The summer is slowly coming to an end and the beginning of the
school year for your children is around the corner.
Being organized, prepared and focused, while maintaining the restful peacefulness you hopefully achieved over the summer is the goal. So how do you get into high gear back to school mode without disrupting all that good down-time feeling? Simple you start with the four P’s, Pen, Paper, Plan and Prepare. Along
with the hustle and bustle of getting kids prepared for school you will also be facing a Seasonal transition.
Seasonal changes may affect mind, mood, and motivation (energy). The transition from Summer into Fall mostly affects our mind, and motivation. Unlike other seasonal transitions, stepping from Summer into Fall is filled with so many chores, tasks (energy) and planning/ preparation (mental
gymnastics) that doing it with a plan is important to stay balanced.
Purchase an attractive pad of paper for each child you have. Sit down with your pads and
a pen and start with the oldest child’s pad, and write down the goals you have for that child, for the school year. Write the goals pertaining to their health, behavior and what strengths
you would like them to build. Write down any thoughts or ideas you have for that child.
On the second page write down any concerns you have about that child and anything that bothers you about the child’s behavior and title it Concerns. On the third page write down all the strengths the child has and all the great things about your child and title it Strengths. On the fourth page start writing everything down that you have to do to organize and prepare your child for going back to school. If you want an upgrade in bedroom furniture, clothing, products (bins, storage, bookshelves, file cabinets), or if you want to call about programs, tutoring or counseling, write it all down and title it Get Organized.
If you want to purge kids clothing to make room for new duds, or do a deep cleaning of the closets or get under their bed, discuss this with your kids and make sure they're on board for the task of preparing the room from Summer Solstice Style to Back to School ready. You may want to look for a new hamper, organizational tools (label makers, black permanent markers, filing systems, software programs, schedulers), or change out the linens and bedding. Old toys, books and knick knacks that aren’t being used or loved anymore can be given to charity. Teach your children about giving to charity. Help them part with items that are not age appropriate for them so they don’t start having collecting and hoarding behaviors. Involve your child so they know how to do this for themselves at some point. Children must be prepared for the world when they leave your home, so start preparing them now.
The old saying “Children are to be seen and not heard” was a bad idea. Children must be taught how
to have a voice, especially when they are going back into a school environment with other children and adults (teachers). No surprise that other children and even teachers may be harmful to your children. Please don't get me wrong about this issue, most people are loving and kind, but the news tells us there are people out there who can and will do harm. Sit down with each child and discuss Self-Protection and create a concrete way for your child to assess normal from abnormal behavior towards and from others.
Sit down with each child to discuss Rule, Responsibilities and Consequences and develop a chart on a big white poster board. Depending on the children’s ages the rules, responsibilities and consequences will vary. Each child has a separate chart solely for them. There are two columns for consequences so they can choose the one they want to have. This gives them some power in relation to consequences. This chart lets your child know how the world operates and as we know we have the ability to choose the consequences even when we get in trouble with the law i.e. Pay the fine or Traffic School. The amount of time you will enforce a take away (consequence) depends on the age of the child. 5-9 (1 day) 10-14 (3 days) 15-18 (1 week). Once a consequence is enforced DO NOT reverse it. Reversing a consequence because a child has a temper tantrum and or argues should double the consequence not eliminate it. Eliminating a consequence once it is enforced will actually reinforce the negative behavior. Remember YOU are responsible to organize and prepare your child for the world, not the teachers, coaches, friends, family members or even counselors. It is YOUR JOB as a parent!
If you do not have Rules, Responsibilities and Consequences in your home, your child will believe that is how the world operates and they will be in for a rude awakening once they leave home. Not to mention your lives will be chaotic, confusing and misguided and you will miss apointments, due dates and be dis-organized from the get go. Do not take away extracurricular activities, special occasions (birthdays/dances), field trips, allowance since this will not only impact your child’s natural ability to be socialized but it also affects and punishes the other children that rely on your child’s participation. Use the communication method outlined in this article to go along with the rules and
Also realize, that if you are just employing this new tool for keeping
your child’s life organized, it may be difficult and even painstaking at first,
but then will become easier and easier as everyone gets used to it.
It may seem harsh and you may feel guilty enforcing the consequences
but feel the guilt and do it anyway!
Example of Rules and Responsibility and Consequences Chart
Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of I-Deal-Lifestyle, a Self and Space Organization Service.