“Getting organized” is more than eliminating clutter and creating neat storage systems. One of the most important areas of organizing is task management. It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids how to get and stay organized with schoolwork. The skills they learn now will carry over into high school, college, and ultimately, their careers and home management as adults.
1. Establish a great homework routine. With your child, determine the best time for daily school work and stick with it. For some kids, it will be right after school. Others may need some downtime to play, and then it’s time to hit the books. The most important thing is to stick to the schedule so your child knows what’s expected.
2. Set up the space. Have a designated study area, such as the kitchen table. But for unique assignments, allow for some flexibility such as moving to a rocking chair for reading chapter books. Create a school supply box and keep it well stocked with supplies (paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, ruler, sticky notes, calculator, etc. ) so kids don’t have an excuse to get up.
3. Make sure you know what’s going on. Instruct children to unload their backpacks as soon as they come home. Have them hang up their bags in a designated area (try a coat rack, pegs on the wall, or a wicker laundry basket near the front door) for easy access tomorrow and bring homework to the designated study area. Check in each day so you’re aware of their workload and take special care when they seem overwhelmed.
4. Encourage the use of lists and planners. The older kids get, the more homework and activities they’ll have. Teach them to manage their tasks with the use of simple lists or a planner/calendar of some sort. Office supply stores sell ones with cute kid- friendly designs, or use computer lists (or even PDAs) for techie kids. When they learn of upcoming assignments, tests, or events, they should write them down in their planners.
5. Encourage color coding. Color affects our mood and memory. Let kids pick the colors of their folders and notebooks to correspond to different classes. If green reminds them of science, then they’ll know instantly to grab the green notebook when looking for their science notes.
Copyright 2005 Time to Organize. All rights reserved.
Sara Pedersen, veteran professional organizer, is the author of the FREE e-newsletter “Organzing Dreams. " Sign up today at http://www.time2organize.net to receive your FREE quarterly subscription. Then, make YOUR organizing dreams come true by visiting http://www.time2organize.net where you'll find dozens of organizing tips, before and after photos, an interactive quiz and much more.