Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Make checklists for jobs and activities.

What you can do

Make checklists with your teen of what he needs for sports, afterschool jobs, weekend outings and other activities. Post the list by the door to your house.

Help your child create a separate list for each activity. Resist the temptation to put the checklists together for him. He’ll be more likely to use them if he has a hand in designing the system.

Encourage him to include everyday items such as house keys, bus fare and a cell phone. These checklists are also a good place to post important details such as what time he needs to leave the activity and how he’ll get there (bus route, driving directions, etc). Also include the name and number of his coach, supervisor or activity leader.

What you can say

“Hey, Jacob, we leave for your soccer game in 25 minutes. How are you doing on getting your stuff together? Let’s do a final check of the list of things you need to bring as we’re locking the door.”

“I know at times, you think you definitely put something in the bag. But you actually picked it up then put it down because you were distracted by something else and never picked it up again. Sorry if this nagging makes you a bit testy. But it’s way better than getting there without the gear you need!”

Why this will help

Teens who are disorganized live in constant fear of not having something they need to successfully participate in a club sport, afterschool job or other activity. Social life is hugely important to kids this age. Teens tend to have schedules that are a lot more complicated than when their parents or grandparents were kids.

Checklists are an easy way to make sure your child has everything tucked in the correct backpack or bag.

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