Parenting a middle school student isn’t for the faint of heart. The emotions, the hormones, the smells… oh yeah, the smells. I have graduated one out of the middle school years but I have three more to go! Pray for me.
If you happen to be blessed with a pre-teen or almost teen boy, then you know that being neat and organized isn’t exactly their forte. Unless of course you consider the laundry piled neatly in the corner of their closet “organized” Or the hidden candy wrappers placed inconspicuously behind books as “neat”
And hey, if you do- that’s okay, no judgement here.
The point is, it doesn’t always come natural to them to get organized. If you are looking for ways to guide your middle school to a more organized life, let me help.
Middle School Students need their own place
Your middle school student needs a place to keep all their school work. Ideally this would all be kept in one place. Maybe they have a desk, table, or a bookshelf. At our house each of my children have a bin for their individual books and notebooks as well as a shelf where we keep the textbooks and videos we use.
Middle School Students need their own planner or calendar
Our students are more than capable of taking over their daily or even weekly schedule. Let them be responsible every week for putting in their assignments and adding their commitments. This will give them an idea of what they need to accomplish and a realistic goal of what they can feasibly get done within the week. Don’t forget to schedule all church activities, sports practices games, volunteer commitments, club meetings and chores. After a few weeks of doing this, they will be able to determine on their own if they have time to hang out with their friends or watch that movie they wanted to see.
Need a simple weekly planner try this one
Middle School Students need a system for keeping up with their school work
This can be done with a notebook for every subject or even a file folder system, but at our house I like it all nice and tidy in one three ring binder. Every year I purchase a not so cheap big binder for every kid and we set it up by printing out a nice front cover with their name on it, and we put in tabs for each subject. Throughout the year we hole punch our work and store it behind the folders. I love the pocket folders with tabs, this allows me to add work to their folders or it’s a place to store graded work. Their calendar is kept at the front of the notebook so that it all stays in one place.
Give Your Middle School Student a well equipped study area
Kids have procrastination down to an art. My kids can spend 30 minutes looking for just the right pencil or pen. Make sure they have enough sharpened pencils, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, paper and whatever else they may need so that they can get right to work. We keep a desk caddy in our school area with all of our supplies. I also have a zippered pencil case in their student binders with pencils, pens and a pair of scissors. I try to take the no excuse approach to getting started with school.
Teach Your Middle School Student to prepare and look ahead
This is a perfect way to use that calendar. Each night before they go to bed, have them look at what is on their calendar for the next day. Do they have somewhere to be first thing in the morning? Have them ask themselves what they can be doing tonight to set themselves up for success the following day. I do this with my family every Saturday night. Let’s figure out what we are wearing to church, what we need to take, and what lunch will be when we get home. This takes the stress out of the rush of Sunday mornings. If we can get our children in the habit of doing this every night before bed they will begin to see the value of being prepared.
Make Your Middle School student responsible for their own schedule and planning
Do they have a youth activity coming up? Did they plan ahead to make sure that they had transportation? Do they have a big school project that they need to prepare for? Did they make a list of needed supplies and plan enough time to purchase them? Don’t bail them out every time they fail to plan. Once you have given them the tools to be successful and shown them how to use them, give them the responsibility as well. If it means missing out a few times or getting a poor grade, they will quickly learn the power of planning.
Help them get organized for outside activities
Spend some time thinking through all the places that your child goes throughout the week. Do they participate in a co-op and use a backpack? Do they play sports? Help them get organized by giving them a place to store all the items they need. Stock their backpack, bags or purses with things they need to be successful. If you have student that is always forgetting something, laminate a note card with a list of what they need and put it on a ring in their bag. Have a designated place where their items always go so that there are no excuses for why they can’t find something.
If you have a child who is having a really hard time pulling it all together, help get them started and be sure to keep them accountable. You may need to check in on them every day, or every other day until the routine sets in and they are able to do it on their own.