Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Backpack Project Continues: Making the Backpack Work for Each Personal Style
So, you've got a kid and you've got a backpack -- a matched set, as it were (or perhaps several). You're invested in the idea of organizing by STYLE, but...what does that look like?

Let's take a look at what happens, style-by-style, when kid meets backpack. First up: the personal styles.
  • I love stuff kids like to keep their prized possessions close at hand. They often carry their collections with them (as you probably discovered when you tackled last year's backpack). Sometimes they keep their special items all together; other times, their treasures are scattered throughout the backpack. I love stuff kids will need help striking a balance between lightening their load and carrying all of their prized possessions everywhere they go. These kids may actually do well with backpacks with lots of small pockets because those small spaces are the perfect place to stash their treasures.
          You can honor an I love stuff kiddo's attachment to his or her things by allowing a limited  
           number of non-essentials to travel in the backpack. Springing for that special folder
           or notebook they'll actually use is one way to bring style and function together, ensuring that 
           some of the "stuff" traveling in the backpack actually has a purpose. One caveat: to make sure
           they're not just sucked in by the item itself, have them show you how they'll use it before you
           buy it. 
  • I love to be busy kids may need more than one backpack or tote bag, depending on how many activities they're involved in. These kids often carry reminders of and supplies for all of their activities with them. They may have a system for keeping track of all the essentials for each activity, (or they may not), but in their hurry to leave one activity for the next, they may end up leaving things behind. Assigning specific items to specific places (in specific bags) is a must for this style.
         A planner should absolutely be on the I love to be busy kiddo's back-to-school list. If busyness
         is their default style, helping them learn to track and manage their time is a life skill they'll need 
         as soon as possible. As with anything else, the planner should be one they choose, with input 
         from you regarding function (benefits of a daily vs. monthly view, size of blocks, etc.), rather 
         than style.
  •  I need to see it kids may carry their stuff in their arms despite a nearly empty backpack. Since the "homes" they've assigned for their things are often table tops, floors and other flat surfaces, these kiddos will need help selecting the "just-right" place for their things. Kids with this personal style may need to be discouraged from using the small pockets and nooks and crannies of the backpack because that's where things tend to get lost.
I need to see it kids benefit from labeling, color-coding,  
see-through compartments and other visual cues so they can trust that out of sight doesn't have to mean out of mind. Consistent homes can help, too, but certain key items (homework folder or assignment book, papers to be returned to school) should not be placed in an out-of-the-way part of the backpack unless the compartment is see-through or labeled. These are also the kids who need a dumping ground at home so that the backpack gets emptied every day. Once they can see things, they're in good shape.

Next week, we'll look at cram and jam, drop and run and I know I put it somewherethe organizational styles.    

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