Managing Your Belongings
Many children and young people have difficulty with planning everyday tasks, particularly with time management and general organisation. Sometimes simple, straightforward ideas can help make life easier at home and school. It is important to plan ahead and try not to leave things until the last minute e.g. prepare work, pack your bag and lay out clothes the night before.
Timetable Hints and Tips
For Younger Children
- It may be beneficial to place homework items into a central wallet/poly pocket and encourage them to check this is in their bag the night before school.
- You could make a timetable detailing PE days for children and encourage them to check this the night before school and support them to pack this into their bag. Alternatively a visually planner may be simpler for a child to understand and follow i.e. Monday and attach a picture of shorts and t-shirt to symbolise a PE day etc.
For Secondary Aged Children
- Encourage your child to programme the times of lessons and subjects into their diary/mobile phones to prompt them about where they should be and when.
- Create a colour coded timetable. Leaving one at home and taking one to school. Encourage them to check this regularly.
- Colour code books to correspond with colour coded timetable.
Packing your School Bag Hints and Tips
- Ensure your child does not carry excess items daily to school as this can result in this being even harder for your child to organise their work and your child carrying a heavy load around on their back daily and can result in back pain.
- The bag should be big enough to accommodate school equipment and should be worn over two shoulders to ensure the load is carried evenly and does not affect the child’s posture.
- Always plan ahead and pack your bag the night before.
- Use a checklist to support you to pack your school bag and pencil case (see below). If you want to try using them you can laminate the checklist, then using a wipeable marker you can tick off items as you pack them, or complete tasks.
- If you find it difficult to remember to pack all of your equipment at the end of each lesson or just need a reminder of what to pack into your bag generally, you could try using a visual key fob reminder. The pictures are laminated then placed on a key ring, which can then be attached to your school bag. You don’t have to use photographs; you can use printed words if you prefer. See below for some photographs you can use if you want.
- Alternatively use large visual planner.
- Utilise sections of bag as appropriate e.g. Keys and money in front pocket etc.
- Use PE checklist on gym days (see below).
- At home use a plastic box and suspension files with all items required for each subject. If you place a zip up folder in each section all you have to do is lift the folder when packing your bag.
- If lockers are available encourage the child to use one and remind them to swap items at break and lunchtimes.
- Consider placement of this locker - lockers at the end of a row may be easier.
- Understand the reason for losing keys - this is not usually intentional.
- Encourage the child to only have items required on desk.
- If a child has difficulty concentrating and can’t focus on work you might like to consider a quiet work station.
If you have difficulty concentrating, can’t focus on your work, and need a quiet, clutter free place to work, you might like to think about setting up a work station, either in school, at home, or both.
What is a workstation?
A workstation is a small area where you can work with as little distraction as possible.
A table can be placed facing a blank wall and screened off from the rest of the room. There should be nothing on the table or the walls (but you may like to have a visual planner or ‘to do’ list, so that you know which tasks have to be completed?).
If possible, it is usually better to place the station away from windows and doors where there are more distractions. Any necessary equipment should be accessible but not on or under the desk. You can see from the picture above, that this station has trays placed to the side. The trays can then be colour coded. It can be helpful to have 1 tray to store work which has to be done, and a tray where you can store work when it has been completed.
It is always worth remembering that a distraction free space is often calming and can make it easier to concentrate.
Children with Autism
A child with Autism may become anxious in a classroom designed to be stimulating to other children. People with autism often have some differences/difficulties with sensory processing. For some people with autism this can mean that colours, patterns, words, noises, textures etc. can be so distracting for them that they are completely unable to focus on anything else.
Being asked to listen, focus and attend when they are so distracted can be very anxiety provoking. This anxiety only increases the inability to work effectively and may result in challenging behaviour.
People with autism have found that having the opportunity to use a quiet workstation in a room can alleviate some of the difficulties described above and enable them to be more effective learners.
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Much of the above is also true for children with ADHD.
Pictures for Key Ring Reminder
Pencil Case Homework Lunch Box
Money PE Kit Planner / Diary
Exercise Books Jacket Jumper
Drink Snack Letters