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How can I help dd be more organised?

(19 Posts)
Noitsnotteatimeyet Sun 08-May-16 20:08:06

Dd is in Y8 at an academically selective school. She's doing really well as she's bright, conscientious and well-behaved.

However she's always been a bit scatty and her lack of organisation is now starting to become more of a problem and I can see that getting worse as she gets older. At the moment she wants to be a vet and she's also busy with drama, riding, swimming and volunteering at the stables every Saturday

Last weekend she realised too late that she'd forgot to bring her English book home - and she had an essay due on Tuesday. Her teacher kindly gave her an extension until tomorrow but I've just gone to see how she's getting on and she's very stressed as she forgot to bring her notes home hmm

She's thrown up her hands and said she 'just won't remember' to check her homework diary so it's pointless suggesting that confused.

I'd love to hear about anything which has helped your scatty DC sort themselves out ... Thanks

littledrummergirl Sun 08-May-16 22:38:51

My dc have a box that all current school stuff goes in. I advised them that they should not leave anything in lockers overnight, it comes home and goes into the box just in case they needed it. This seems to be working very well with mine as we haven't had to play hunt the homework unlike me at school.

Wolfiefan Sun 08-May-16 22:40:36

She either needs to learn to use the HW diary properly or start getting detentions. Sorry.
She should also be doing HW the day she gets it so anything missing isn't going to stop her meeting the deadline.

SavoyCabbage Sun 08-May-16 22:51:35

Mine also has a box. A4 size about 3cm thick. It stays in her bag. She doesn't have a locker so she can't leave anything at school.

Every morning she puts the books or whatever she needs in her bag. She it terribly disorganised generally but she does not want to get into trouble at school so her motivation for getting on top of this is high.

She has to wash her pe kit twice a week so I Told her she had to put it in the machine and start it off before she takes her shoes off or does anything else.

notagiraffe Mon 09-May-16 07:39:05


We got strong zipper files (Snopak do them) for every subject. Quite expensive, as they cost about £4 each and you need about 15 of them, but worth while. We put all notes, text and exercise books for each subject into them and DS2 (who is super scatterbrained) brings everything home every night. It means he lugs his text books round with him more often than his friends do, but it works. He rarely forgets anything now.
His weekly schedule is on the kitchen wall, and we've added what homework subjects he has each night, and also which day they need to be handed in, along with when he needs PE/Sports kit and any extra curricular things (like instrument or music.)
Every night he empties his bag and all his zipper files go into a big plastic crate. Then he has a break, has dinner and then does his homework afterwards. His files for next day go in his bag along with any files that have homework that needs handing in.

If that sounds like a faff, it actually takes no more than 5 mins a day to organise and is far less stressful than charging round the house trying to find stuff. The only downside is his bag is heavier (e.g. if he has to hand in one piece of paper for biology on a day he doesn't have biology, he insists on taking the entire file with him. But that's the system that ensures he doesn't forget.)

Also, he has a network of friends, and if they have forgotten to write down the homework they can email each other and help each other out.
Ask the teachers for permission for her to photograph any homework that's written on the board on her phone so she has a record of it.

We also got valet stands from IKEA to lay out all clothes for next day in advance. It all helps mornings go without stress, which is so important for scatterbrained children as they do get stressed very easily.

And we do a five minute tidy up your room on Saturdays. Sounds like nothing. But just transferring all clothes from floordrobe to dirty washing and straightening your desk makes a massive difference.

notagiraffe Mon 09-May-16 07:42:32

It's brilliant that you're helping her. Scatterbrained children can't get organised by themselves. It is a neurological issue like ASD or dyslexia. They need someone else working closely with them to set up fool proof routines. Once established, they are OK.

Cleo1303 Mon 09-May-16 11:33:13

You have saved me a post, notagiraffe!!!!!! We have the same routine and DD does not want homework detentions. I swear by the plastic crate. If I find any schoolbooks lying around they all go straight in there.

My main nightmare is getting her to look after her games kit at school. If anyone has any bright ideas on that I'd be grateful. It was much easier at her prep school because they would let parents wander in and have a look for missing items, but not at senior school.

bojorojo Mon 09-May-16 12:36:18

How does a crate work if the child leaves books at school that are needed for homework? Folders are not much use if they are empty because the book has been forgotten.

I would reinforce the homework schedule every day and I do think children learn by not wanting to be the one who has not done the homework and the organisation kicks in eventually. If parents are continually hunting for clothes and homework items at secondary age (nearly y9) then why would a child bother to be organised? Someone else is always there to sort it out for them. You can only try to reinforce the routine from home, but if they leave things in school then it is down to them to deal with the consequences.

PE kit often gets "borrowed" in secondary school. Someone forgets something and takes the PE item from the kit nearby. It happens all the time (a giant swap around of kit) so it maybe that your child is not losing items in the conventional way. Sometimes children take items and hide them because theythink it is funny. My DD's outdoor coat (cloak) went awol for 3 weeks. It was eventually found behind a piano in a practice room.

EarthboundMisfit Mon 09-May-16 12:39:58

I used to write reminders on my hand! I've got better as I've aged...

notagiraffe Mon 09-May-16 13:59:46

Bojo you fill up the folders at the start of term. Everything from that subject goes in the folder as soon as it comes home and it never leaves the folder except when it's used in class, in homework or handed in for marking. Nothing ever stays at school. It's a system that needs a big, strong school bag but the weight of carrying all the folders is off set by the lack of stress.

bojorojo Mon 09-May-16 17:49:11

It is still up to the child to remember to put the books/work back in the folder in class. I can see folders for each class/subject could work but not all schools have children dragging rucksacks around all day. Lots of schools have lockers. In fact my DDs had a workstation as their space in school. Most teachers will tell you that books are left on desks, inside lockers (where they are provided), on the teacher's desk because the book is not picked up after marking, and find their way into other pupils book bags. Any system is only as good as the pupil that operates it. Just getting better at remembering is the best in the long run.

smellylittleorange Mon 09-May-16 21:45:04

I think it is really important to help them self develop a bit- it is almost like learning a skill. DD kept forgetting stuff so she chooses to lug it all with her all day (some schools do not allow this) she has a lever arch folder and hole punched envelope wallets for main subjects, voice lessons plus extras. I encourage her to pack her bag every night - make sure her dinner pass and train pass are in her pocket - she does that by herself now. Still bad at remembering to do bits of homework until 9 o clock the night before but getting better. I do remind her every now and then that missed homework = detentions and that puts the wind of god up her . Studyblr's posts on Tumblr and showing her those and talking about routines seems to help inspire her to be more organised..they have to want to be organised and that is half the battle. I have stopped being a helicopter Mum this term and taken a massive step back - I o check from time to time e.g "what is your homework plan for this week - when are you doing it blah blah but she needs to develop her own techniques and me not get stressed at her so much.
Also I do find when DD gets particularly scatty cutting down on sugary stuff, making sure she is drinking loads of water and taking her vits +omega seems to help. Some of this may work or not for others but touch wood seems to be working in our household at moment.

smellylittleorange Mon 09-May-16 21:50:26

Just a thought - any of these free printables worth a shot ? Daily to do list before starting homework? Weekly planner? Assignment Planner - I find it easier if I have something visible on my desk

notagiraffe Mon 09-May-16 23:13:11

Bojo my DS has a locker. He never uses it. His only places for school text books and work are in his bag or in the crate at home, unless he is using the file in class or for homework. It was a system suggested for and tested out as workable by dyspraxics who often have severe organisational problems too and it works. You can argue about why it shouldn't work, but it does.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Tue 10-May-16 06:48:58

Thanks for all the suggestions- I'll go through them with dd today and we'll see what she thinks will work for her

t875 Tue 10-May-16 19:41:28

Following this! Some good suggestions here!!

We have wonder list app which works well
But we still have g up to get her organised. Drives you mad!!

Lollylovesbones Tue 10-May-16 19:56:55

Can she use the calendar on her phone & set reminders. If they're allowed to use phones in school she could also photograph the homework assignments

Noitsnotteatimeyet Wed 11-May-16 06:22:16

Unfortunately (fortunately?) phones have to be left in lockers at school so phone-based suggestions are out I'm afraid. Unlike most of the other girls in the year she's not glued to her phone and frequently forgets to turn it back on at the end of school..

BoboChic Wed 11-May-16 10:15:09

I would choose one of two options in the circumstances described by the OP:

- be my DC's PA and adopt a strategy where you do a lot of questioning and reminding about her commitments,mseveral times a day, so that the chances of anything slipping are much reduced

- reduce my DC's extra-curricular activities to free up mind space for school, telling her that she can take up her EC again once she has gained control over her school work

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