If, like me, you are counting the days 'til Summer holidays take a hike, then you are also getting ready for the back to school madness that, somehow clings to my, almost 11, step-daughter, and probably, most children this age!
This whole back to school madness, with missed lunches, dog ate my homework, lost permission slips, etc, was routine in our household for about a year, until I put my foot down...in true Drill Sergeant style and knocked some organization into Alena's world!
Getting Organized 101
Children within Alena's age range, are experiencing rapid brain growth and physical development, therefore, if we wonder what on earth she's doing, chances are, she's wondering the same thing. One minute, she'll be reciting complex math problems, and 20 minutes later, will forget where she put her book.
Therefore, it is vital that, as a parent, I keep her on track with before school and after school responsibilities, to avoid the "Forgetful Jones" syndrome which can cause problems at school and definitely at home.
Since my last post, Tween Wolf, at the suggestion of a friend, I read the incredibly insightful book titled The Wonder of Girls, which truly opened my eyes to 'just what's going on inside Alena's mind', and with that newfound insight, both Chad and I have been able to adjust to her, sometimes, downright ridiculous actions and comments, without seeing red!
And, given that Alena's organization skills rival that of a tissue box, it has been imperative that Alena and I sit down a few days before school starts (every holiday) and make a To Do List of her before & after school responsibilities, and then, post it on her bedroom door.
This may sound simple enough, and in truth it is, providing that we support her, through simple questioning. We certainly don't want to make her feel inadequate, or that we are the dreaded Drill Sergeants (ok, perhaps a little), so, we'll simply say something like, "Alena, lets check off your list together".
Sometimes more probing is required depending on her mood, although, as a whole, I'm proud to say that through this technique, I know that Alena is prepared for each day, and that she is confident in being able to go to school without worrying about forgotten homework, a rumbling belly, stinky breath or bed hair!
Alena's To Do List
1: Make your bed
2: Get Dressed, Brush your hair
3: Have breakfast
4: Brush teeth
5: Check homework and supplies in school bag
6: Pack lunch & water bottle into school bag
1: Take homework & any school notes out and put on table
2: Take leftover lunch & water bottle out of school bag
3: Refill water bottle and put in freezer/fridge. Make lunch & put in fridge.
4: Get drink of water and healthy snack
5: Complete homework & put into school bag when complete
6: Get clothes & shoes/socks/undies ready for tomorrow (ironed)
7: Shower & Brush teeth.
If you were wondering, yes, I'm a Type A personality to the full extent, but is that really so bad?
Besides, I'll never have to worry about having the 'stinky kid', lets face it there's always one!