Parents know that they have less and less influence over their child’s school habits every year. By the time most kids hit high school, listening to their parents is the last thing they want to do and many will do the opposite of anything you suggest just out of adolescent rebelliousness. Organizing for the school year is, therefore, something best instilled in young children so that they will carry those skills with them after they stop listening.
Most kids start carrying backpacks at a young age. Teach your kids from the start how to organize their backpack, and let them help you do it. The general rules for organizing a school backpack are simple:
- The heaviest items should go closest to the back. This means binders and heavy textbooks and other large items should go in the back section. At the beginning of the school year, the binders may not be very full, but kids need to get in the habit of putting them there so that as they fill up, they will be in the proper place.
- Smaller textbooks, spiral notebooks and pads can go in the next biggest section.
- The front, smallest pocket, is ideal for cell phones, pencils and pens, tissues, and other small items. These may be dictated by what the school allows students to bring.
- Many backpacks have special pockets on the side, inside other pockets, on top, or wherever it is stylish. A good rule is to not buy a backpack with pockets you don’t need. Another rule is to designate each of these smaller, specialized pocket to one or two specific items and only those items.
When it comes to locker organization, you probably won’t be going to school with older students to help them set up their locker. What you can do is offer to purchase locker organizational items and go to the store with them (at least in the first few years) to discuss what to buy and how to use it.
- Locker shelves are great for creating multiple tiered storage in what would otherwise be a big pile of stuff.
- Magnetic hooks can make it easier to store a jacket, purse, or hat or to hang your backpack so you’re not carrying it around all day.
- Magnetic cups and baskets are specially designed to attach to the inside of the locker door to provide additional organizational space.
- Budget some money for personalization, such as mirrors, frames, and decorative items for your kid’s locker. If they know from the start that it is their space and reflects their personality, they are more likely to want to keep it neat and organized.
It all comes down to teaching your kids the importance of organization at home and when they are young. After that, it is up them to organize their school stuff.