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Organization is one of the keys to academic success. Being organized makes learning more efficient and reduces stress and anxiety. A student who knows he’s put in the right amount of time and used it well is a student who is confident when it’s time to turn in a paper, take a test or give a presentation.The good news is your child can learn these skills, and you can help.

“Mom, have you seen my [fill in the blank]”?

If your child can’t keep track of his homework papers, help him develop a system. Purchase a binder and put a folder in the front for completed work to be turned in and a folder in the back for papers returned by the teacher. Or work with him to develop a system of his own to keep track of important papers. Then check in regularly with him to make sure he’s following through on all the steps. (The same goes for sweatshirts, calculators, bus passes, house keys, and other items that tend to go astray: Teach your child to put them back in the same place every single time he uses them, and he’ll always know where to find them.)

“Yikes, it’s due today!”

Make sure your student uses a planner to keep track of homework assignments. Typically, this is a calendar in notebook-form with space for writing upcoming assignments, and some schools provide them to students. If yours doesn’t, you can find them in any store that sells office supplies. Help your child get in the habit of writing down each daily assignment in each subject and checking it off when it’s complete. She should refer to her planner regularly, so that she knows what’s coming up. It may take her awhile to learn a system that works for her, so be patient and offer lots of positive reinforcement.

“I don’t know where to start!”

Time-management skills are part of the curriculum beginning in fifth grade and your child will likely need help from you to make them a habit. Large projects can be stressful for kids, especially if they haven’t done them before. Your child will need help the first few times as she learns how to break a big assignment down into manageable parts. Teach her to divide up her work over the number of days allotted for an assignment. This will create small, manageable sub-tasks out of the bigger, more daunting tasks. Stay calm and be encouraging, and she’ll get the message that she can do it!

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