*Have your child follow a checklist to promote independence and responsibility.

For younger children, make a checklist with pictures of things they need to do before school. Laminate it so that they can cross it off every day.(Example: brush teeth, eat breakfast, put on shoes, get book bags and lunch boxes.)

For older children, a written checklist may suffice.

*Lay everything out the night before to take care of some of the morning madness, including clothes, backpacks, and breakfast. Does your child eat cereal before school? Put the box, bowl, and spoon on the table the night before.

*2 Boxes: Shoes and Socks. Put them by the door. Life changed.

*Keep a few easy Tupperware containers in the refrigerator with labels. Examples include, “cheese sticks, apple sauce, grapes, celery.” Put a color coded list on the fridge with how many of each they put in a lunch box and let them pack their lunches each morning or evening. Bonus: Kids tend to be more likely to EAT the lunch in the box when they were the ones who packed it!

*Have a designated homework space in your home, whether it is the kitchen table, a desk, or another spot. Keep a basket close by with sharpened pencils, crayons, scissors, notebook paper, and any other materials that might be needed for homework.

*Review your child’s planner with them on the first day/week of school. Help him/her get used to writing down assignments, due dates, presentations, etc. They also need to get in the habit of looking ahead a few days so they know what is coming up. Teach them how to “reverse engineer” assignments. For example, if they have a book report due on September 30, have them put target dates in their planner for completing the report step by step:

Sept 15–finish reading book, Sept 20–finish outline, Sept 24–finish rough draft, Sept 28–finish final draft, Sept 30–proofread.

*Try to encourage math and spelling in a creative way by having your child practice math problems on their bedroom mirror, or read spelling words from the bathroom mirror while they brush their teeth. Mirrors work just like dry erase boards…get some dry erase markers and you are all set!

*Give your child’s teacher a few days to get settled. Then send him/her an email and say, “Hey…what do you still need?” Tell a few friends, and each of you commit to buying a few extra items. Or, if buying extra is not an option, email the teacher and ask “What can I do? Do you need folders labeled, or something cut out?” This will help begin a strong relationship between you and your child’s teacher which benefits everyone involved, including your child!