Staying Organized this School Year

It’s that time again; stacks of school papers and piles of miscellaneous items will soon fill every corner of your house. Summer is officially over and now is the time to get back to your organization habits. It is crucial to stay on top of organizing or you could face the dreaded moment when you are running late, trying to get out the door, but you can not find your child’s school work. Save yourself the headache and time by staying organized. To help you avoid the school year stress, we put together several organization tips that could work for your family.

This first tip will help you with your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) information: a binder. While this may seem obvious or low-tech, committing yourself to using a binder to track each detail is a way to force yourself into an organized school year. There is a lot of paper work for school in general, but special education students tend to have more. Dedicate a binder to your child’s important handouts by using tabs to sort them all. Have a tab for IEP information, meeting information, school events, special education documents, etc. Also, keep a list of contact information for your child’s doctor, teachers, and IEP members. Having all this information in one organized place will make it easier to find the papers you need.

Secondly, establish school routines. Children need structure and they need to know what to expect before and after school. Prepare them by explaining what needs to be done in the mornings and then after school. Pack lunches and pick out clothes the night before to make mornings easier and faster. It doesn’t hurt to even pack up backpacks before hand. You will be less likely to forget something if it is already all done and the mornings will be less chaotic, making it easier to get out the door.

Thirdly, turn cheap paper trays into school bins. One can be for homework or permission slips that need to be filled out and then the other can be for completed homework that needs to go back to school/turned in. You can write the due dates onto a sticky note and stick it to the front pages of the assignments. Having the dates clearly displayed will help you stay more organized on what needs to be done first. The day before the assignments are due, place them into a folder and into the child’s backpack. Check the bins daily to stay on top of all the assignments and paperwork.

This next tip is more for your child. Buy a cheap luggage tag that you can place onto the child’s backpack. Remove the paper inside the luggage tag and cut out a piece of paper that could fit inside the tag. Then, on the paper, you can write a checklist for your child of the items that need to go to school (lunch box, completed homework, etc). On the other side, write a checklist that lists the items that need to come home. The night before school, you and your child can go through the checklist and pack as much as you can for the morning. This will help your child feel more independent and teach them how to stay organized also.

The last tip for staying organized is to label. Label folders, binders, gym clothes, backpacks, cubbies or paper trays. Giving a home to everything will make it easier to put it away and giving something a distinct purpose will keep everything organized. Take the time to label and put everything in its proper place.

Staying organized throughout the school year is a long commitment that will need daily work. It may be hard at first, but once you get into the habit, it should come naturally. Labeling various items will give everything a purpose and a proper place and having two trays for schoolwork will keep papers from getting lost. It is also crucial to create a binder for important papers that need to be easily accessible. Don’t forget to establish routines so your child can know what to expect throughout the year. Organization is key to a stress-free, clutter-free school year and we hope these tips can work for your family. If you have any organization tips for the school year – we would love to hear them – please submit them through a comment.

If you have any questions regarding Cerebral Palsy or would like learn more about special education, don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE or fill out our contact form on Facebook or our website.