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     Organizing Your Child At School And At Home

It takes intelligence, hard work and dedication to SUCCEED in school and in life. I know how hard it was for me when I moved to America and had to learn the English language and fit in at school. Later, I started my own business, which presented a whole new set of challenges. I could not have done any of these without ORGANIZATIONAL skills.

When my children were growing up, I observed that most parents placed great emphasis on grades yet OVERLOOKED organizational skills. These important life skills should be taught at an early age. Children today are challenged with more homework and responsibilities than ever before, and since many parents work, less time is spent together. To become SELF-SUFFICIENT, children must lean to organize themselves. When it comes to excelling in school, organizational skills are just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Here are some tips I gained from years of organizing myself and my children.

Your childís room should have a workplace that is cheerful, comfortable, well lit, and CONDUCIVE to studying and doing homework. It may not be a good idea to put a computer in their room since children will be tempted to play computer games, surf the Internet, or e-mail their friends instead of studying. Include a CALENDAR of upcoming homework assignments, after-school events and sports activities.

Empty your childís BACKPACK every night, then help them organize all materials and books. This will avoid lost or neglected homework assignments, misplaced papers and important school notices sent home to parents that can lower their grades. Have your child carry a separate homework FOLDER for all completed assignments. This will ensure that completed assignments can be found easily.

Teach your child to keep a NOTEBOOK with them to write down all assignments and tasks for every class along with their due dates. When the school day is over and they return to their locker, have them check their notebook and decide what needs to be brought HOME to complete their homework or study for an exam.

After dinner, discuss short and long-term assignments and break them down into a manageable SCHEDULE. A child, especially of elementary age can easily become overwhelmed with work if they donít know how to PRIORITIZE tasks. Completing tasks a few at a time will lead to a sense of accomplishment so they will want to complete the rest.

Discuss what books can be kept at home as references and what needs to be RETURNED to school. Misplaced textbooks can impact a childís grade and result in fines, or in some cases, delayed graduation. A LIGHTER backpack means less back strain.

Set aside a SPECIFIC time each night to complete homework. Encourage your child to develop a ROUTINE. Donít force a child to complete homework right after school. Have a snack break or play date with friends before starting homework.

Remind your child that homework assignments should be neat and LEGIBLE. Neatness counts in the grading process, especially in the elementary grades when children are learning proper PENMANSHIP. Itís important to know how to write, even in this age of computers when the pen is less important than the keyboard.

Teach your child to set aside school clothes and pack all belongings the night BEFORE. This will reduce worrying about locating misplaced school materials or being LATE for the school bus. Starting the day on the right foot help put children in a positive mood.

As a parent, you should always be supportive and INTERESTED in everything your child does. Make time to listen and let them know you care about their feelings and concerns. Children need constant NURTURING to develop their self-esteem. When my children were growing up, I always tried to build their confidence with positive reinforcement. If you encourage them, they will succeed!


Lillian Vernon is a 52-year-old national catalog and online retailer that markets gift, housewares, gardening, Christmas and children's products in seven catalogs titles, two Web sites and in 14 outlet stores.

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