Gather your child and all their school ‘stuff.’
Let your child know when you will be helping them get organized for school and make it a time that will allow for
discussion. Choose a day and time that will not be rushed.
Lay out everything to assess what is being used or not.
OK, so you have your supplies from your school list and maybe some extras? Ensure what your child carries to and from
school each day is useful and not distracting. Par down, if possible and use the extras at home at your child’s homework
Assign each tool (notebook, pens, calculator) a home in the backpack.
Now that you have the tools necessary, assign each item a permanent home in your child’s backpack. This will make finding
things much easier throughout their day and at home. Discuss with your child where things should to go, in terms of their
needs. Where does completed homework go? Some teachers provide labeled folders that take care of this step. If not, create
your own. Simply create labels that read, “To Do” and “Completed.” Of course, older children will have multiple folders
and subjects to organize. Take advantage of binder organizational systems or color-code their folders and notebooks. For
example, everything to do with Science is green and the English notebook and corresponding folder are yellow.
Each day after homework is completed, make sure everything goes back in its place.
For the next 2 weeks or until it becomes a habit for your child, they will need your help. This step should become a daily
routine, just as your child makes their bed, puts their dishes in the sink or feeds the dog. Repetition is the key! Help
your child by checking up on their progress and provide support, encouragement and reminders until they are capable of doing
it on their own. If your child has a chore chart, add this to the list!
Try to establish this behavior early in the school year in order to take advantage of time. It may help cut back on
homework stress, while adding to general confidence, focus and productivity. If homework is a point of contention, at least
being able to find the tools needed to complete it won’t add to the stress. Teach your child organization skills so they
may focus on what’s important…learning!
- Minimize stuffed animals
Choose a few stuffed animals that hold special memories and that your child actually uses; the rest can go.
- Pick out child’s best art work and trash the rest
Display your choices in frames or place them in a scrapbook. You could even take pictures of their masterpieces, and then recycle guilt-free!
- Make clean-up time fun (and mandatory)
Children must learn to help clean up their messes; sing the “clean-up” song or have a race to make it more fun!
- Choose kid-friendly laundry basket
A basketball hoop hung over the basket is a great way to help get the dirty clothes where they belong. Also, choose one with a safe lid (or no lid) to avoid smashed fingers.
- Designate backpack zone
Establish a home for backpacks and jackets. For example, place a low hook by the front door that your child can reach.
- Donate, donate, and donate!
There are many charities in need of your family’s used items. Get it out of your house and put it to good use.
- Limit amount of toys out at one time
Does it look like a toy chest exploded in your living room? Keep a handle on the mess by cleaning up toys before pulling out more.
- Label containers with pictures
Snap a shot of the contents and apply the picture to the container with a label so your family can easily find what you need.
- Use internal reward system, not material stuff
We tend to reward good behavior or accomplishments with more ‘stuff.’ Try a simple, “Look at that; you helped a friend today. I am so proud of you!”
- Be a role model
Children learn what they see. Find the system that works for you and your children will see how valuable organization really is!