This week marks the start of a new school year for most Metro Atlanta schools. We recommend using the opportunity to commit to a more organized and efficient year in terms of your children’s homework, gear, responsibilities, and activities. In order to help you set your child up for success, we’ve put together a few basic strategies. Implement these at the start of the year and within a few weeks the new system will seem standard within the family.
Homework: For some families, this daily task can be a real challenge. Minimize struggles, by creating a routine. The homework routine should, as much as possible, be consistent week-to-week and day-to-day. We recommend setting a specific time of day and allotment of time for the task to be completed. Although this may need to be flexible for older children, having a general idea of when they are to work on homework and for how long will help keep them focused during the task. The homework process should also be conducted in a space free from distractions, such as TV, phones, and even siblings. Once the child’s homework is done it should immediately be put back in the school bag or otherwise be prepared for return to school the following day.
School Gear: Backpacks and school binders can quickly become messy and disorganized. Products designed to organize these items can help keep things under control, but the more important part is that your child actually utilize the system. Prior to the start of school, discuss with your child the importance of organization and how to keep their belongings neat. Then set up a routine where they clear their backpack or binder of unnecessary items and nicely rearrange the leftovers each night. This re-set technique works great for adult offices and can be just as effective with kids. A final recommendation for maintaining paper organization is to implement a permission slip inbox/outbox. Simply set up a tray, folder, or other type of document catcher in the house and encourage your children to deposit unsigned slips in the folder each night and pickup the signed slip in the morning before leaving for school.
Activities: American children often have many activities and obligations each week. If this is true of your family, there are a couple of strategies you can use to prevent overload and missed engagements. First, decide how many commitments you and your child can reasonably agree to each week and standby this number when additional opportunities arise. It can sometimes be difficult to say no, but learning the skill can help you and your child retain personal time that is extremely important to mental health. Second, keep a family calendar, either paper or digital, that documents all activities. Each Sunday the family should review the calendar and discuss each person’s responsibilities including things like pickups and snack duties, etc.
With continued use of these strategies, school routines and tasks can become more streamline and worry-free.