Many adults can handle their personal paperwork, but don’t have a clue when it comes to helping their children get theirs under control. School calendars, lunch menus, homework assignments, and odd-sized art projects can all contribute to a mountain of paper. Here are a few tips to help you help them get organized.
- Papers that need to be referenced daily or weekly might work well attached to the refrigerator or to a kitchen bulletin board (e.g. lunch menus, calendars, sports schedules).
- Start an art project box for each child. Oversized professional artist’s portfolios work great. Your local art or office supply store will have a variety of sizes and materials (leather-bound, cardboard) — as well as prices— to choose from. As projects come home, save the favorites in the portfolio. At year end, select only the top five (or ten) to save. Place in under the bed storage boxes (which can be stored anywhere in the house; perhaps the basement) labeled with the years or grades of artwork they contain.
- If your child comes home with papers that need to be read, signed, or require payment, adopt a simple “in/out box” concept straight from corporate America. Label a box (or basket or cubby or clipboard) for each family member. Store conveniently in the kitchen. Instruct children to place papers that need parents’ perusal in their box. Parents should check their boxes each evening and place completed paperwork in the appropriate child’s box for retrieval. This eliminates mad-dash mornings!
- To get your children in the habit of managing schoolwork with ease, set up a desk or workspace just for them. Stock drawers (or clear storage boxes) with basic supplies such as paper, pens, pencils, scissors, glue, Post-it notes, etc. Help younger children empty their school bags in the afternoon, and allow them to make decisions about which papers to keep and which to toss. This will get them in the habit of dealing with paperwork regularly and saving only those things that are precious to them.