Elementary school can be stressful for your little student. But it doesn't have to be. To help you organize an elementary school student, I put together my favorite tips and had my fellow Professional Organizers community share their thoughts as well. I hope it helps your child feel less stressed on their first school days.
- 1. Set up a student study area for your student.
- 2. Have a place in your student's backpack for papers to go back and forth from school.
- 3. Have a system in place to help you manage the incoming school papers.
- 4. Create a weekly paper sorter in your command station.
- Organize Elementary School Student Tips from Professional Organizers
- Great Keepsake Apps and Websites to help Organize Elementary School Students and their Parents.
1. Set up a student study area for your student.
It could be the dining room table or a table in their living room. Wherever it is, make sure to have all the school supplies they may need nearby and organized. Here is a school supplies caddy DIY project I created for my kids and have used it for years.
Visit our guest post for tips: EFFECTIVE WAYS TO OVERCOME YOUR CHILD'S STUDYING PROBLEMS by Leslie Josel from Order Out of Chaos.
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Below are some easy and affordable DIY things you can make to help your child have a well-organized study space.
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2. Have a place in your student's backpack for papers to go back and forth from school.
Sometimes the kindergarten and first-grade teachers will provide a folder. If your teacher doesn't, ensure your student knows where to put the papers for homework and communication for school. It can be a plain folder or a folder with pockets.
And, when they return home from school, having a place for their backpacks is important too. A cubby system or hooks in the closet works great for younger children.
3. Have a system in place to help you manage the incoming school papers.
This could be a filing cabinet or just a portable accordion folder. Click on the image below to see my paper filing system.
4. Create a weekly paper sorter in your command station.
This would be a place for weekly paperwork that needs to be taken to school or in a backpack. I created a few of these current weekly organizers. You can check them out to see if they work for you. Click below to see how I made this DIY weekly paper sorter that can be easily made.
Here's another weekly paper sorter I created out of large wood clothespins.
Check out a command station DIY idea: HOW TO MAKE A DIY COMMAND STATION MAGNET BOARD
Not only do you have to organize the papers at home, but you need to instill good habits with your elementary school kids now while they are still learning how to manage their time and stuff. Below, other Professional Organizers and I are sharing our favorite tips for organizing elementary school students.
Organize Elementary School Student Tips from Professional Organizers
The first tip is from Linda Clevenger.
"This is probably not your typical tip - but I feel that being an organized parent is one of the best lessons that we can teach our children. Elementary are students are totally impressionable and will follow our lead in the areas of time/schedule management. Some of the things we put into place when she went off to Kindergarten were - Consistency in storing: backpacks, shoes, jackets, and lunch boxes every day. Creating routines will save everyone time, frustration, and stress. And, it helps create organizational habits at a young age." ~Linda Clevenger from Organization Direct
This tip is from Daria Harvey.
"Have a homework caddy and school supplies at the ready wherever your child does homework. Mine worked at the kitchen table, so I had a three-drawer Sterilite organizer in my pantry for paper, scissors, pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons, index cards, etc. It saves time and stresses not having to search for what they need to do their homework and projects. I'd also say it's so handy to have a place in the refrigerator and in the pantry for kid snacks and lunch items. This way, they can help prepare their own lunches. Teaching independence is so important." ~ Daria Harvey
The third tip is from Jonda Beattie.
"Always keep graded school work until the end of each grading period. If there is a question about a grade, you have something to carry into the conference. At the end of each grading period, cull most of the work keeping only the best." ~ Jonda Beattie from Time Space Organization
And the last organize elementary school student tip is from Liana George
"Create a landing pad near your main entry/exit door for backpacks, shoes, lunch boxes, and other activity-related items. This way, everyone will know where things are, and they won’t be searching around the house looking for lost or misplaced items. Near your landing pad, have a master checklist for the kids to check before leaving each day. The list can include: Do you have your homework, signed papers, lunchbox, lunch money, after-school activity/necessities, keys, gym clothes, band instruments?" ~ Liana George
Feel free to share the images above to share these great tips!
There are so many things that come about during the school year that you may want to keep; We are sharing a few apps to stay organized with all those keepsake items.
Visit our back-to-school student challenge for a compressive step-by-step guide to get your child organized.
Great Keepsake Apps and Websites to help Organize Elementary School Students and their Parents.
Below are two apps to help you organize your students' memories:
Cool Product - Artkive App post by Stacey Agin Murray - A really neat app to help you manage all your elementary school student's artwork. See how Stacey used it.
Review of Keepy App To Organize Kids Momentos by Sabrina Quairoli - This app gives you different opportunities to keep your kids stuff. See how I used it.
I hope this post helps you and your children stay organized this school year.
Do you have any tips you want to share? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Labeling made fun! The website below, Mabel's Labels, customizes labels to help them look cute, are affordable, and help your kids enjoy labeling their own stuff. (affiliate)
Below are Amazon (affiliate) links. If you click through and buy something on Amazon, I will receive a small referral fee at no cost to you! Happy shopping!
Great variety of tips for returning to school. Thanks for sharing.
This is a great way to start the school year. My friend sent me a "first day of school" photo of her boys (one in middle school, one in pre-K) this morning, and it called to mind all of the advice you covered.
The one additional suggestion I'd make: that place in the backpack for sending documents back and forth to school? Make it a poly envelope rather than a paper folder or envelope. Kids are rough on their stuff, and thermoses (and all sorts of other things) spill and tear and tumble. Poly envelopes can keep the paper protected until it gets where its going.
Great idea, Julie! Poly envelopes also work great for high school students who need to manage assignments. They are super hard on paper too.
I like the idea of setting up a study area in the dining room. Kids often don't want to work in their bedrooms but be out where everything is going on, and that's a happy medium between isolation and doing homework in front of the TV.
Great tips as always! Starting them off organized (and having them be a part of the process) in elementary school helps create good life long habits for school organization. Students that don't learn these skills really start to struggle when they get to late middle school and high school so it's definitely best to start young! 🙂
I agree, Laura. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. =)
Diane N Quintana
These are fabulous tips. My favorite is having a place in the backpack for papers to come home or to return to school. So often they are a crumpled mess at the bottom of the bag. When I taught Kindergarten I gave each child a folder with two pockets. Early in the school year we put the papers to go home into the folder together as a group so that children who needed help with this skill received it.
Thanks for commenting, Diane! I love that my child had teachers like you. At that age, organizing skills are primarily taught by doing, not telling.
Today is the first day of school in my town. Definitely time to read this and get organized.
I have noticed that fewer papers are going back and forth than used to be common when my children are little. Now they all have teacher website and so much is online. I'm not sure this is a good thing, but it is happening.
At least in elementary school you still do get artwork, maps to color in, math worksheets, etc. I liked seeing the paper each day because it gave me a chance to see what my kids had been working on.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Seana. I agree that having the paperwork and other things come home during elementary school does help parents understand how the child is doing and what they are learning so the parent can easily install these skills throughout the rest of the week.
I also don't know if having the child's teacher share content on a website benefits the child or the parent. I know many parents who never visited their child's teacher's page, and when there is a problem, the parent scramble for help.