The organized child? While seemingly an oxymoron, it doesn't have to be that way.
And what better time to get things off on the right foot than the beginning of a new school year?
The earlier you start good organizational habits with children, the more successful they will be in learning and in life. Make organization a part of their everyday routine and soon it will be as second nature as washing their hands and brushing their teeth.
As with all things, having the proper tools is half the battle. Before you load up the backpack for the first day of school, consider the following tips from Mead. After more than 125 years of helping kids succeed, they have found getting kids organized with the help of the right supplies is really as easy as ABC.
A -- Age Appropriate
One size certainly doesn't fit all when it comes to school supplies. "The needs of elementary school students are completely different from those of middle and high schoolers," explains Dana Griffith, MeadWestvaco marketing manager. Be sure to keep in mind the little things when stocking up supplies for the little ones. Features such as wide ruling and larger index cards are a must for students who still print fairly large and are mastering handwriting skills.
Scale is an important thing to keep in mind, as well. A cumbersome five subject notebook or a backpack bigger than the child won't help with organization, it just makes kids sloppy and uncomfortable. Look for items that fit comfortably in young hands -- slightly smaller notebooks, thicker writing instruments, and compact carrying devices.
B -- Be Specific
Subject specific that is. For each major subject, students should have a separate notebook and folder to help them organize handouts, homework assignments and notes, as well as a designated take-home folder for permission slips and correspondence between school and home. Clearly label the notebook and folder with the subject and the student's name -- a lifesaver when an item is inevitably left behind in the classroom or found out on the playground. This simple practice eliminates a panicked search for the math homework and tearing through the backpack in tears
looking for the permission slip for tomorrow’s field trip.
Parents can take the subject-specific route one step further by seeking out supplies that have reference materials built-in. Notebooks and folders that incorporate tools such as multiplication tables, commonly misspelled words, and state capitals serve double duty by helping kids stay organized while putting useful information at their fingertips.
C -- Color is Key
Even a preschooler knows his colors -- so what better way to teach kids to organize, even before they can read. Organizational experts agree that color can be a strong memory jogger and teachers have been requesting matching notebook and folder colors for years. As a student peers into his desk or locker, one of the easiest ways to identify all the necessary supplies for the next class is to color coordinate. And, color-coding doesn’t have to stay in the classroom. Parents can carry the concept through at home with colorful storage bins in study areas,
colored paper and markers for assignment lists and color-coordinated magnets to display A+ work.
Once the kids are organizational gurus and the school year is underway, parents can focus on the even more daunting task of getting themselves organized!