with some concrete plans and rules. For example, homework has to be done before the TV can be turned on.
Establish a routine that works for everyone (considering the extra-curricular activities that need to be accommodated). I can see your eyes rolling already – you’re thinking ‘not again with the routines’ but if this isn’t something that is outlined, then you can’t begin to see the benefits. And the benefits are for parents and children alike because having a routine means that everyone knows where they stand.
For example: a routine in the afternoon could look like this -
2pm – Home from school
2-3pm - Have a snack, relax
3pm – Homework starts
4pm – TV or play outside
5 pm – Bath & get ready for school
Get your kids’ space organised again and reinforce a system that works for them. This may require parents to master the art of self-control because their kids’ organisational style or system may involve stacking paper and books on top of each other or just throwing things into a cupboard!
Without allowing absolute chaos to reign in your child’s space, try to allow them some decisions about how they want their space organised, gently reminding them that the room has to function as a place to sleep as well as a place to learn (so mounds of stuff isn’t going to leave much space for either).
Give it a Go!
Space aside, kids will only learn to be organised and responsible when they give it a bash! Often parents want to do everything for their children but if you truly want them to learn how to be organised and responsible you have to let them make some mistakes (such as forgetting their lunch and school work at home and not taking it to them). They will soon learn, that getting detention because they aren’t fully prepared for school, isn’t that much fun.
You can help them along by creating a time-table of items they will need for the school day – P.E. Kit, choir notes etc. If they get into the habit of doing this when they are young, they will carry this discipline into adulthood.
A few other ways to help you and your child stay organised during the school term:
- Consider limiting play dates to one day a week, when they don’t have extra-curricular activities and factor this into the routine that you establish.
- Ask your child to place school notices on a clipboard, located in a central place. Tick it once you’ve read it and recycle if no longer needed.
- Keep some spare stationery in the house so you don’t run out of glue on Sunday afternoon (with the project due the next day!)
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