10 Tips to Organize for School

Start the School Year Off on the Right Foot

Stop and think for a minute.

Everyone knows a disorganized child. He/she may be living under your roof. If so, you know the arguments and conflicts the disorganization can cause at home and in school.

Here are some quick tips on how to Organize the Disorganized Child:

Buy a backpack with thick cushioned shoulder straps and not many pockets.  Lots of pockets make for LOTS of lost items. I happen to like the AirPack backpacks for Coreproducts.com. These bags have an inflatable pouch for added lumbar support.

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Buy thick plastic binders that have rubber reinforced edges. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. These can be found at Staples.

Durable plastic 3 hole punch folders are great for lasting the entire school year.  Forget about the decorative, cardstock, 2 pocket folder that always seems to be in shreds by January. Buy stickers and decorate the plastic folder.

If your child needs to be a Trapper Binder, only buy the one that has one zipper and opens like a binder. The more complicated trappers with multiple sections are too confusing for many kids. Papers will get lost.

If your child has a difficult time getting up in the morning (there’s one in every family), try starting the waking process earlier. Your child may need more time to adjust from a sleep stage to a waking stage. To get her in the habit of getting up earlier before school begins, start the new schedule about a week prior to school starting. Sorry moms, I know how much you value your sleep!

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For children in middle school and high school, purchase a small file box so they can keep all important school papers in it, such as tests, quizzes, labs, homework, etc. Come mid terms and final exams, these papers will serve as great study resources.

Talk about returning to school with your child. How is he feeling about going back to school? What are his expectations for the year? What would he have changed about last year’s school experience? If he is having any anxiety about returning, try to encourage your child to discuss his feelings about it.

Post-it Calendars are fabulous tools for time management and “chunking” tasks/assignments. What I love most about the post-its is that when a child is finished with a task, they remove the post-it that listed the task, and throw it away. This works well for the tactile child!

Colored flash cards are useful for memorization of vocabulary words, especially in foreign languages. Use pink cards for the feminine words and the blue cards for the masculine words.

A must buy – Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School, to be used as a reference throughout the school year. For more detailed strategies on organization, test taking, study skills, and note taking, look for this book which is due out in stores on August 25.

You can learn even more ways to get organized and transition from summer to school on our Back-To-School 2014 page.

MARTIN L. KUTSCHER, MD is board certified in Pediatrics and in Neurology, with Special Competency in Child Neurology and is a graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Kutscher lectures internationally and is the author of several recent books, including ADHD: Living Without Brakes and Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD. Visit him online at syndromemix.com.

MARCELLA MORAN, MA, LHMC is a licensed psychotherapist and educational consultant who works with families to develop positive strategies for students who are disorganized. Her unique skill of assessing a student’s learning style with an organizational style has proven to be a successful strategy for developing personalized organizational systems for students of all ages. Marcella has helped students gain self-awareness and to improve academic performance through individual and group counseling.