It’s the third time this week he’s forgotten to bring his homework home. Then you looked in her closet and couldn’t get the door shut because of all the stuff she’s crammed in this tiny space. There’s no order whatsoever to the mess. It’s no wonder she can’t find anything! What’s a Mom to do?
It’s not just ADHD kids who are disorganized? Kids who don’t have ADHD sometimes can’t remember to bring homework home either. Can’t remember to take the homework back to school when they did bring it home. It’s not intentional. He really means to get his homework done. He just forgets.
Maybe her school materials are poorly organized. Maybe he has poor time-management skills. With all the distractions bombarding kids today, it’s not surprising that they forget so much and are so unorganized.
Without some basic organizational strategies, kids do poorly in school and their grades plummet. Some kids end up cheating or lying–whatever it takes to survive school with a minimum of criticism and punishment. Disorganization and forgetfulness get in the way of success at school.
You can teach your child how to be more organized. Maybe you’ll even find some of these tips useful around your home.
Seven Tips to Help Your Disorganized Kid
1. Color code: Help your child organize his school books and notebooks by color-coding them. Use colored book covers, stickers, labels, stars, or markers with one color for each subject. You can also color code the books by adding colored stickers.
2. Clear book covers: Consider using clear book covers to cover books so that your child can always see the covers.
3. Locker organization: Help your child organize his locker. Brainstorm with him to come up with the best solution. Often locker organizers or locker shelves help a lot. Put morning books on one shelf and afternoon books on another, or math and science on one shelf, language arts and social studies on another, for example. Label the shelves.
4. Extra set of books: Keep an extra set of textbooks at home. Before you buy them, ask if the school can provide them. Check the web too for companies who rent textbooks.
5. Organizer: Help your child develop daily schedules. Some schools provide daily planners. If your child’s school doesn’t give out planners, you’ll need to buy one or a PDA (personal digital assistant) from an office-supply store. While you’re there, you and your child can look around at other products that help with organizing.
6. Structure: Offer to help your child organize her homework time. As soon as she gets home, go over the list of assignments due the next day as well as any long-term assignments. If you wait until later, it may be too late to get an assignment from a friend or a book from school. Help her decide which assignment she’s going to do first. Then help her figure enough time for each assignment.
7. Home organization: You and your disorganized kid need to decide on one place to put finished homework. One place to put everything that needs to go back to school including his lunch. One hook for his jacket. And keeping his room uncluttered helps also. Have him set a weekly schedule for cleaning and organizing his room. For some kids, they’ll need to do this every day for awhile until organization becomes a habit. Just as you did for his locker, find shelves and cubes to put things in. Color coding helps here also. You may need to help them at first.
Kids will do best at this new organization routine if it’s simple, and they’ve had a say in deciding what will work and what won’t. Disorganized kids can go overboard with color coding, labels, and stickers which only leads to more disorganization because it’s too complicated. They may need help in making it easy.
Being organized gives kids a sense of power and control over school and their lives. As they begin to feel good about themselves, they’ll start doing better in school.
How do you help your kids stay organized? Other parents will appreciate you comments.