A Guide For Parents and Families
Organization skills are crucial to success in middle and high school, but proper organization starts in elementary school. As students progress in grades, they are expected to take on more and more responsibility, and parents are “kept in the loop” on fewer and fewer things. Read on to read some great tips for staying organized in the primary grades.
When I was a student in primary school, I struggled immensely with organization and remembering which books I needed to bring home for homework that night. I would often get home thinking I had reading homework, only to find out I brought home my math workbook and left my reading workbook at school. My mom came up with a genius idea that I’ve tried with lots of students with success, color coordination!
Keep everything for each subject color coded. For example, your math textbook, math notebook, math workbook and/or math folder should all be one color. Color code the section in your agenda with the same color, so when you look at the end of the day, you know to bring home your red books, or your yellow books.
We used colored tape, book socks and colored contact paper to help color code my textbooks and workbooks and then purchased corresponding paper folders that were the same color. Help your child organize all of their materials within the first week of school. Talk to your child’s teacher about helping them organize their desk if necessary.
Keeping a Clean Desk
During recess, snack break, lunch break, or the end of the day, encourage your child to clean out their desk. Go through any loose papers and put them where they belong. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a “catch all” folder where they can store these papers until they can have time to organize. If there is no time available during the day, talk to your child’s teacher about providing some time for desk organization either at the beginning or end of each day.
Send your child to school with a small pack of wipes to wipe down their desk each day. This will help them keep their desks free of crumbs, pencil shavings, broken crayons, etc. If you tell them to wipe the inside of their desk every week, it will force them to take everything out and subsequently prompt them to organize everything.
Using a Planner/Agenda
Have your child use a planner or an agenda to write down their homework each day. You can color code each section of their agenda so they know to write down their math homework in the red math section and their reading homework in the yellow reading section. Ask your child’s teacher to double check their agenda to ensure they aren’t forgetting anything, at least until they’ve shown they have a good grasp on the routine.
When they are packing up, remind your child if they have math written down in the red section, they should take home all of their red books and folders. If they have a question, encourage them to advocate for themselves and ask their teacher what they will need to complete the assignment.
Create a Task Card
While your child is learning these new routines like writing down their homework and organizing their desk, create a task card for them to refer back to. Here is an example of a task card for how to use your agenda. I used Canva to create this. You can be more specific by taking pictures of your child’s actual agenda and giving them specific directions.
Download our PK-12 Organization Checklists HERE!
What are your organization tips? Comment below!