Whether you’ve chosen to send your child back to the in-person or virtual classroom, we have to admit everything has changed a lot about school this year. The downside to these big changes is that it disrupts routine and leaves a lot of families – and kids – feeling disorganized and lost.
For those of us who are juggling working remotely with having children in new learning environments – including students with class on rotating days with lots of independent work time - that loss of organization may feel especially keen.
Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to help students learn strong organization skills and strategies.
Make a place for everything
Everything can’t be in place until you have a place for everything. This can be a little less formal than people think – after all, a mat by the door simply invites people to leave their shoes there, doesn’t it?
Help your child naturally find these places for everything by making it logical and simple for them. Place a cup for their pens and pencils on their desks (or near wherever they do their schoolwork at home). Point out a specific hook or cubby for their backpacks, a special bucket or bin for everyone’s reusable masks to make laundry easy, collective bins and shelves where they can find notepads, crayons, glue and other every-day tools they’ll need for homework. A bin or other container is better than a drawer – especially if it’s highly visible.
Give them a checklist and a calendar
Depending on the child’s age, consider a reusable weekly or a monthly calendar, and encourage them to put deadlines on it. Keep it by their workspace so they have quick and easy access to it. Do they have to finish a book by Friday? Do they have a paper due on the 17th?
By comparison, a checklist may be especially helpful for kids who are leaving the home on a regular basis. On it should be every single item that they should check for in their bags before they leave every day – masks, sanitizer, lunch and snacks, homework, supplies and all. Depending on the age of the child, you may possibly also want to add the tasks they need to do when they get home – washing their hands, putting their masks in the bins, cleaning their bags, etc. That said… a child who is working at home may find a simple checklist handy for their daily tasks, too!
Have a strong routine
Once things have a place, then we can work on the routine to best use those places. Kids who leave and return home can be encouraged to have a strong routine that encourages them to use their checklists. The routine can also incorporate children to pick up their workplaces at the end of the day – at school and home alike and add to their calendar. Students learning at home will be able to add things throughout the day easily, and should be encouraged to do so. Children who are attending in-person school should be encouraged to add their deadlines to their calendar daily as well.
Be sure to also check out our article on setting up a workplace that works. Hopefully, this will get everyone adjusted for a strong school year!
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