My son is eight years old, and he’s a really good, responsible kid. He does his homework without being asked, practices his instrument on a (somewhat!) regular basis, and even brushes his teeth for two full minutes every night without complaining. Yes, he’s pretty responsible…
...except for one thing. He’s just not a morning person and getting him organized and out the door for school in the morning is a constant challenge.
In our family, we have a general rule that if the kids make a mistake, we will help them correct it the first time, but if they make the same mistake twice they have to deal with the consequences. This means the first time my son staggered out of the house without his math book, I cheerfully dropped it off at the school’s front office.
The second time, he forgot it (only three days later!) I didn’t come to the rescue. I left the book on this desk at home and let him take the “incomplete” from his teacher. He was mortified to have forgotten the book, and I was confident he’d learned from his error.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The third time he forgot the math book (just a week after the second time!) I decided this wasn’t a problem he could completely solve on his own. Leaving him to his own devices wasn’t working! We needed to give him tools to help him get organized in the morning and set him up for success.
So my husband and I sat down with him to discuss the issue, and together the three of us formulated a plan. My son pointed out that even though mornings in our house are a little crazy, our evenings are usually pretty relaxed after dinner time - the kids have plenty of time for reading or even a little TV watching.
My son suggested that he take ten minutes in the evening to get his things together and put them in one place for the next morning. This would include homework in his backpack, lunch bag packed and ready, and the next day’s outfit, right down to his shoes and socks. My husband and I nodded enthusiastically at this plan and agreed to give him a reminder every night to prep.
We also agreed to purchase an “organization station” for him, in the form of this awesome Memo Board. Candidly this was a pretty self-serving purchase, as it also has room for my two daughters’ supplies, plus space on top for car keys, papers that need to be returned to school, outgoing mail, etc.
The Memo Board turned out to be just what he needed. After the first week of its use, his nightly organization routine became easy and second-nature. Now he fills his backpack with supplies and completed homework and hangs it on a hook. Clothes for the next morning are laid out in his bedroom, and shoes and socks carefully placed on the floor under the Memo Board, right beneath his backpack. And it really only takes him ten minutes!
Mornings are still a bit of a scramble, but they’ve lost that frantic, chaotic feeling. Yes, we’re in a hurry, but we know our kids have their things ready to go. It’s eliminated a source of worry for all of us, and enables us to hit the ground running!
How do you get your family organized and out the door in the morning? Have you tried the Memo Board? I’d love to hear any additional tips!