Now that the mid-term reports have been sent home, it might be time to tighten up some systems, spaces and habits to make this year a success! For students and parents alike, starting organized can make the difference between having a successful school year or not.
- SET GUIDELINES
Establish family ground rules for the school year to support a daily routine: bedtime, homework rules, television watching, computer time, and socializing. Establishing expectations at the beginning of the school year communicates the parent’s priorities and commitment to a child’s school success from the start.
- CREATE A LAUNCHING PAD
Establish a ZONE for the daily backpack pickup/drop close to the door where your child enters and exits each day. After mom has processed the papers that need to go back to school, she can then return them to this zone for the kids to return to their backpack. This simple strategy will greatly ease the morning rush.
- INTRODUCE A FAMILY CALENDAR TO FIT YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS
My experience has taught me that the sooner you teach your kids time management, the better! This year we are using a refrigerator magnet calendar divided by days of the week. On Sunday each week, the kids update their school and extra activities on the whiteboard, so everyone knows what to expect and when.
- CREATE A PAPER PROCESSING CENTER
Create an area where kids deposit papers that need your action or attention. Successful systems can be made from hanging files, an in/out box, refrigerator magnets or clips. The point is to create an area where you will notice items. Instruct your children to always place papers for review there. Completed paper is best placed directly into the backpack for return to school.
- CREATE A SPACE FOR HOMEWORK
A good homework space is conducive to concentration and focus and should include adequate lighting, reduced noise, space to spread out, privacy and adequate supplies at hand. Because of different learning modalities, some kids will prefer the quietude of a bedroom escape, while others need to be in the middle of the family action. Allow your child the adequate space where he feels most comfortable and productive.
- PARROT CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION
Establish a system and tools at home will help your child be organized at school as well. It is critically important for children to develop organizational skills at an early age. Accordion folders or binders with pocket folders labeled for each class can be an easy organizer system. Once your child is old enough to use a locker at school, equip him/her with accessories that allow subjects to be separated by color or sight to make subjects easier to recognize.
- CHORE CHART
Establish an age appropriate chore routine to keep your children engaged and accountable to the family unit. With every family member pitching in to help the household run smoothly, more time is freed up for fun family activities when the work is done. Establish these simple yet powerful routines and you and your children will be on the road to school year success.
- TAKE IT EASY
Today’s school children are overscheduled and stressed. Don’t overload children with extra-curricular activities. A balance of academics, activities and down time is necessary for academic success and mental health. Make every effort to have dinner together as a family and avoid outside activities that distract from this important family ritual.