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Spring Cleaning & Your Complex Learner

3 Areas To Organize To Set You & Your Child Up For Success

Spring is in the air and so is your desire to open the windows, tidy up, and get organized! This time of year, as we begin venturing outside of our homes, and into the warm weather, it’s typical to want to freshen up our lives through organizing, decluttering, and cleaning. But how can you involve your Complex Learner in this year’s spring cleaning?

By nature, Complex Learners often struggle to get and stay organized. Due to their multiple learning differences, Complex Learners often don’t know how to get started with organizing and their struggles with working memory make it even more difficult. While you should never expect a complete 180 from your child, there are ways you can help integrate more organization into your child’s life. Read on for 3 areas to focus on that can help set your child up for success!

1. Backpack Spring Cleaning

What better place to jump into spring cleaning than the very bane of your existence – your child’s backpack. Filled with crumpled papers, granola crumbs, a sandwich bag filled with what looks like a science experiment now, slime, and things you don’t even recognize, your child’s backpack is often their lifeline to school. It holds important reminders, it transports their homework and assignments, and it contains all they need to be successful in school. Because of this, it can be incredibly helpful to help transform this mess into a masterpiece.

To begin your organization, do a deep clean of your child’s backpack with your child. Involve them in the process and make it fun with music and snacks. Once it’s officially clean, go out and purchase supplies together and talk about a new system. Coordinating colors with folders and notebooks can be very helpful in keeping your child on track and organized – a blue folder and blue notebook both labeled “Math” easily provides the visual cue your child may need to remember this is where all math assignments go. A red folder clearly labeled “Forms and Reminders” can help save you from searching for that permission slip on the day of the field trip.

Once you have a system in place, set up a weekly time to clean out your child’s backpack together. If your child is older, trust them with the process to grow their skills and independence but be sure to provide clear instructions and a visual reminder of what an organized backpack looks like, and double-check their work when complete.

2. Homework Station

Getting your Complex Learner to start their homework can be enough of a challenge but it can be even more frustrating to have to come over to help them find supplies or redirect them every 5 minutes. That’s where a dedicated homework station comes in handy!

Find a designated space in your house to make your child’s spot for homework. This should be away from distractions like the noisy bustling kitchen, their video games, or the television but in a spot where you can check in on them if needed. Now that you have the spot, it’s time to organize it. Set up your child for success by having all of the necessary supplies at their fingertips – pens, pencils, rulers, poster board, scissors, everything they might need! Using trays, help your child organize their assignments into “To Do Today,” “Upcoming Projects,” “Study Materials,” or any other helpful categories. Equip the desk with a whiteboard so each afternoon, you and your child can write down their homework plan and they can check off each item as it’s completed. 

3. Morning Launch Area

Between making breakfast, packing lunches, making sure everyone actually brushes their teeth, and running late – mornings can often be the most hectic time of the day for many families. Our last spring cleaning organizational recommendation can hopefully help ease the madness of the morning.

Create and organize a morning launch area. This is a designated spot in your home that you’ll use to house everything you need to grab in the morning before you head out the door. With name tags and labels, you can create a designated spot for your child’s backpack, sports equipment, shoes, jacket, headphones and tablet, and anything else they need during the day. Each night, build it into your nightly routine to get this all set up. This way you’re not scrambling to find that poster board right before you head out the door.

Another great addition to this area would be a family calendar. Here you can write down what each day of the week has in store for you and your child. This can be incredibly helpful the night before as you’re setting out all of your supplies as a nice reminder that tomorrow it’s hockey practice so it’s time to set up that equipment!

Getting organized and staying organized are two separate things entirely and both can be challenging – especially for Complex Learners. But with a solid plan in place and some patience, you can help add some organization to your lives! What tips do you have to help Complex Learners stay organized? Share them in the comment section below!

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