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How can I help my child get organized?

For many students, the difference between a passing grade and a failing grade is the number of missing or incomplete assignments. Below are some suggestions to help your child get better organized.

  1. If your child does not already have a daily planner/organizer, purchase one that can easily fit in the child’s backpack. If your child has one, locate it and see whether it is up-to-date.
  2. Ask the teachers to check the planner for correctly recorded daily assignments at the end of each class period or at the end of the day.
  3. Review the planner with your child every night and show your child how to record assignments. One method of distinguishing tests, daily homework assignments and longterm assignments is to use colored pens or markers--a different color for each category.
  4. Ideally, each subject should have a separate folder or pocket in a binder.
  5. Show your child where to file handouts, homework assignments and other papers.
  6. Supervise study time. This doesn’t mean you have to sit with your child, but be aware of your child’s study habits and be available if needed. Don’t send your child “off to study.” Make periodic checks on your child’s progress. A good rule of thumb is that for every consecutive grade in school, your child should be doing ten minutes of homework. That means that an average fourth grader should be doing about 40 minutes of homework at night and the average middle school child can expect to spend about 70-80 minutes doing homework.
  7. Prepare the binder and backpack with your child each evening after homework is completed and before your child goes to bed. File papers and organize. Some children complete the homework assignment but forget where they put it and then cannot find it to turn it in the next day,
  8. Identify a regular location for your child’s backpack, school papers, notes from teachers, etc. This will help reduce morning confusion and forgetting items at home.

It may take some time before the routine is firmly imprinted on your child’s mind. Begin with small steps. Small rewards or privileges used sparingly may provide an incentive for your child to follow through. Good luck!