How to get your child organized for school success

August 13, 2008

(StatePoint) – Today's kids have the overflowing paperwork and bulging day planners of pint-sized CEOs. And organizing those activities and assignments takes capable assistants: mom and dad.

"Without parental intervention, virtually all elementary school children, and many middle and high school youths, will be unable to manage the flow of information from school to home and back again," says Dr. Anne Rambo, associate professor of family therapy at Nova Southeastern University in Florida and author of the book, "I Know My Child Can Do Better!"

backpackInstitute a daily backpack-unpacking ritual, she advises. Sit down with your child after school and sort through all the contents, putting them in one of six piles: trash; supplies; books; things to keep (like graded papers); long-term assignments (instructions for a book report due next month); and short-term assignments (homework due the next day).

"After you've thrown out the trash, put the books back, and saved what you wanted to keep, you're left with short- and long-term assignments. Designate a folder that returns to school, for homework, permission slips and everything else that should go back the next day," she says.

Keep a second folder for long-term projects at home. "Assignment sheets for reports due later, information about upcoming field trips, and the like stay in this folder."

"Organization is a skill your child needs for future academic success," she says. "A teacher doesn't have time to teach your child this. The task is up to you."