On my drive to work this morning, I passed by several bus stops full of kids waiting with their backpacks and smiles – a telltale sign that it’s the first day of school. At some point, though, this first-day of school excitement does fade, which reminds me of the importance of easing the transition for kids. In order to ensure a successful transition, organization is essential. Last week, I provided tips for helping kids organize their materials and space; however, there are two other important areas of organization that must be addressed, as well: time and thoughts.
On that note, here are a variety of tips from Heather Wright, M.S. and Andrea Umbach, M.A. to help kids manage their time and their thoughts as they transition back to school:
- Set up a planner or calendar. It’s beneficial to create a family calendar, so that kids are aware of what is coming up for everyone; however, it’s also great for kids to get into the habit of keeping up with a personal planner. Everything should go into their personal planner, including academic tasks, activities, social events, to do lists, and wish lists. For best results, kids should cross out tasks when they complete them and check in with their planner multiple times a day.
- Create checklists. Websites such as www.handipoints.com and www.trackclass.com are great resources for creating lists of academic tasks, chores, and other goals, as well as incorporating rewards for when they are completed.
- Be realistic about time. Use timers and alarms to see how long it actually takes to complete tasks. Then, budget time according to the new findings, making sure to plan for the unexpected.
- Brain dump. Take 10 minutes and write down everything on your mind that you need or want to do. Be sure to use action words, such as “send,” “buy,” or “print.” Also, take some time to prioritize the list into tasks that you must do now, tasks that you should do soon, and tasks that you need to do someday.
- Break down tasks. For longer-term tasks, create an action list with the step-by-step process you are going to use. Determine how long each step will take, then start from the deadline and work backward. Set mini-deadlines and as you work, reward yourself for reaching these marks along the way.
- Have a strategy for reading. Initially read for big ideas, and then read again for details. Select only the most important information by setting a limit on the number of words/ideas to circle, highlight, or underline.
- Have a strategy for writing. Start by brainstorming ideas and afterwards, organize the information into an outline. Next, transform your outline to paragraphs by writing a first draft. Finally, revise your work to elaborate and clarify and edit to correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
- Have a strategy for math. Read the problem, identify patterns, describe the steps, work it out on paper, and then check for accuracy.
- Have a strategy for tests. Ask yourself questions like “What kind of test am I studying for?” and “Would it help me to study or practice with someone else?” to determine the best way to go about studying.
Mind Matters at Southeast Psych is a program focused on learning. Stay connected: Mind Matters Facebook | @MindMatters_SEP