School Success Requires Organization

How to Help Kids Get Organized before School Starts

by Dr. MaryJo Wagner

One of the most important things you can do BEFORE school starts is get organized for school. And I'm not just talking about shopping for new clothes and shoes.

Even if your kids don't have ADHD, organizing all their stuff and keeping it organized is often a challenge.

But it's also a big key to school success.

Proceed with one project at a time.

Start with their room if there's stuff on the floor, under the bed and piled everywhere. Set an intention to do this together without arguing. Your job is to make suggestions, not demands. Buy three brightly-colored bins (even three good-sized waste baskets will do). Label them "put away," "give away" and "throw away."

Now encourage your kids to get rid of as much as possible.

You'll want to model the behavior, so choose a similar project for yourself and get them to help you. I'm sure they'll have some great ideas about things you should toss.

Now that you've got room to move around their room and to temporarily take things out of the closet or drawers for sorting, repeat the "put away," "give away" and "throw away."

Use small crates, shelves, and drawers

Once they've gotten the "throw away" and "give away" bins out of the room, it's time to start figuring out ways to organize everything else. One big toy bin isn't the answer--just keeps all that clutter in one place. Small shelves and small plastic crates, drawers make organizing much simpler.

Now label everything. When drawers and shelves and bins or crates are labeled, kids have an easier time sorting their belongings. They can decorate with stickers--whatever makes it fun for them.

Clutter and disorganization is hard on the brain. It's confusing and distracting. So you'll want to take care of your kids' rooms first. Then it's on to organizing school supplies, lunches, homework habits, and schedules.

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