7 Color-Coding Tips to Get Your Child Organized

By Lexi Walters Wright
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Does your child have trouble keeping track of things—from class assignments to sports gear? Color-coding is a great way to help kids get and stay organized. Try these ideas to make it easier for your child to keep tabs on stuff at home and at school.

1. Assign a color.

Ask your child to choose a color. If you have more than one child, let each of them choose a color. Then stick to their colors when you choose everyday items like towels, toothbrushes, water bottles, laundry bags, and even electronics chargers. That way each sibling knows right away which thermos or blanket is theirs. This can help them understand which items they’re responsible for—and that can help keep bickering to a minimum.

2. Use different-colored bags for different kinds of gear.

Try organizing your child’s activities by color. Use large washable sacks in different colors. For example, you can keep all soccer supplies in a yellow bag, dance gear in a red one, and so on. This makes it easier for your child to know what to grab on the way to practice or other activity.

3. Color-code the family calendar.

Use a different color for each family member as you write in events. For example, your child’s activities could be marked in green, yours in red, and so forth. If your family uses a shared digital calendar, you can also assign colors to events. Check under “settings.”

4. Use different-colored supplies for each school subject.

Assign each class its own color. Red for reading, blue for math, and so on. If your child has a homework station, follow your color scheme when using bins for class-specific supplies. For example, calculators and rulers for math class go in the blue bin. Older kids can also color-code digital folders on their computers.

5. Try “home” and “school” colors for note-taking.

In class, kids take notes on what they learn from the teacher. At home, they take notes on what they’re studying on their own. If all of your child’s notes are in the same color, it can make it hard to know what was learned where: “Last week, I wrote that an obtuse angle is 90 degrees. Is that really what the teacher said?” Taking at-home and at-school notes in different colors—whether by hand or on a computer—can help your child avoid confusion.

6. Use an underlining system for note-taking.

When each color has a specific purpose, your child can scan a page and know where to look for what. For example, have your child mark all new terms or vocabulary words in yellow, the main topic in green, and each subtopic in pink. (This approach works best for shorter assignments. It could be overwhelming to do it for big chunks of text.) Your child can use this technique on the computer, too.

7. Color-code to-dos.

Use different-colored sticky notes to help your child keep track of when to do things like homework or chores. The color of the sticky note can show how urgent it is. For example, flag tasks that need to be done first with red stickies, next week’s stuff orange, and so on.

Get more tips: Learn how to help kids keep their backpack organized. And find out why some kids have so much trouble with organization.

About the Author

About the Author

Lexi Walters Wright 

is the former Community Manager at Understood (u.org/community). As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Jenn Osen-Foss, MAT 

is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions, and co-planning.

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