5 Secrets of Super-Organized Parents
Try this alternative to bulky binders: a notebook with tear-out pages, plus an accordion file folder with tabs for each subject. Your student takes notes in class, then slips the pages and any handouts into the designated slot. At week's end, he empties all the materials into a color-coded filing system at home for safekeeping and easy access.
Create a "home file," either a file box or a cabinet drawer, with a slot for each subject; color-code the tabs to match up with any folders, etc., used for each class. Not only does this system give kids a place to unload weekly papers, but it also helps them organize reference materials (e.g., that periodic table of the elements) as the semester changes. Also important: creating a study-friendly spot that's well-lit and has a comfy seat and good-size work surface — it can be a bedroom desk or the kitchen table. Turn off the wireless router or unplug the TV, if needed, to keep distractions at bay.
You know the feeling — it's 9 p.m. and you're out of posterboard for your daughter's project that's due at 8 a.m. Prevent late-night freak-outs with a supply stash: markers, index cards, and so on. Save cash by buying products in bulk.
Experts recommend week-at-a-glance planners to teach older children time management. But it doesn't help anyone if your son's "soccer game at 6 p.m." never makes it onto the radar of his driver (i.e., you). Transfer items to the family calendar — or ask the kids to do so — once a week and as things come up.
Don't skip this tip: Before starting homework, have kids check their planner, assess their work, and unpack accordingly. As each to-do is done, it goes back into the bag — so nothing gets "forgotten" at home.
Keep vs. Toss
Toss kids' worn-out clothes, and donate the ones that no longer fit. Have little kids do a "fashion show," trying on all of their clothes while listening to favorite music or watching a movie. If your child is too old (or manly) to model, let him know there will be no new back-to-school clothes until unwearables are weeded out.
Keep spare change in a jar near the door. Give tweens and teens a lunch budget for the week, but if they wind up needing a few bucks — and you're out of singles that day — let them know they can take from the change stash.
Toss nonproductive systems or too-rigid ideas: If your kid prefers studying in bed, buy her a lap desk. If she hates spiral notebooks, switch to three-ring binders. As long as it works for her, it's working.