Let them do it themselves!

Do your kids get themselves and their bags ready for school each day? or do you help them?

Getting bags ready each day is a major event in our house.  This year both girls seem to be doing so much in terms of before, during and after school activities that there is an awful lot to remember.

We've started getting bags ready the night before so as to try to avoid that last minute rush in the morning, where they end up searching for things they need to take with them as we're heading out of the door to the car!

Even though our girls do prepare their own bags - I had to admit that I go through and check them all myself - now and then finding they've forgotten to pack something vital.  

Part of me knows I should just leave them to it. Let them make their own mistakes and learn from them.  But then another part of me knows that if for example they forget to pack their swimming costume for after school swimming, they would either not swim and be bored and have too much energy when I pick them up afterwards, or I'd get a call from the pool office to let me know they'd forgotten and I would drive in early to take their forgotten item to they didn't miss out on their swim!

We've tried check lists to try and remember things - but then sometimes they forget to read the check list!

I remember when I was a kid, we had a sticker on the inside of our front door at eye level that said:


Still today sometimes I hear a little voice in my head as I go out the door checking I have these 3 things, so it obviously does have an effect...eventually.  Perhaps it just takes a long time to really sink in.

Am I expecting too much that my 7 and 9 year old can remember all of their school things each day?  I still go out sometimes and realise I've forgotten something.  Nobody is perfect - but I guess all I can do is try to get the girls into the habit of getting prepared in advance and checking what they will need to take.

I do think that kids learn quicker if they are allowed to make their own mistakes - forget things and then have to deal with the consequences so they are be less likely to do it again.  But it's weighing up them learning this faster, against letting them just enjoy all the experiences and fun that kids their age get to do, without the stress of having to organise it all.

There's always a choice between just letting kids be kids and having fun, and getting them to do the less fun things in life - chores, homework etc, to help them grow and develop in other ways.

Another mum always used to say when we all had toddlers that you have to pick the battles worth fighting with your kid. I think this is good advice, and for now I'll continue to check my girls bags before they go out, so they can just relax and enjoy their day's activities knowing they have all their equipment organised!

What do you think?  Do you check your kids bags - or even pack them for them?  Or do you just let them get on with it themselves? Is there an age where they should take responsibility?  When they go to high school perhaps?  or maybe they will reach a stage when they don't want Mum to check everything for them?

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