Top 5 ways to help your child stay organized for school

What parent hasn’t gotten a call from a teacher asking for the signed release form for the field trip… only to find it stuffed in the child’s backpack next to the forgotten homework assignment?

When the lazy days of summer come to a close and kids head back to school, they sometimes can have a difficult time adjusting to different schedules, structured classroom settings, and the demands of student life. Help yourself and your child stay organized with these five tips:

1. Develop a before-school routine
Need to remember that Alison has piano lessons on Tuesdays and Josh has soccer practice on Wednesdays? Have a calendar that you can quickly reference each morning before heading out the door. List each day’s activities so you can make sure your children don’t show up for music lessons without their song books, or at sports practice without their gear.

2. Develop an after-school routine
Provide a convenient space in your home as a drop-off area for school papers that need your review or signature. Make it a clutter-free zone so materials don’t get lost or misplaced. Help your child form the habit of emptying their backpack as the first thing they do when they arrive home — yes, even before grabbing a snack from the refrigerator.

3. Create checklists and reminders
There is no one system that works for every child. Help your son or daughter discover what works best for them and let them help determine the system. If your child is more artistic, they may prefer a notebook where they can draw, doodle, or use different colored pencils, highlighters, or stickers to keep track of homework assignments and deadlines. If your child prefers technical gadgets, they may opt to keep notes or schedule reminders on a smartphone or tablet. You also may want to check out special apps to download onto their mobile device.

4. Encourage immediate action
If your child needs to remember something at the end of the day, encourage them to text the task to you as a reminder as soon as they can. Need to sign a paper? A simple “Dad, need you to sign something tonight” may be all that’s needed.

5. Provide fuel for thought
Students need fuel to start the day and help them stay focused, energized, and alert. But not just any food will do. Choose high-protein breakfast foods including eggs, omelets, Greek yogurt, and meat to sustain them until lunch time. Try to avoid starchy foods. Research suggests that typical breakfast staples like toast, hash browns, cereal, and pastries are loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugars that can create blood sugar (glycemic) spikes, reduce energy, increase cravings, and cloud thinking. Even supposed “healthy” snacks like granola, trail mix, or protein bars often have substantial amounts of added sugar. Instead, opt for fruit, string cheese, or almonds to satisfy cravings.

By following these tips, you’ll help take some of the stress out of back-to-school for both you and your child.

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