Helping your grade-schooler get organized doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Simple tools can work just as well as more expensive ones. Try these easy organization solutions.
1. A family calendar
A large, wall-sized calendar for family appointments and events can help your child see that organization is a lifelong skill. Everyone — including your child — can see how they fit into the bigger picture of the household. Try using a different color marker for each family member to highlight different schedules.
2. Visual checklists
A visual checklist uses pictures to lay out the steps to do a task. Morning routines might have pictures of getting out of bed, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and eating breakfast. Visual checklists take away the stress of reading. And they can also be small enough to be posted discreetly in the right location. At first glance, they just look like comic strips.
3. An analog clock
An analog clock can help kids get a better sense of how time can be broken into chunks. It also helps them see how much time has passed or how much is left. You can buy special clocks online that show this. Or you can pick up four colors of cellophane wrapping paper at your local dollar store. Divide the clock face into quarters and put different color cellophane over each section. This lets your child see time in 15-minute blocks.
4. A supply caddy
Instead of having supplies scattered all over the house, keep them all in a shower caddy or cleaning supply caddy. Your child can organize supplies by function (like pencils and markers, and scissors and glue). Best of all, a supply caddy has a handle so it can be stored when not in use and carried to a homework spot when needed.
5. Colored pocket folders
Give your child a few different colors of pocket folders to bring things back and forth from school. Choose one color for papers that need to come home but that don’t need to be returned. Choose another color for papers that need your attention and have to be returned to school. And pick another color for homework, labeling one pocket “To Do” and the other “Completed.”
6. Pizza box portfolios
Pizza box portfolios are a great space-saving solution. They stack right on top of each other. Ask your local pizza place for some clean, large pizza boxes. Your child can decorate and label them. Then start putting graded spelling homework in one box, art projects in another, and so on. Since there’s limited space, your child will have to make sure the papers are flat and stacked instead of crumpled into a ball.
Does your child seem really disorganized? Find out why some kids struggle with organization.
About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.
Bob Cunningham, EdM has been part of the Understood team since its founding. He has also been the chief administrator for several independent schools and a school leader in both general and special education.