THE WOODLANDS, TX – Heading back to school can be either an exciting experience or nerve-racking time for students. While shopping for school supplies and greeting old friends can be fun for many children, for others, going back to the classroom and facing new teachers, new friends and maybe even a new school can be daunting.
Kim Bellini, owner and director of The Woodlands LearningRx, said the best way parents can help their children get off to a great start this school year is to teach them to be organized.
Before your child heads back to the classroom, get organized, Bellini said. Plan ahead – and reap the reward of smoother-running school days.
Children who are disorganized suffer from anxiety, she explained.
When a child is not well prepared to start the day, it makes it harder to get it together in the classroom, Bellini said. There are several smart ways to help students feel more together and less pressed for time. It may sound strange – but organizing your brains is the first step to being better organized for life.
Here are a few of Bellini’s tips for getting kids organized:
Get detailed. There are several kid-friendly planners on the market, Bellini said. Pick one up and show your child how to use it to keep a detailed schedule, mark important assignments on a calendar and plan homework each day, she added. Sometimes using colored pens or highlighters make the project more fun and visually appealing.
Make it a family effort. Try hanging a large dry erase magnetic board in the study, hallway, kitchen, game room or your child’s bedroom. Use tape to mark out the calendar days, try color-coded magnets for regular activities and then pick up dry erase markers to write in the details. For the more technologically savvy family, try creating an Outlook or Google calendar – and let each family member add their own dates. Start keeping a family calendar while your children are young and you’ll be starting a great habit for life, Bellini said.
Stay healthy. Making last-minute lunches is not only stressful but may also result in a meal that is not as healthy as parents might like. One option is to embrace leftover lunches – make extra servings of dinner and pack them for lunch the next day, Bellini said.
If children are old enough, put them to work making lunch while you are preparing dinner, she added. They benefit from the responsibility of making their own lunches – and you gain back the time
Create an Inbox/Outbox. It can be a challenge to keep up with all those notices that parents need to sign.
A great solution is to create an inbox in your home – a drawer or cubby or shelf – designated specifically for school notices, Bellini said. Ask your child to stop by the inbox after school, deposit papers that need to be reviewed and empty backpacks nearby.
While the child gets in the habit of depositing papers in the box and picking up signed papers the next morning, parents also need to get in the habit of checking the inbox regularly.
Make it a game. At the beginning of the day, create a mental to-do list with your child, Bellini said.
This act stimulates working memory – the part of the brain that stores and uses complex information, she explained. If your thought process gets interrupted, make a conscious effort to stay on track. This will help you gain a greater sense of control.
Take a break. Bellini reminds parents that there is a limit to how much a person can accomplish. Most adults can only focus on a task for about an hour, she said. Children are no different. Give their brains a chance to recharge.
Get started early. Start getting organized sooner than later – and make sure children pick up these good habits at a young age.
It’s usually easier to start the year off strong than to end it well, Bellini said. Don’t let your efforts wane as the year progresses – keep up the good work all year long.
At The Woodlands LearningRx, a child’s success in school is a key focus. Located at 4840 West Panther Creek, Suite 205 in The Woodlands, the center offers brain-training programs for individuals of all ages — programs that enhance a child’s ability to learn, read and succeed in school, methods for adults to better face work-related challenges, and programs for senior citizens who want to stay sharp and improve their quality of life.
LearningRx specializes in identifying and correcting the underlying cognitive skill deficiencies that keep people from achieving their full potential in school, business or life. The program was pioneered by Dr. Ken Gibson. Using a comprehensive skills assessment test and intensive one-on-one training, certified trainers quickly and effectively enhance weak cognitive skills such as attention, memory, processing speed, and problem solving.