We are working on independence at our house. At 10 years old, I shouldn’t be packing my son’s backpack for him in the morning. Nor should I have to hover over him while he ties his shoes, assaulting him with a long list of “don’t forgets.” “Don’t forget your glasses!” “Don’t forget your math worksheet!” “Don’t forget your reading book!” And yet, more often than not, I find his book on his nightstand or his glasses by the tv after he runs out the door. Coming home from school is the same problem; when you sit down to do your spelling homework, your spelling words need to be in your backpack – not in your desk at school.
So I designed a reminder system that lives in the front pocket of his backpack. I bought a spiral bound set of index cards at Target. On each card, I wrote a question that helps him think about what he needs to pack: “Do I have reading?” ”Do I have spelling?” “Do I have any special projects or notes?”
My son pretends to think that the system is dumb but the truth is that it’s working. No more tears over forgotten worksheets, no more late assignments and, most importantly, my days as a nag are over. Ok, not over – but really, really reduced. At least in the morning. And I’m beginning to think that he just might be able to go to college without me.