Does your child have a problem with what's in their backpack? You know, those papers that are wrinkled at the bottom? Maybe a permission slip? Or possibly a banana?
Or how about the things that are NOT in their backpack? Do they forget to put their homework in? Or maybe their lunch or water bottle?
Ugh! It is so frustrating especially when we've reminded them over and over and over again! How can they KEEP messing up and why do WE have to keep cleaning up after them?
Whose backpack is it anyway?Parents who "help" clean up backpack issues mean well, we really do! However, as our children grow to rely more and more on our fixing their problems we are robbing them of the opportunity to learn how to manage their own stuff. If we are emptying their backpack, repacking it, making sure it's stocked with appropriate pencils, food and homework then they have no need to learn how to do it.
We want to raise kids who will remember to take their lunch, fill their water bottles, put their homework in their backpacks, don't we? YOU BET! When I lecture I often ask who has a disorganized kid. Many parents raise their hands. While some kids might have executive function issues I think most kids have parent-buttting-in-and-taking-over-so-their-kid-remembers-everything issues. I'm hoping for a chance that you might be a parent who can recognize which one you might be. :)
Let them forget! The best way to help our kids is to let them forget! Yep! FORGET! We want them to experience the sting of not having something that is important so that it is imprinted on their brain that important things are IMPORTANT! We call it an AFFORDABLE MISTAKE. If we start with simple things when they are young then they'll learn this really important skill long before they are out of the house and on their own. Every time we take care of backpack issues they learn NOTHING except that if something is missing it wasn't their fault, it was mom or dads. That's not fair at all, is it?
RULES FOR PARENTS
1 - Don't empty the backpack
2 - Don't pack the backpack
3 - Don't carry the backpack
Don't get me wrong, you're welcome to coach a child but THEY need to do the work. No nagging! Just ASK if they'd like some suggestions. Maybe make lists with them about what's supposed to go IN the backpack before school and what comes OUT after school. Make the lists together, don't just write it all up for them. If they can't read then use pictures or drawings.
Keep in mind the same rules can be applied to sports bags, music binders, and sleepover bags! Lastly, don't forget to go BRAIN DEAD and keep calm when they get upset after they forget something.