Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to School Resolution #2

Part two of series, Top Ten Back to School Resolutions for tweens and their parents:

Back to School Resolution #2: Be organized.

Tweens are just learning how to manage their own school work, and some are better at organizing themselves and their materials than others. Entice your student to be organized by appealing to the universal tween girl obsession: color-coding. School supplies are thankfully available in more colors and options than when I was a tween, and your local office supply depot is bursting at the seams with folders, pens, notebooks, index cards, highlights and stickers in a rainbow of colors. She can assign a color to each subject or day of the week and use pens, index cards, notebooks, highlighters and labels to organize her notes and materials. She can even use colored wrapping paper or stretch book covers to color-code her text books. Color coding can work for any gender, but if color isn’t their thing, try assigning a sport (e.g. basketball-themed materials for math, football for English, hockey for science) or an animal (e.g. dogs for math, cats for English, birds for science) to their materials – you can print stickers or labels with these motifs to apply to binders, folders and the like to reinforce their system. Giving your tween control over her system is what will make the system work.

As parents of tweens we want to set our sons and daughters up for success. Setting up a regular space to do homework is key. For some families, this means a desk in a child’s room, and in others’ it means the kitchen table. I’m a fan of the kitchen table as it allows me to monitor the chatter that accompanies the schoolwork. It can be helpful to keep a box of school supplies on hand (erasers, pencils, a ruler, and a calculator) next to the homework space to minimize trips to and from their backpacks.

A tip that helps both you and your tween to be organized is to have them empty their book bag every night. That way, you get any school notices/permission slips sent home, and they don’t develop scoliosis by lugging everything for every subject on their back.

I’d love to hear your Back to School tips for tweens – send me a tweet at

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