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Organizing Students: The Cure For Morning Mayhem

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Summary: It is 6:00 AM...you have already hit the snooze button twice and are dreading the morning marathon that lies in front of you. Making sure everyone is dressed and ready for school is enough of a process, especially when everyone is bleary-eyed (and oh-so cheery) at the very beginning of the day. Soon the chaos begins... "Mom, where are my shoes?" "I can't find my homework!" "Did you sign my field trip form?" Everyone is scurrying around trying to get ready while you are sweati...

It is 6:00 AM...you have already hit the snooze button twice and are dreading the morning marathon that lies in front of you. Making sure everyone is dressed and ready for school is enough of a process, especially when everyone is bleary-eyed (and oh-so cheery) at the very beginning of the day. Soon the chaos begins... "Mom, where are my shoes?" "I can't find my homework!" "Did you sign my field trip form?" Everyone is scurrying around trying to get ready while you are sweating over being late...again. Halfway to school, one of your children realizes that they have P.E. today, but they wore sandals instead of gym shoes. So, after racing back home for the right shoes, you barely manage to drop everyone off on time and dash into work. Fifteen minutes later, you get a call... "Mom, I forgot my lunch money." Morning Mayhem creates problems that last all day long...making students distracted with worry, teachers frustrated, and parents incredibly frustrated and exhausted. This commotion sets a tone for the rest of the day that is very hard to shake! My dad used to be a victim of Morning Mayhem because I was one of those kids who was always calling home for forgotten assignments, library books, lunches, etc. I do not recall how often (daily, weekly?) but it was often enough to prompt Mrs. Turner, my third grade teacher, to pull me in the hallway one afternoon and share a "secret" with me. That secret was simple, yet so profound. It cured me (mostly) of my forgetful ways and was the single event that turned me into an Organizing Freak. (Nick-name courtesy of my brothers.) **Action Plan** Now, Mrs. Turner's secret did not qualify her to be a rocket scientist, but it did make a huge difference for me! She simply suggested that I take a few minutes to get ready for school BEFORE I went to bed. "Put your homework and all of your books in your bookbag. Find your jacket and shoes. Put all three by the front door. Set aside your clothes for tomorrow so you don't waste time trying to figure out what to wear. (Although I went to Catholic school...such choices with those uniforms!) See if getting ready TONIGHT will make a difference for you." As simple -and ALMOST obvious- as that suggest was, it made a world of difference for me. Mornings were not as bad. I was not forgetting nearly as many things at home. I felt better during the day because I was not worried about whether or not I would have gym shoes in time for gym class. That simple step created such an improvement for me that I instantly realized the benefits of being organized. It was then that I began searching for ways to get organized...and haven't stopped yet! **In Conclusion** I am not suggesting that you will turn your children into Organizing Freaks like me, but I am suggesting that this simple process might make mornings a bit less stressful for your family, and your days run a little more smoothly. I have created a FREE "Night Before School Tool" for parents to customize and download from my website. These checklists can be posted by your door and serve as a reminder for the items needed each day. The elementary version includes pictures and is organized by the days of the week to accommodate weekly classes like P.E., library, etc. There is a version for older children, too. To access the toolkit, go to http://www.soarstudyskills.com/morefreestuff.htm and scroll down to find the "Night Before School Tool." So, tonight, take a few minutes to create a checklist with each child, then have them gather their things BEFORE they go to bed. 6:00 a.m. may not seem quite as brutal tomorrow.
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