New School Year, New Responsibilities

New School Year Responsibilities for Children

“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.”

Booker T. Washington

The summer is coming to an end, and that can only mean one thing… it’s time to head back to school!

There are many pros and cons for families as they transition into the new school year, and as they leave behind the carefree days of summer, the days of school routines and schedules begin to set in again.

For many parents, weekdays can be hectic as children scramble for missing shoes, last minute homework assignments, and half-filled lunch boxes. But, just as children adjust to new school routines, they have the same ability to adjust to new home routines.

Why not start the school year off by implementing new organizational routines to help your weekdays run more smoothly at home? Routines give children a sense of responsibility and independence, while also alleviating some stress off of parents.

Think about some ways that your child can successfully take on more responsibilities during the weekday. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Have children choose their outfit the night before.
    This can include every article from the shoes they want to wear, to the headband and accessories that match. The more detailed the outfit, the smoother the process in the morning. I have even seen some children choose outfits for the entire week on Sunday night and store it in storage drawers.
  2. Have children pre pack non perishable lunch and snack items the night before.
    Chips and cookies need no refrigeration, but can take time to find and grab in the morning. Having those items stowed away in lunch boxes the night before can save time in the morning, and can present the opportunity for children to take responsibility for their lunch items through choices.
  3. Create an after school checklist.
    Chances are your child knows what is expected once they arrive home. Have a snack, finish homework, and maybe even complete a chore. Having a tangible checklist when they get home gives them the opportunity to ensure that everything is complete before they hop on the couch for tv or games. It will also save you from the routine questioning about responsibilities, since all you’ll have to do is glance at the checklist to see what has been completed.

There are plenty of other ideas that parents have implemented with their children. Explore some of those here to get more examples, and remember– It’s never too late to start a new routine. The possibilities are endless!

Salima Hart
Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling