papers! Lost books! Can't find the homework from last night! Sounds
familiar? Read on to find some advice to make things a little easier
this school year!
Ten Ways to Help Your
Kids Get Organized
Developing good organizational skills is a key ingredient for success
in school and in life. Although some people by nature are more organized than
others, anyone can put routines and systems in place to help a child "get
it together." Here's a list of strategies that you can use to help your
child get -- and keep -- his life under control.
1. Use checklists.
Help your child get into the habit of keeping a "to-do" list. Use
checklists to post assignments, household chores, and reminders about what
materials to bring to class. Your child should keep a small pad or notebook
dedicated to listing homework assignments. Crossing completed items off the list
will give him a sense of accomplishment.
2. Organize homework assignments.
Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number assignments
in the order in which they should be done. She should start with one that's not
too long or difficult, but avoid saving the longest or hardest assignments for
3. Designate a study space.
Your child should study in the same place every night. This doesn't have to be a
bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few distractions. All school
supplies and materials should be nearby. If your young child wants to study with
you nearby, too, you'll be better able to monitor his progress and encourage
good study habits.
4. Set a designated study time.
Your child should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying
and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school -- most
children benefit from time to unwind first. Include your child in making this
decision. Even if she doesn't have homework, the reserved time should be used to
review the day's lessons, read for pleasure, or work on an upcoming project.
5. Keep organized notebooks.
Help your child keep track of papers by organizing them in a binder or notebook.
This will help him review the material for each day's classes and to organize
the material later to prepare for tests and quizzes. Use dividers to separate
class notes, or color-code notebooks. Separate "to do" and
"done" folders help organize worksheets, notices, and items to be
signed by parents, as well as provide a central place to store completed
6. Conduct a weekly clean-up.
Encourage your child to sort through book bags and notebooks on a weekly basis.
Old tests and papers should be organized and kept in a separate file at home.
7. Create a household schedule.
Try to establish and stick to a regular dinnertime and a regular bedtime. This
will help your child fall into a pattern at home. Children with a regular
bedtime go to school well-rested. Try to limit television-watching and computer
play to specific periods of time during the day.
8. Keep a master calendar.
Keep a large, wall-sized calendar for the household that lists the family's
commitments, schedules for extracurricular activities, days off from school, and
major events at home and at school. Note dates when your child has big exams or
due dates for projects. This will help family members keep track of each other's
activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.
9. Prepare for the day ahead.
Before your child goes to bed, he should pack schoolwork and books in a book
bag. The next day's clothes should be laid out with shoes, socks, and
accessories. This will cut down on morning confusion and allow your child to
prepare quickly for the day ahead.
10. Provide needed support while your child is learning to become more
Help your child develop organizational skills by photocopying checklists and
schedules and taping them to the refrigerator. Gently remind her about filling
in calendar dates and keeping papers and materials organized. Most important,
set a good example.
Adapted from "Tips for Developing Organizational Skills in
Children" by the Coordinated
Campaign for Learning Disabilities (CCLD).