ChecklistCheckmarksGetting out the door on time in the morning is a headache for all parents with children. The kids are tired, they don’t want to cooperate, and they’d rather watch cartoons. In the meantime, our heart is racing, we’re tensed up, and we may raise our voice from the stress of leaving on time.

Let’s make a commitment to start the school year without this unnecessary stress.

These tips come from my forthcoming book 20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kid. Audrey Thomas, from Organized Audrey provided these tips.

Parents, checklists should be your friend. They are valuable for so many reasons, but getting out the door on time takes organization and planning, so here’s a good place to start.

Create one checklist for the evening to prepare for school and make another checklist to get out the door on time. For younger children, you can use pictures to illustrate the checklist.

Your child’s evening checklist could contain the following.
1)    Using have the child check the weather forecast for the next day
This  gives them responsibility and ownership. Kids can then lay out their raincoat, hat and boots, and they’ve got everything they need; so they’re not running out the door to the bus and you’re yelling, “Hey you forgot your hat.”
2)    Lay out  weather-appropriate clothes the night before.
3)    For girls: Have them select their accessories: jewelry; how they’re going to do their hair; ribbons and barrettes; belts, purses and scarves. It saves a lot of time, a lot of hassle, and maybe a few arguments in the morning.
4)    Is your homework done and in your back pack?
5)    Is your back¬pack set out by the back door?
6)     Is your lunch part-way made?
7)    Do you have your gym shoes/clothes?
8)    Is your snack packed?

For older children with chores:
9)    Did you walk the dog?
10)    Did you take care of the kitty litter box?
11)    Did you load the dishwasher?

Your child’s morning checklist could contain the following.
1)    Go to the bathroom.
2)    Eat breakfast.
3)    Brush teeth.
4)    Get dressed.
5)    Unload dishwasher (or other chore).
6)    Grab back pack, lunch and jacket..
7)    Walk to the bus.

For after-school activities you can help your child develop a checklist, too.
If I’m going to my clarinet lesson right after school, do I have my music? My theory book? My clarinet?

I like making lists with kids because it gets the information out of my head and onto a piece of paper so I have less clutter in my head. It also gives children a clear road map to follow so the expectations are known.  I also love the idea of giving kids more ownership of their duties too.

Try creating checklists with your kids and please share your results here on my blog.

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