· Analyze first; pull out everything and go over the items with your kids. Go over their schedule and homework. Are they bringing home everything they need or nothing they need? Too many loose papers, too many books, too many notices you aren’t getting? Decide what the issues are and tackle them:
· Too many loose papers: Create a folder for each class – with spiral bound notebook. Make sure each is labeled by class and if needed (depending on how your child learns) by color. Create a folder for just homework. Have your child put all homework in that folder each day. Have them bring home all folders and notebooks/books that they have homework in and that they may need to study for tests/quizzes.
· Too many books: If your kids are dragging books home each night or they keep forgetting to bring home a book, and they weigh a ton, consider getting a set just for home use. This way, the kids are only carrying papers that need parent attention, their class notes, and homework assignments. It also means less to get lost in a backpack.
· Notices For Parents: Create a folder just for the non-stop avalanche of paper you will get from your kids’ schools and teachers. Have the kids put anything that is not homework into one folder. Go through it nightly and update your calendar, address book, toss everything you don’t need and put back only the things you needed to approve or sign off on.
· Include the Buttoned Up Homework.pad in the backpack (preferably within reach at each class). This will help the kids keep on track with projects and homework as well as upcoming tests/quizzes.
· IF your child has extracurricular activities (classes, lessons or sports), put all items for those non-academic classes in one large plastic bag. So John’s football practice clothes are in one plastic bag, Julie’s ballet clothes and shoes are together in one plastic bag, etc. and put those in the backpack as needed – make sure the kids bring them home to be washed! Once washed, put them back in the plastic baggie and put by the child’s backpack for next time.
· All schools supplies should be in one area of the backpack and also in plastic baggies or pouches. Pens, pencils, sharpeners, etc. should be easy to find if in one location (outside pocket?) of a backpack.
· Put all School ID, wallet, money, emergency contact in one baggy in an outside pocket.
· If you pack a lunch for your child, make sure it has its own “bag” and that it will fit in the backpack or be able to be latched on to the backpack so your kids don’t lose their lunch and go hungry. Include snacks for later in the day when they may need a boost.