Organize Your Disorganized Student
Organization and focus are key qualities for many successful adults but are skills that do not come naturally to all. Here are some tips from Maryann Campbell, executive director of The Glenholme School in Devereux, Conn., where students experience a program called Executive Functioning Skills to help them learn to focus on tasks at hand, prioritize and organize in a way that will help them throughout their lives.
1. Stash and trash. Prevent mountains of papers from accumulating by learning what to keep and what to toss. This is a very important skill, even for the most organized adults. Teach your child at a young age what types of documents to keep and throw away as well as how to best organize the materials he is keeping. Your storage bins will thank you!
2. Balance work and fun. There is a time for work and a time for play, and that both are important for a well-balanced life. Make sure your child has time for studying, after-school activities and dinner with the family.
3. Manage the day. Parents have planners, and so should children. Teach your child to use a day planner or calendar, where he can record schoolwork, after-school activities, social events and family time. Whether it's paper or digital doesn't matter. The point is, your child learns to manage his time and set realistic expectations for each day.
4. Organize assignments. Help your child stay organized with color-coded folders and a desktop storage system for her schoolwork. Children also really enjoy label makers. Divide the folders and storage containers by subject, and teach your child how to label them accordingly.
5. Lighten the backpack without losing the work. We've all witnessed the tiny child toting a gigantic backpack that weighs nearly as much as she does, as well as the extreme opposite of the student who shows up to class without a pen or paper. Teaching your child to carry what is important for the day will help her be better prepared for class. Go over the day's activities the night before, make a list of what classes and activities she has, and pack accordingly.
Learn more about the Glenholme School's Executive Functioning Skills program at theglenholmeschool.org.