Good back-to-school organization prepares child for adulthood

With only a couple of weeks until the start of school, this is a great time to begin thinking about...

Story by Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore
(getbuttonedup.com)
Fri, Aug 10, 2012
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Buttoned Up: Help child organize for academic success

Scripps Howard News Service

Ensuring your students’ academic success depends a lot on how organized and ready they are. To help your child this school year, make sure you work together to become organized. With school just around the corner, this is a great time to develop a plan.

As organizational experts, we argue that the key to just about any problem is effective organization. (We’re not saying that all problems are alleviated through filing systems and binding.)

Here are five simple ways you can help your child prepare for school.

1. Create a homework station. Set up an academically focused location with a desk or table, pencils, a computer and all the books your child requires. If made correctly, this station can diminish any distraction that would deter a child from learning. If you know your kid loves fantasy books, place those in a bookshelf elsewhere; you don’t want your child procrastinating on school reading by reading these.

2. Establish a drop spot: Set up a place for your child to deposit scholarly materials. Make it close to the door, so your kid doesn’t forget anything during the morning rush. The spot should have adequate storage for a backpack, shoes, jackets and school papers. For easy backpack and jacket storage, purchase a simple, inexpensive hook.

3. Make a family calendar. Extracurricular activities can interfere with family plans unless everyone knows what they are doing and when. Prevent the frustration of last minute contradictions with a simple family calendar. Add important due dates and meetings so there are no mix-ups. Display the family calendar in a spot where everyone can see it -- maybe on the refrigerator, which has a lot of daily traffic.

4. Limit your child’s screen time. After a long day at school, a kid may want to seek the unwinding gratification that comes from plopping down in front of the TV or computer. The problem with electronic entertainment is that hours can go by before your child realizes that homework hasn’t been finished (or even started). Before the school year starts, set limits on the amount of time your child can spend on electronic devices.

5. Instill a habit of organization. This is the most helpful tip we can give, and it’s one that can last a lifetime. Rather than passively setting up calendars and drop spots, explain to your children the importance of being organized. Teach them how to use planners to anticipate homework and project dates. Explain why the homework station is organized the way it is, and show them how to place books in order of the author’s last name. Kids are surprisingly quick when it comes to picking up good habits, so instill them young and avoid a disorganized future.

The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed people get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife@getbuttonedup.com.

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