Back to school is a great time to offer children more ownership in their daily lives. When children “get” invested in a system like the morning routine, clothing choices, food selections, homework sessions and so forth, they discover what works for them and in turn, they enjoy the process!
But how do we “get” our kids invested? We ask!
We find out what their ideas are, what they want to try, when they want to try them and for how long they want to practice. It is important to say yes, so they can practice and discover what works and what doesn’t work on specifically for them.Try using some of these simple back to school questions:
- Where do you want to hang your backpack everyday after school? I’ll let you hang the hook. (There? Next to the fridge? Okeedokee, there it is.)
- Are you going to pack lunches at night or in the morning? (Even if you think, sheesh there’s no way you’ll have time before school! ALLLRIGHTYTHEN- 6am it is.)
- What would you like in your lunch? Let’s go shopping together so you can pack your lunch. (Yogurt + yogurt raisins + yogurt smoothie? Okeedokee I guess you like yogurt).
- When would you like to get your homework done? After school? After dinner? In the morning? (Okeedokee… homework might not happen because you like playing outside after school).
- What time do you think you should get ready for bed? What time do you think is good for lights out? (ALRIGHTYTHEN…you think you’ll be able to get ready in 4 minutes, try it.)
- When are you going to take a bath? Oh, you want to shower? Ok…when? (Even if you’re thinking really? At night? Okeedokee…bedhead.
- How do you want to wear your hair? Or what kind of pants do you want to wear? (Really, no jeans? Ever? Track pants and shorts for 180 days? Okeedokee, try it.)
- What time should we be IN the car if we want to be at school on time? How will we remember this time? (You’ll set an alarm to go off in the kitchen one minute prior? Okeedokee – let’s see how it works.)
- Do you have clean socks or would you like to do your laundry this weekend? (Okeedokee you think those four socks will last you seven days? Alrightythen*.)
- When would you like to have family meetings during the school year? Seriously? Saturday mornings at 7:30? (ALRIGHTYTHEN…no sleeping in…that is until one day THEY realize I’ll be at the sleepover at 7:15…and that’s not gonna work.)
The point is this; ask and keep asking and then ask some more and make sure to include plenty of time to practice. Don’t rule something out just because it sounds wonky or you know it won’t work. Let them try, make a mistake, and learn how to correct their course. Have fun and tell us some of your favorite routines designed by your kids.