Everything was fine until junior high. That is when my daughter suddenly lost control of her organizational skills. Papers were lost in transport and assignments were forgotten. Her backpack was crammed with stuff and her locker wasn’t any better.
No one was more surprised than her. Before making the transition to junior high, this girl had it all under control. She was the type of girl who had a separate container on her desk for Chapstick and kept rubber bands on her perfectly rolled up belts.
Now I realize some kids are naturally disorganized, in fact, I could raise my hand on that one, but this girl just wasn’t one of them. Thankfully, the same steps that help the messy will help the confused and overwhelmed as well.
Help your disorganized child get a grip this school year
Determine the issues at hand
Is the problem general disorganization? What part does forgetfulness, lack of structure or routine play a part? Figuring out the root of the problem has to be the first step.
In my daughter’s case, she was trying to remember everything on her own. Keeping everything in her head was clearly not working. School schedules, new locker combinations, special supplies for different classes, practice schedules and club meeting responsibilities were all threatening to drown her in things to remember.
When purchasing school supplies I was a little concerned about the amount of folders and notebooks required; two blue and one red for math, a yellow, a blue and a red folder for science, three green and three red for language arts. I understand teachers are trying to organize their classrooms, but remembering to bring home the right red folder became part of the problem.
A single accordion folder was used to hold all current assignments. She keeps this folder on her the entire day and brings it home every night so that nothing is missed.
Stick to the plan
If the school does not issue daily planners; make it a point to show your child how to use one. A calendar with designated space to write classroom assignments and keep track of upcoming events is a necessary part of a busy student’s life.
Sitting down at least once a week to fill in important dates and look over all the responsibilities can go a long way in breaking down the confusion that comes from being disorganized. Knowing that she has an away meet on Tuesday, a big test on Wednesday and a project due on Thursday means that she has to be smart about how she spends her time.
Facing the problem head on and then making the commitment to follow through is the best way to tackle disorganization.
More by Sylvie Branch:
Back-to-school jitters for first-time parents — middle school
Fears for the new school year: Fighting the emotional battle
A back to school morning routine for success