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Syndicated column from The Parent
[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
Here are some things your son can do to get more organized with
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
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.
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
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
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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.
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.
For more information about helping
children learn, go to
http://www.parent-institute.com. To submit your own question,
use the form at
howitworks.php. 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.