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HomeHealth & BehaviorBehavior & Discipline

Ask the Experts

Help! My Child Is Always Late to School

By Dr. Ruth Jacoby, Educational Consultant

Question:

My child never seems to get ready on time. How can I help her to be organized so that we are not late to school in the morning?

Answer:

One way to get your child organized is to design a chart that breaks down what she needs to do to get ready into manageable and specific steps.Then set consequences and rewards for accomplishing these steps. It is important to check the chart each day and review it with your child. Stress the importance of getting to school on time. You may want to talk about all the advantages of being on time - having extra time to chat with friends, having time to ask the teacher any questions that you may have, and preparing for the start of the day without being rushed. See the sample contract and "Get Organized" chart below:

Sample Contract

Week of September 5, 2005
I promise to finish all the chores on my chart every school day. If I miss two or more, I will not be able to go to the movies this weekend.


Signed:
_________________________
Child


_________________________
Parent

 

"Get Organized" Chart

Directions: Put a smiley in the box if chore is completed.

Week of September 5, 2005

Chores Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri.
1. Set alarm clock          
2. School bag is packed the night before with homework, books and school supplies          
3. Clothes (or uniform) are laid out the night before          
4. Lunch money (or lunch) is in the backpack          
5. All school notes are signed and placed in the folder or planner          

Dr. Ruth Jacoby has been involved in education for more than 30 years as an educator, principal and currently as an educational consultant in Florida. She is the co-author of the School Talk! Success Series including Parent Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication With the School and Your Child, Homework Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication About Your Child's Homework and Test Talk!: Understanding the Stakes and Helping Your Children Do Their Best.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

09/18/2009:
"I do the Five School Tips. But sometimes, I seem to forget them. Like Clothes or Uniform are laid out the night before. I am in Rush for it at the Morning"
03/19/2009:
"This is a wonderful idea but my kid always chooses something different to wear in the morning. She's terribly disorganized and slow."
04/4/2008:
"I do all of the above things as you mention but still my 6 year old girl is late. As matter of fact she wants to play and waste her time. she loves school and doing very good too."
10/11/2007:
"I believe this parent needs his or her own organization chart as a second grader can only be as late as the parent allows. "
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