- Family and Parenting
Helping Your Child Be More Organized This School Year
Every parent wants their child to do well in school. Help your child stay focused and organized this school year by trying these helpful tips. This article will give you some great tools to begin the school year with like organizing school supplies, dedicating homework space and creating weekday routines. It’s going to be a great year!
Purchase all the school supplies you anticipate that they will need – Purchasing these supplies ahead of time will eliminate those last minute trips to the store. Consider the following types of supplies:
Crayons, pens, pencils, markers, erasers, lined paper, construction paper or color copier paper, rulers, poster board, scissors, tape, school glue, and glue sticks.
It’s probably also a good idea to keep an empty shoe box or two around for those wonderful school projects (diorama). Also if you have a middle school or high school student, you may need a tri-fold board for science fair projects.
Organize all school supplies in one place in your home – Having all the school supplies located in one place in your home will enable your child to have everything they need for homework in one place. A bookshelf would be a great place to keep these supplies. Place similar materials in plastic tubs, label them for clarity, and place them on the shelves. Crayons, markers, pencils and pens, scissors etc. could be kept in separate bins. If you lack space in your home, a great idea is to use a clear over-the-door shoe organizer on the back off one of your doors. I personally use this method and it works wonderfully. You can label the individual pockets and since they are clear, your child can see exactly what is in each pocket. Place plastic cups in some to hold pens, markers or pencils.
Decide on a central space for your child to do homework – It’s a good idea to determine where you want your child to do their homework. Decide now, be consistent, and keep their school supplies nearby. Whether it is a desk in their room or the kitchen table, the place should be well lit and without distractions like TV and toys. Try to always keep the area clean and without clutter.
Provide computer and printer access – Starting in about 2nd grade, your child will need routine access to a computer or printer, maybe weekly or even daily. If you have a computer and printer at home, that’s great. If you lack either of these, decide now how you will provide access to these for your child. Your local public library usually will have these. Find out their hours of operation and schedule visits accordingly.
Create daily routines – Children seem to operate better when there are routines; fall out of those routines and your child may lose focus. Think about those tasks that your child does every day and develop a written routine that they can go by. A written list can help your child remember all the things that they should do each day. You can either post these around your house or create a checklist that your child can cross off as they complete items. My children’s routines include things like making their bed in the morning, putting away their dirty clothes, doing homework, unpacking their lunch boxes after school, and laying out their clothes for the next day. Depending on your own preference, these routines may or may not be correlated with allowance. In our home, my children get allowance each week, but I deduct from that a percentage of the chores that they did not perform. Decide what is best for your child and household.
Post a centrally located calendar for your home – The kitchen is a great place to keep a large calendar which lists school dates, extra-curricular activities, and other important dates. Keep this up to date weekly with new activities or due dates for school projects or test dates. Make it one of your child’s routines to check the calendar daily so they know what is going on and what important items are coming up. Parents, you may want to keep a small portable calendar with you all the time, where you can write down dates and activities as you need to. Transfer them to the large calendar when you get home.
Organize school lunch supplies – Giving advanced thought to your child’s school lunches may help you get out of the house quicker in the morning. Older children can fix all or portions of their lunch themselves. Make the process easier: use bins for chips or side items, fruit, refrigerated items like yogurt or cheese sticks, desserts, and juice pouches or juice boxes. Pull these bins out in the morning and you or your children can just select one item from each to make their lunch. Just make a sandwich or main meal to go with it. Restock the bins on the weekend when you go to the store.
Simplify your weeknight meals – This tip is more for you as a parent. Make weeknight suppers simple. There is nothing I dislike more than coming home from work and having to cook a big meal. Instead, leave your big cooking for the weekend and make simple dinners like sandwiches, spaghetti from a jar, or any meal that requires little prep and cleanup. Leftovers are great for this. This will allow you more time to follow up with your children on their school work and routines instead of spending it in front of the stove cooking.
Ensure your child gets enough sleep by setting bed times now – Children need lots of sleep in order to function well during the day at school and to handle any other after school activities they may be involved in. Here are generally recommended sleep requirements for different school ages:
3-6 Years Old: 10 - 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 - 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 - 9 hours per day
Set their bed time using these general guidelines and add it to their routines. Getting enough sleep can make a huge difference on their grade and behavior at school.
I hope that these suggestions will help you and your child this school year. Get organized now so that each week will go by smoother with less hassle. Use these tools to help them stay focused and organized – your child and you will be happier! If you have any other great tips for starting the school year off right, please share with us below!