Papers, papers, crunched, crumpled, ripped and torn all lost in the bottom of your child’s backpack. Missing books, lost homework assignments, pens & pencils everywhere. When you ask for the school field trip form to sign, it can’t be found anywhere. Does this happen at your house, too? With the start of school, it’s a great time to start a system focusing on how to keep your child’s backpack organized.
Keeping your child’s backpack organized is a challenge for moms. Some kids will always want a neat and organized backpack, while others will just throw everything in the bag and hope they can find what they need later, then we have tears when a very important paper is lost (this seems to be my kids).
As your children get older into middle school and high school, it’s important to start teaching them personal organization skills (life skills they will need in college and in life). Our soon to be adults need basic skills that will help them to start becoming independent. Organizing their school work, papers, and books is a great place to start.
5 Tips & Tricks to Keep Your Child’s Backpack Organized
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Choose the Right Backpack
Starting with the right backpack/book bag will make all difference if you want to keep your child’s backpack organized. When selecting a backpack or book bag, consider your child’s needs including their grade and organization skills. Elementary students may only need a few pockets and have limited organization needs, but older students will likely stay organized with more pockets and compartments that allow space to organize books, papers, and reports.
My son, who is starting middle school this year, choose a great backpack for organization. It has several large pockets and compartments which allow him to keep books, papers and supplies organized.
Middle school or high school students need to carry books and papers with them during the day. A backpack with more pockets and compartments will help them stay organized. One easy system could be to use one pocket for specific books (like math and English) and another one pocket for other subjects (like history and art).
Even a few pockets and separators can be helpful. One key to being organized is having a place for everything in your backpack and knowing where you can find it when you need it.
For younger kids, a simple plastic pocket folder is usually perfect for nightly homework and notes to the teacher.
How often do your kids have lost papers in their backpacks? It’s so frustrating for you and your child when their homework is “lost” that you know was completed. Of course, you find it a few days later crammed and crumpled in the bottom of their backpack.
One easy way to keep papers organized inside your child’s backpack is to use a simple accordian type folder. With the accordian folder, you can create a tab for each teacher or each class. When a new assignment is given, the paper is placed in the correct tab to be taken home and completed. Once homework and assignments are done, they are saved into the accordian folder to go back to school. If papers and homework are saved when they are completed, you should not have many lost papers.
If your child needs to carry extra writing paper, you can either use one of the tabs in the accordian folder or use a 3-ring binder. It’s a good idea to keep extra paper separate from assignments, so completed assignments don’t get mixed in with blank paper.
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Organizing Pens & Pencils
The best way to keep pens & pencils organized is to use a medium sized pencil bag. I suggest the soft cloth pencil case (not the hard plastic type) to keep in backpacks. The soft cloth pencil cases are flexible and easier to move around as needed.
If your backpack or bookbag has a small pocket, you could keep all your pens and pencil in this pocket. But, if your child needs to be able to use multiple color pens and pens, it may be easier to use the pencil case that can be taken out.
Books are heavy and take up the most space in your child’s backpack each day. But isn’t amazing how frequently books are lost in the backpack? To keep books organized and easy to find, help your child assign pockets or compartments for each book. Maybe the math and English books go in one pocket and history and science go in another pocket. I suggest keeping books separated from papers and other supplies like pens and pencils.
If your child’s backpack is mostly a large open bag (no pockets or compartments), you can still stay organized with the accordion folder and 3-ring binder.
Organizing Planners and More…
A personal student planner is a perfect tool to keep your child organized. If your school does not provide planners, I would purchase one for your kids. A student planner will help your child know their assignments, remember due dates, and start taking responsibility for their assignments.
Just like all your other supplies, the student planner should have a set place in the backpack. You want to be able to grab it quickly and easily when you need it.
Your child may have other supplies they need for school like rulers, compasses, and calculators. Keep these items organized by designating a pocket or place in the backpack so they can be found when needed.
Don’t forget to use the clips and hooks on the outside of many backpacks that can be used to attach lunchboxes or small items. Keeping lunchboxes attached to backpacks and bookbags is an easy way to keep lunchboxes from getting lost or forgotten at the end of the day.
To keep your child’s backpack organized, encourage them to choose a backpack designed for organization (one with pockets, zippers, etc…) Then, add the tools they need to stay organized like accordian folders, 3-ring binders, and pencil cases. Teach them not to just toss books, papers, pens, and pencils in their backpack. Encourage your kids to learn how much easier school can be when papers and books are organized and not lost.
How do you keep your child’s backpack organized? Share your tips in the comments.