Lunch box in hand, coat on one arm, and searching for a laptop charger while rushing to make it to school on time is a common morning image for many students and parents. We’re all familiar with this type of hectic morning. But these mornings cause unnecessary anxiety, stress, and tardiness. In order to leave the house on time every morning, with everything that you need for the day, many things need to happen. A student’s morning routine is already full and can easily become hectic when they have to: take a shower, brush their teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack their backpack, pack their lunch, remember their project, remember keys, and get out the door on time. These are a lot of tasks to accomplish, especially first thing in the morning when attention and focus are not at their sharpest. A “launching pad” can help us prepare for our morning and stay organized.
Having everything ready to go and in one place helps our students remember what they need for the day before leaving the house. This idea is called a launching pad. The idea of a launching pad was originally developed with ADHD adults in mind, many of whom often forget essential items at home such as their keys, wallet, or phone. In order to remember these things, they are encouraged to create a designated spot by the front door like a table or basket, where they can keep all of these items. Before they leave the house, they can easily grab everything they need for the day without forgetting anything. When they get home, everything is returned to the launching pad so it won’t be forgotten next time they leave the house. For kids, however, the items they bring home may not be able to be immediately returned to a launching pad. Students need to use what’s inside their backpacks to do their homework, empty lunch boxes can’t be left by the door for the next day, and sports uniforms need to be washed before the next game. While a student’s needs may be different than an adult’s, the idea of a launching pad can still be utilized.
We need to help our students fall into the routine of prepping their launching pad at night. Before they go to bed, students can pack their lunches, sports bags, and backpacks—all ready to go by the front door. They can also pick out the next day’s outfit and lay clothes out to further eliminate time spent getting ready to leave the house in the morning. Not only does this help build routines, but also ensures a greater sense of organization and peace of mind knowing that everything is there, ready to go in the morning.
A student will likely need help and reminders to set up their launching pad and take all of the necessary steps to achieve this. Your student may benefit from writing a checklist of the items they need to accomplish to prepare their launching pad. This list may include: pack laptop, pack homework folder, lay out clothes, pick out shoes, pack lunch, pack sports bag, set everything by the door. Having a list ensures that nothing gets missed and can help your student stay accountable to following this routine. With patience, persistence, and self-discipline, this routine will become a habit, greatly reduce anxiety and stress, and help with organization.