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Organising Tips for the New School Year

Hello Everyone,

It’s the start of a new academic and calendar year and calendar sales are at their peak. Why? Because people are planning to organise themselves for the year ahead. Yet, many children and adults struggle with organisation. Children who have a combination of a right brain and a left hand can find organising themselves a real challenge, and their parents often tear their hair out due to their children’s disorganisation! To be effective at school, it is important for children to have a plan. If you think that getting your own kids organised and into a routine is tough, spare a thought for teachers; they have a tougher time than parents. Instead of a small group of 2 or 3 children, they have large classes to keep under control and on track. So how do they do it?

Here’s the secret: school is far more structured than home. There is a schedule which is reinforced with bells, the schedule is also being followed by other kids, so it is generally accepted as a fact of life and carried out routinely. If it works for teachers, there’s no reason why the same principles can’t work for you. The lesson is about to start!

Where to begin?

Sorting and categorising are key skills to develop in children. These skills can be nurtured by letting children help around the house. Sorting laundry, putting away dishes, grocery shopping and meal preparation - here are opportunities to learn and practice these skills and lay the groundwork for sorting and categorising at school.

Plan Together

In many junior-school classrooms across the world, a schedule or roster can be seen stuck to a wall where it is easily visible. Bring some of the structure of school into the home by creating a task chart to help your child remember what he/she is supposed to do each day. The chart should have pictures of the tasks to be done and the times when they are expected to be completed. Allow your child to provide input to the schedule. Add in some school-type positive reinforcement like stickers or smiling-face stamps for a job well done. And remember, the best reward for children is always some extra attention from Mom and Dad. With the time you've gained from less nagging, the extra attention will be easy to give.

Keep a list – and check it twice

Does your child feel he or she is too “grown up” for a reminder chart? Help them get into the habit of keeping a "to-do" list. Find a fun, colourful notebook and pen - make sure your child understands that the notebook is only for making lists - not for drawing or other uses (HINT: we suggest using a pocket size notebook that is easy to carry around). Use checklists to keep track of projects, chores, and reminders about what materials to take to class. Being able to cross off completed items will give children a great sense of satisfaction.

In the (study) zone

Regardless of their age, school going children should study in the same place every night. This doesn't have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few distractions, so the TV room is out of the question! Have all school supplies and materials nearby. Some basics to keep handy would be pens, pencils, paper clips, highlighters and a glue stick. As the year progresses, talk with your child and see what else they need. If your young child wants to study with you nearby, too, you'll be better able to monitor his progress and encourage good study habits from a young age.

Set a designated study time

Your child should know that a certain time every day is set aside for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school - most children benefit from time to unwind first. Include your child in making this decision. On days where no homework has been set, use the study time to review the day's lessons, read for pleasure, or work on an upcoming project.

Clear the Clutter Teach your child to clear out their school bag at the end of each week. Have a safe place for storing important info rmation which may be needed later in the year such as classroom handouts and old test papers and throw away any rubbish that collected during the week. Walk the Talk Be organised yourself. You can't expect to reap what you don't sow. If you want children to be organised, demonstrate the principles by organising your own life. Invest a few minutes each day reviewing your child’s progress and improvement in becoming organised. This gives you a great opportunity to spend time with your child and also lets your child understand that being organised is important for you too. Here’s to a productive and organised 2010! Warm regards,

Annette & Team

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