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     Organized For School

Getting your children organized for school and helping them TRANSITION from one year to the next can cut down on family frustration and anxiety. In the following paragraphs, I will give suggestions on how to get your children ready for school. The other ideas I present will provide helpful information for keeping your children organized throughout the school year.

Prior to school beginning, discuss any CHANGES with your child: teachers, classes, school or the school bus. Take time to VISIT school and find your child's classroom, meet the teacher or teachers, walk the halls to find different classroom settings such as the art room, the science room, the music room or the gym. Locate your child's locker and discuss placement of books, folders and articles of clothing, as well as, how to use a combination lock if needed. Spend some time listening to your child voice any CONCERNS and find the answers to his or her questions.

Nothing is more important than developing habits. Build GOOD HABITS early on. In order for children to be successful in school, they must have sound study skills. Set up a schedule for homework, offering breaks in between assignments and setting up REWARDS for sticking to the routines. For example, your child arrives home from school at 3:30 p.m. Give him or her a 30 minute break to watch a television show, have a snack or play. At 4:00 p.m., study time begins. Short breaks may be taken periodically to stretch and regroup.

Some children have difficulty staying focused and on task. The use of a TIMER can be a helpful tool for your children. Use the timer to go off at twenty or thirty minute intervals, and let the student take a five or ten minute break. Once again, use the timer to signal when the break is over and it is time to get back to work.

Morning and evening rituals are equally as important for building sound habits. The EVENING routine might include the following: book bag packed, teeth brushed, clothes laid out for the next day. If all routines are complete prior to bedtime, then a special reward can be given.

In the MORNING, a set time for waking up and leaving for school should be made clear to the children. Then you can determine how much time they need to get ready for school. Their routines can be written on a board or printed to hand visually for your children to look at daily.

Set up a STUDY AREA for your children where they feel comfortable. The area should be clear of clutter and distractions. Give them a desktop file box for their work. Use a bulletin board for school calendars, invitations, reminders, etc. Erasable calendars are handy to use for tracking long range assignments. Supplies should be available and stocked at all times. Create an environment where children will WANT to do homework.

Finally, clarify the ground rules for the use of television and Nintendo during the SCHOOL WEEK. In some households, the use of video games, computer games and the television are put to rest from Sunday evening through Friday afternoon. Other families use them as REWARDS for homework completion and chores. The choice depends on what you as the parent feel is in the best interest of your children.

Nurture your children by giving them your love, patience and attention, while helping them form HABITS that will guide them on the road to solid organizational and study habits. Clearly define the parameters for your individual household. Stick to it and the dividends will pay off.


Sandra Einstein is an organizational consultant and an ADD coach. She works with adolescents and adults helping them to organize their time, space and minds. She is the mother of a 16 year old ADD son, who attends a college preparatory day school and has been successful in achieving goals and high performance even in honors level courses. She can be reached at .

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