Are you having a difficult time getting your child back into the routine after winter break? Do you see the challenges he or she faces when trying to keep up with the fast pace of activities, academics, and sports? Here are eight tips for parents to help get their child organized.
1. Prepare for the day ahead
Do as much as you can the night before in preparation for the next day. Lay out clothes, place backpacks and shoes at the door, and pack lunch bags. Every minute in the morning counts, so get your coffee maker ready the night before too.
2. Use checklists
Establish routines with the help of checklists. Create lists for homework, chores, nightly tasks, and more.
3. Organize notebooks
If your child responds to color cues, designate a specific colored notebook or folder for each subject. To ensure work is getting completed, designate a “to-do” folder and a “done” folder.
4. Organize papers at home
Create a filing system at home to collect homework, artwork, school, and sports information. Files can be purged at winter break and the end of the school year. Keep only what you treasure, and share some work with relatives. You can expect art pieces to deteriorate over time; therefore, you may want to consider preserving those treasures digitally rather than storing them physically.
5. Establish a study zone
Create a space with necessary supplies where homework will be completed. When choosing your location, consider keeping your child in sight in case he or she needs your assistance.
6. Use a timer
When it comes to homework, some kids are more productive working in 15 minute blocks of time and then taking a five minute rest. You can also use a timer to help kids get ready in the morning, clean up a room, or set boundaries on screen time. I recommend a product called Time Timer (Amazon.com), as it gives kids an understanding of elapsed time - something missing from today’s digital world.
7. Keep a Family Calendar
Use one calendar (paper or electronic) for the entire family’s activities. Keep a copy posted in a prominent place and encourage your kids to refer to it often. Fill the calendar with activities, games, school breaks, music lessons, etc. to help establish accountability skills.
8. Healthy Habits
Feed your child protein and cut down on sugar to provide the right fuel for him or her to work and be active. Getting a restful night of sleep is also important, so encourage night time habits that help your child wind down and prepare for sleep, such as disconnecting from all screens an hour before bedtime.
Integrating organization habits now will establish helpful life skills for your child’s future. Have a great remainder of the school year!