Whether your child is just starting middle school or is almost ready to graduate, keeping up with all the homework, projects, after-school activities, and other responsibilities can be a challenge. A little guidance can go a long way to helping them start the year on the right foot. Help your teens get organized for school with these simple tips. Plus, download a free printable student planner.
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When my oldest child graduated from elementary to middle school in the 6th grade, it was a completely new game. Suddenly teachers expected the students to be organized all on their own. There were no notes home to parents, no folders or planners to sign each week, and an even bigger homework load.
Organizing is tough for kids – and plenty of adults too. After all those elementary years with lots of help and supervision, middle school can feel like a lot of work. Here are ten things that we did together to get organized.
Teen organization tips for school
1. Do a back-to-school purge.
If your kids are like mine, their rooms have more or less disappeared under a giant pile of stuff over the summer. Encourage them to start off organized by cleaning up. Get rid of clutter and trash. Donate clothes and toys that they’ve outgrown.
Don’t forget to go through other areas of the house. Check the kitchen for lunch box essentials. Organize the entryway and set up a command center.
2. Designate a homework space.
If your child has done homework at the dining table through elementary, now is the time to put a desk in their bedroom if you have space. Keep it small so it doesn’t become a landing pad for everything under the sun.
3. Shop for supplies together.
Your child may or may not still have a school supplies list. Either way, use whatever flexibility you have to let them pick supplies that are fun. Your teen isn’t going to keep up with or use stuff they don’t like.
4. Stock up on extras.
Make sure you buy some extra basic supplies like pencils and notebook paper so that they don’t need to drag everything home from school daily. You might also want to take advantage of back-to-school sales to get things you know your child will need later on in the school year, like index cards.
5. Invest in a good quality backpack.
My kids’ backpacks are both a giant bottomless pit. They don’t always have a locker, so carrying everything is essential. When we went with a cheap bag, it bag ripped before the school year was out. The next year I bought a stylish but sturdy rolling backpack. Do check with your school, though, because some don’t allow rolling backpacks.
6. Keep a family calendar.
My mantra has become “If it’s not on the family calendar, it’s not happening.” I hung a calendar on the wall by the front door. Everyone writes their events, meetings, etc. on the calendar in their specific color so anyone can see at a glance what is coming up.
7. Do a closet makeover.
My kids will still wear uniforms through middle school but have a more flexible dress code in high school. I’m working on teaching them how to identify what’s too small, has too many holes, or doesn’t fit anymore.
A few simple organization tools like over-the-door organizers and wall hooks will keep some of the clothes off the floor.
8. Get a full-length mirror.
This goes along with the closet makeover, but if your house doesn’t have a full-length mirror somewhere, pick up an inexpensive over-the-door mirror. It can go in the closet, a shared bathroom, or wherever. This is a handy way for everyone to make sure their appearance is neat and organized.
9. Don’t ditch the checklists, yet.
My kids get really annoyed that I still ask them whether they’ve brushed their teeth and put on deodorant. Very often, though, the answer is no. Use whatever method works best to remind your teen about the hygiene tasks they need to do daily.
A plastic shower tote with all the essential hygiene products is handy, especially if you have more than one teen.
10. Get a student planner.
There are a lot of options for planners out there, so it might take some trial-and-error before you find one that your teen will actually use. I made a simple one for teaching my kids how to keep up with schedules, homework, and projects. Learning to plan ahead is hard.
Printable student planner
It’s pretty simple but includes three pages:
- monthly calendar
- and weekly planner.
The details are blank, so you can print as many or few as you need and fill in the month/date/time spaces to use all year long.
You may need to allow popups or give permission to download. See Printables Troubleshooting and FAQ for help. If you want to save this for later, please pin an image from this blog post instead of saving the direct link to the PDF.
Getting organized for school isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. It takes some practice for them to learn the right skills and reminders here and there are still important. And since my kids are at the young end of the teen category, I’m sure it will take some time for me to learn a few things too.
If you found this post helpful, you might also like:
- Printable Binder Cover Coloring Page
- Easy Tassel Paperclip Bookmarks and Planner Clips
- How to Survive Middle School: Tips for a New School Year
Looking for a more detailed student planner? I’ve got my yearly planner and student add-on pages in the Keri Houchin Design shop.