How to help a child get organized for school
There are three things that students of all ages need to be successful. Parents should start preparing their children for the beginning of school several weeks before school starts. Time to transition is important as each child is different in their ability to adapt to changes. it has been my experience that students need to know what the routine will be, they need to have the required tools and a place to keep them and if there are specific rules that will need to be followed the reasons for the rules are often helpful.
All teachers post the daily routine on the wall of the classroom. Parents can take a hint from teachers and post a routine or schedule for school days on the child’s bedroom wall, refrigerator or somewhere else in the house for easy reference. Once the routine is set parents must make sure that the family sticks to the schedule. This includes, homework time, bed time, and meal times. This is a challenge for families with extracurricular activities.
Tools for school
Each grade level, school and classroom has required equipment. The schools have made things much easier for parents by distributing the school supply list in advance so parents have time to shop for these necessary items. Once the tools are purchased parents should help their child set up a place to store the tools. Some children have a desk in their bedroom and drawers for keeping supplies. Others use the kitchen or dining room table for homework. Decorating a shoebox or other container for supply storage works just as well. Labeling the storage areas with words and/or pictures insures that items can be easily returned to the same place each time they are used.
Rules and their reasons
Rules or guidelines are necessary to keep routines running smoothly. When you have set a routine or schedule, discussing it with your child is important. Most often children want to ask why a particular rule is set. Rather than dreading the question or answering with “Because I said so,” take the time to explain the reason behind the rule. Quite often children find it easier to follow rules when they understand the reasoning behind it. Parents might even allow their children to help with this process.
Having a family meeting and asking what the child thinks will help to make the school year run smoothly. Parents can obtain a much higher level of cooperation when the child has input into some of these things. Parents always have the final say in setting the rules but children learn self-regulation from helping to decide on some of the rules. Parents can give options such as should bedtime be at 7:00 or 7:30 or should the alarm go off at 6:00 or 6:15 in the morning.
After you have set the stage for starting the school year off, successfully sticking to the plan will be a challenge throughout the year. As activities present themselves make sure that your child does not get over-scheduled for activities so that the family can continue to follow the routines and schedules that were developed in preparation for a successful school year.