Mission 2 Organize

Back to School: Tips for Organizing Inside and Outside the Classroom


A new school year means purchasing a fresh stock of school supplies, re-establishing routines, and figuring out ways to manage your calendar with all the upcoming activities.

But it’s also a great time to help your child stay organized both inside and outside the classroom.  In doing so, you can ensure that your child is not only successful but top of the class!

First Things First

Children aren’t born organized. Organizing is actually one of eight executive skills (the others being emotional control, inhibition, working memory,  initiation, planning/priortizing, shifting, and self monitoring) that children must learn. Described as “the management system of the brain”,  they take time to develop.

Image courtesy of thepathway2success.com

So does that mean your child is a lost cause at school? Of course not! It just means you, as the parent, need to guide your child closely and encourage them to find ways to strengthen their organizing muscle.  And as always, Mission 2 Organize is here to help, too!

Organizing Inside the Classroom

While each child has their own organizing style, the school environment doesn’t always allow them to use it.

If your child’s organizing style doesn’t mesh with teacher’s organizing methods, it can create chaos and result in your child performing poorly in school. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this issue:

  • Understand your child’s organizing style clearly so you can formulate ways to help them. We highly recommend Organizing for Your Brain Type by Lanna Nakone as a resource. It not only helps you recognize your child’s “style” but it also offers insights on how to organize particular areas of their lives.

  • Speak with the teacher. A teacher may not be able accommodate or tailor their system with your child’s organizing style. However, consider talking with him/her to see how to integrate the two so it’s a win-win situation all around.  The earlier in the school year you can speak with the teacher the better. This way your child can have solid footing from day one.
  • Talk with your child. Once school has officially begun, sit down with your child and discuss how they’re feeling about the organizing systems at school. Then brainstorm together to see how you can make it work for your child and their teachers so that everyone’s happy.

  • Check-in regularly. Take time each month or grading period to review your child’s organizing success and struggles. Discuss how they can make changes, if needed. Like learning any new skill, it will new to be a fluid routine until you find the magic potion!
Organizing Outside the Classroom

Once they’re organized inside the classroom,  you’ll want to make sure they’re organized at home too.

  • Have systems/routines in place for them. If you want your child to be successful at school consider setting up systems/routines that can provide structure around their school day. And no, we don’t mean a strict, minute-by-minute schedule! Instead, think of how you can help your child prepare for school in the morning by getting up at the same time each day and checking that they have all they need for the school day. In the afternoon, establish a routine for how school papers should be shared and where homework is done. At night, have your child pick out the clothes they want to wear to school the next day or set all their school-related items by the door before going to sleep.

  • Have extra supplies on hand. Set up a “school station” where you have extra materials such as pens, pencils, and notebook paper on hand. This way, if they run out or forgot them at school, everyone can stay calm and you can avoid any late-night trips to the store.
  • Create a suitable study environment. Some children will want to study in their rooms, away from any noise or distractions. Others will want to be in the middle of it all so they feel connected. Whatever your child prefers, create a study environment that will work for them so they can be the most successful.

Being organized doesn’t guarantee that your child will get straight A’s or pass every test. However, it can give your student the foundation and confidence they need to be successful all school-year long.

What techniques have you found to be successful?

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