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Back to school…while some parents are dancing a jig of the thoughts of kids returning to school, there are other parents who are feeling some anxiety.  The reminders of the exploding backpack, missing homework, trips back to school for the forgotten textbook, and emails from teachers are too much for some parents to think about handling again.  Help your child discover organizational success this year!

Everyone starts the school year with the same statement, “This year will be different.  We’ll be more organized!”

With a goal of keeping everyone’s anxiety at bay through better organization, explore these tips to not only get your child off to a great start BUT to maintain it.

1. Determine Organizing Style

Understand that your child’s organizing style may be different from yours.  Find out, is your child a visual, spatial or a sequential organizer?  The reason I ask is that some products work better for certain organizers.  Finding products that work best for your child will equate into organizational success.

Sequential Organizers

Sequential organizers are the tech savvy kids who will also have an “order” to their organizing.

For example , the accordion folder works best for sequential organizers because they can keep their papers in a structured, chronological order.

Spatial Organizers

The spatial child may like that the papers are kept together in an accordion folder but may NOT like the awkwardness involved when trying to place papers into the folder.

Visual Organizers

Visual organizers need to see everything at a glance, otherwise they can’t find it. The visual child may feel the accordion folder is just too visually overwhelming.

Explore Resources >> The Organized Student

Organizing the Disorganized Child

Smart but Scattered

2. Buy Durable School Products for Organizational Success


Better Binders and plastic three hole folders are a must for organizing students!

Clear pencil cases with three holes are best placed within folders.

Thick plastic dividers are advised to be used within binders instead of the usual types that were used when we were in school.

Planners & Studying

A planner is a must.  Ensure the planner used will offer enough room for your child to write down all the assignments.   Tech saavy kids today may benefit from using an app to keep their homework organized.  Check out these two options:

My Homework Student Planner

The Dog Ate It Student Planner

Neon index cards for vocab words.  Again, kids may respond better to using a variety of apps.  One option is gFlash+ — Fun, Free, Custom Flashcards


A backpack that has thick, supportive straps is a must for the kids to try on to ensure a good fit.  Also a good option to consider is a back pack with wheels!

And finally, a personal favorite of mine, a Post It weekly calendar will allow you and your child to manage school and activities and achieve organizational success.

3. Accommodations for Organizational Success

If your child receives any accommodations or has a 504/IEP, email the teacher before school begins to let them know of your child’s isms and modifications. Teachers will have a copy of any 504/IEP plans, but it’s more convenient for the teacher to have you briefly list the accommodations in an email.  Take this opportunity to let the teacher know what sets your child up for success in the classroom.  Some ideas may include visual, verbal or cognitive cuing, color coding materials or even keeping a second set of materials at home to aid in developing organizational success.

4. Visit School

This is a suggestion offered by many because it is so effective.  Make arrangements to visit the school before it opens and have your child walk through their assigned schedule.  This visit can go a long way in helping the child with transition between classes, thereby increasing the chances of organizational success.  It will also reduce any anxiety and help to make him/her feel more comfortable when school starts.

5. Select a Locker

If your disorganized child will be using lockers this coming school year, ask for an end locker for your child. Elbow room is limited when the kids are trying to get their books out of their locker and this can lead to overwhelm and exacerbate disorganization.

For organizational success, look for products that will help keep the locker organized.  Some ideas include:


Locker Ladder

Locker Shelf Extender

6. Maintain Communication

Once the school year begins, keep the communication open between you and your child’s teacher to make sure that you are kept abreast of the current assignments and projects due.  Many teachers are now using classroom websites or apps for assignments and communication between home and school.

These tips are not a cure all.  Remember, you will probably have to continue to provide your child with various  organizational strategies and techniques until you both discover the one that works best.  Then keep working at it until the organizational skills become embedded. Good luck and enjoy the school year.