Teaching organization

6 Simple Tools to Help Your Grade-Schooler Get Organized

By Amanda Morin

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Helping your grade-schooler get organized doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Simple tools can work just as well as complicated ones. Consider these easy organization solutions.

223Found this helpful
Mother and daughter creating a family calendar
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A Family Calendar

A large, wall-sized calendar for all the family appointments, commitments and activities 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. Consider using a different color marker for each family member to help highlight different schedules.

Read another tip about using a calendar with your child.

Close-up of father helping his son create a “picture” list of tasks
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Visual Checklists

A visual checklist uses pictures to lay out the steps to perform a certain task. For instance, the morning routine might have pictures of getting out of bed, brushing teeth, getting dressed, brushing hair and eating breakfast. Visual checklists take away the stress of reading for kids with learning and attention issues. And they can also be small enough to be posted discretely in the right location. At first glance, they just look like comic strips.

Download sample picture schedules and visual planners.

Mom home schooling children on how to tell time
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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. Consider buying 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 so your child can see time in 15-minute blocks.

Try another strategy to help your child manage time.

Young girl selecting colored pencils to use from a cup
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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 (such as 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 the homework spot when needed.

See how to make a portable homework station.

Young child writing in a notebook with a brightly colored folder
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Colored Pocket Folders

Provide your child with 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 don’t need to be returned. Choose another color for papers that need a parent’s attention and have to be returned to school. And pick out another color for homework, labeling one pocket “To Do” and the other “Completed.”

Learn more ways to use color-coding to help your child get organized.

Close-up of a woman holding a stack of pizza boxes
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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, and then begin 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.

Looking for more ideas? Explore Parenting Coach for age-specific organization tips.

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About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

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Portrait of Bob Cunningham

Bob Cunningham, Ed.M., serves as advisor-in-residence on learning and attention issues for Understood.

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