Calendar | Menus

Getting organized          Send a link to a friend

Syndicated column from The Parent Institute

[DEC. 27, 2006]  Q: Whether it has to do with schoolwork or just simple chores around the house, my son seems to be a bit scatterbrained. Is it possible to teach a 12-year-old boy how to become organized?

A: You are off to a good start just expressing your concern about your son needing to get organized. Talk with your son. Tell him why you think being organized can help him succeed, especially in school. Then ask if he has any ideas about how he could be more organized.

Here are some things your son can do to get more organized with his schoolwork:

  • Write down assignments. Your son probably has an assignment notebook. Make sure he uses it. Have him clearly record each assignment and when it's due. For planning big projects, have him use a calendar.

  • Use self-stick notes. Have your son attach them to books he needs for homework. At the end of the school day, every book with a self-stick note on it goes home.

  • File papers. Have your son use a large binder with sections for each subject. Include areas for finished and unfinished assignments. Use a filing system at home for saving homework, handouts and tests.

  • Make "to do" lists. Each day, have your son make a list of tasks to complete during study time. Crossing them off will help him stay organized and feel a sense of accomplishment.

  • Put books by the door. If your son's schoolwork is by the front door each morning, he'll avoid searching for it -- or forgetting it altogether.

[to top of second column]

It will be easier for your son to organize schoolwork if other parts of his life are organized, too, including:

  • Belongings. Make sure your son has specific places to keep his things. You'll be less likely to hear, "Mom, where's my homework?" Or, "I can't find my house key!"

  • Chores. There's nothing wrong with expecting your son to help around the house. Set up a schedule of chores he is expected to do.

  • Daily routines. Your son should be able to count on doing some things regularly -- for example, eating breakfast before school, having dinner with the family, laying clothes out before bed or going to bed at a certain time.

It may help to actually write down what your son will be expected to do. Make a chart and post it where you can check it off each day. When you create the chart, talk about consequences for not completing homework or chores. Then stick to what you say. Remember, you are the adult and you are in charge. Your son needs you to set limits for him. And don't forget to praise your son as he becomes more organized and shows more responsibility.

[The Parent Institute]

For more information about helping children learn, go to To submit your own question, use the form at
. All questions will receive a prompt answer by e-mail.

Copyright 2006, The Parent Institute

"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent Institute.


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor