Christopher C. Jones, Licensed Educational Psychologist
You’ve prepared your child for back-to-school. You’ve secured the appropriate school supplies and attended Back-to-School Night at your child’s school. You have a better understanding of what’s expected for this new grade that has become your child’s world. Now it’s your child’s turn. As your child progresses through each new grade, responsibility and management of complex tasks increases. Here are some steps you can take at home to help your child manage and master the organizational skills needed.
- Make time to discuss getting organized: Initiate dinner table conversation or call a family meeting so the whole family participates. Older siblings can share advise and empathy. All children and teens can share any concerns or additional items they might need.
- What system is used at school? Teachers typically begin the year with organizational strategies and expectations. Are these strategies working for your child?
- Enlist your child’s help. Your way not be his way. Brainstorm ideas together to help him discover a way that works for him. What has worked so far? What has not?
- Come up with a plan. Consider a combination of strategies:
- A clean start. Is your child’s workspace clean? Organize what is needed. Purge the rest.
- Assignment Notebook. Some tool to write down what is due and when.
- Paper-tamers. A way to keep track of loose papers
- Gadgets. Depending on age and your child’s style, a notebook may be too low-tech. Perhaps an electronic organizer or other devise.
- Break down big projects. Working in small chunks can help avoid overwhelm and complete the project on time.
- Stay positive! Check in with your child to help him stay on track with patience and persistence.
- Backpack Clean-Outs. Pick a day each week (i.e. Sunday). Don’t do it for your child, but be nearby to help with any problems/frustrations. Start the week fresh.
- Family Calendar. Family activities, appointments, but also due dates of special projects.
- Call for reinforcements. If you’ve tried everything and your child is still struggling, seek outside help. Your child may respond better to a different intervention.