One of the biggest challenges for our elementary aged kiddos with ADHD is remembering what they need to take to school and what they need to bring home. Forgetting papers, a textbook or any number of items can cause frustration for the parents, the child, and teachers. In addition, it can be embarrassing for the student, and cause him or her to get behind in schoolwork which will lead to overwhelm and ultimately – meltdown and shutdown. This critical skill is connected to a deficit in several executive functions: working memory, attention to detail, organization and planning. In this post, I want to share a creative way to help your child remember these everyday items. Fun easy craft project anyone?✂️
A great way to help students remember what they need to take to school each day. And the items they need to bring home is using a checklist. But this isn’t any checklist! It’s a checklist you can attach to your child’s backpack! Oh yeah!! (Cue excitement…) If you’d prefer to watch my YouTube video, you can view it here.
This is a great activity to do with your child. The more you involve them in the process, the more likely they are to use it.
Here’s what you’ll need to create a checklist for your child:
- Understood.org has a great tag template you can download. Here’s the link where you can download your template.
- Pens, markers or crayons
- A laminator and a laminating sheet. Or you can take the tag to a local office supply store and have them laminate it.
- A hole punch
- And a binder ring or anything you’d like to use to attach the tag to your child’s backpack.
The template download from Understood.org has a pre-made list that you can add to, or a blank list where you can add your own items and your child can color or decorate it.
Once you have the items added to the tag all you need to do is:
- Laminate it
- Punch a hole in the top
- Add whatever you’ll be using to attach the tag to your child’s backpack
- And finally, attach it!
Begin using the tag:
Be sure to communicate with the teacher and set up a plan with him or her to assure the tag is being used at school. Over the years I have found that communication with teachers from the very beginning of school is paramount. If you are new to my blog or haven’t read my post on what I wish my son’s teachers knew about ADHD, check out that blog post here. I typically write a letter to Carlton’s teachers introducing him and include a copy of this post. You are more than welcome to print out the post and give to your child’s teacher or give them to internet link. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open all year long with frequent check-ins. You’ll be glad you did!
Keep in mind that you and the teacher will need to be consistent with reminders to check the tag for the first few weeks. But after a bit, it should become a habit with only occasional reminders needed.
Remember that there will be little lapses when your child forgets to check the tag or stops using the tag. That’s normal. It’s lost its sparkle or newness. At that point, try reminding your child again for a week or 2 and maybe consider re-making the tag on colored paper to change it and make it stand out again. A simple color change can add some sparkle or newness back.
- When you first start using the tag consider giving your child a little reward each day that he/she checks his tag and remembers all his items.
- You may want to start off by offering something for each item on the tag that makes it to school and back home again. This way your child feels successful even if everything wasn’t remembered. No success is too small for our kiddos.
- Offer genuine praise to your child for using the tag and remembering items. Even if every item wasn’t remembered, you can say, “I’m proud that you remembered _________ item/s.” Praise is so very important when they experience so much failure.
Here’s to a successful & less stressful school year!
Work with me! Find out more here.