Tips to help kids organize all year long

By Vicki Davis, Teacher and IT Director at Westwood Schools,

This blog post is sponsored by Staples. All content and opinions are my own. I’m glad all of the products I mention here are in stock all year long at Staples because kids will need them to get organized.

Let’s talk about some tips for keeping your kids organized throughout the school year. The thing we have to remember is that if a student LEARNS in a certain way, they should also ORGANIZE in a certain way. As I share these products, remember that you can pick them up from Staples — they keep all of these things IN STOCK all season long.

1. Theme the system

Come up with a theme for your child’s organization system. You can help students succeed by theming how they’ll organize things like test review materials, homework, things that come home, things to return to the teacher, things for other students, etc., in a way that’s fun for them. For example, if your child loves football or dancing, consider folders with these visual themes. The key is to have visual reminders for each part of the planning system. Then, when you’re talking to children who don’t really like homework, you can say, “Go get your playbook” or “Go get your dance program,” and you’ve got a positive anchor that they can understand. Use this system to organize their backpacks as well. My favorite way to make this system work is to purchase sticker paper. Then you put whatever images you want on sturdy notebooks, folders and planners.

2. Color code classes

Color code their classes by coordinating supplies for each class. For example, cover the math book in a blue cover and get a blue binder. For literature, you could cover it in red and get a red binder and a small red plastic box for index cards. You get the idea! Then use that color to highlight the class on their schedules. For each class, they’re ready to grab and go based on color! (You could go one step further with a multicolored pen that lets students write on their calendars in the color of the class.)

3. Help students build habits

These organizational tips won’t work if students don’t go through their papers consistently, so help kids build habits. For example, teach them to go through their papers and put them in the appropriate places at the beginning of study hall or when they go home. You can make a checklist on a sticky note that they check off each day or create an organizing center using the inside of the clipboard box or a folder to create areas for organizing tasks.

4. Create action centers

Stock areas with supplies for taking certain kinds of action. For example, the math action center would have graph paper, rulers and calculators. These items could live in a transparent envelope that they can grab when they’re ready to work on that subject. (A note here, I love the Staples® poly envelopes and pick them up for me and my son.) Group all items together by courses. For example, if they need index cards for vocabulary, include index cards and Sharpie® markers in their vocabulary action center.

5. Organize visually

“Out of sight, out of mind” applies to visual learners. They can sometimes forget all about an assignment if it isn’t written down. But also remember that being able to scan and see things quickly helps these students. These students may benefit from their homework station being organized visually on a wall.

6. Organizing is an ongoing process

Realize that organizing oneself doesn’t come naturally. It takes time. The more children are challenged to learn, the more they are naturally disorganized. But when you find what works, it makes all the difference in the world.

So get out there, stock up on some of these items, and see what works. And thanks to Staples, our sponsor of this series, you can find all of these products all season long and at the lowest prices, guaranteed!