It is Back-to-School Time and Dr. Renee has tips to get you ready. For most, staying organized helps to reduce stress as well as build focus and increase task completion. Here are seven tips for staying organized that will work great for both you and your children:
1) Everything has a home.
a. Put items like keys, shoes, and backpacks away in the same place each time.
b. Label drawers and desks whenever possible. With smaller children or children who are struggling readers, pictures of the items work great as labels.
2) Make a pack list for backpacks.
a. If you or your child tends to forget to return books and work to school or the office, make a pack list and put it in a clear sheet protector. You can use a wet erase marker to check off the items that are in the bag each night before bedtime.
3) Keep an agenda.
a. Use a planner to keep track of appointments and assignments.
b. If that is too much to keep track of, try a weekly or daily agenda. About.com has a free template here: http://specialed.about.com/library/templates/agenda.pdf.
4) Make a checklist about what needs to be done and in what order.
a. Ask you or your child, “What needs to be finished first?” before beginning work.
b. Take the assignments from your agenda and break them into tasks on your checklist that can be marked off as they are completed.
5) Have a to-do folder and a finished work folder.
a. When you or your child sits down to start work, put all work in your checklist in a to-do folder or pile.
b. Putting completed work away in the finished work folder or pile helps to cue you or your child to go onto the next step of the checklist.
6) Develop a routine.
a. Begin homework at the same time each night.
b. Try to eat dinner at a set time.
7) Clear workspaces, backpacks, and notebooks often.
a. Try to empty backpacks and notebooks once a week or after a big test.
b. Clear workspaces when beginning work each day.
Staying organized can be a challenge at first. Work with your child on one or two tips of their choice for a week; and if you’re successful, add one more to the routine for the following week. Be sure to give lots of specific praise about their organizational skills and talk about what ways staying organized is helpful.