Back-to-School Countdown Day 13: Teaching Kids The Planner Habit

planners for kids

Teachers, parents and homeschool families know that training kids to the planner habit makes for successful students.

School districts throughout the USA issue planners to pupils and integrate planner use into the school day. Homeschool families use planners to track and organize lessons, chores and activities, while tech-savvy teens rely on smartphone calendar and to-do apps to organize their work.

A student planner is only a tool. How do you teach a child to use one? Try these tips to teach kids the planner habit.

The Right Stuff

Match the planner to the child. The most costly leather-bound business planner won't organize a single day if the kid never cracks the cover! The best student planners are streamlined, colorful, and designed with children in mind.

When selecting a student planner, look for ease of use and durability. Sturdy plastic covers, snap-on page finders and flat-fold spiral binding help young users get comfortable with this time-management tool.

Built-in paper pockets help organize homework, permission slips and school notices. Because children often carry their world in a backpack, consider weight and size when selecting a student planner.

Master The Art

You can't teach what you have yet to learn!

Review the principles of planner use (see Tap the Power of Planners) before teaching your child.

Here are the basics that any planner user must master:

  • Enter all dates, assignments and activities in a single planner
  • Keep your planner with you at all times
  • Check your planner at regular times to orient your day
  • Prioritize tasks and carry them forward if undone

Get The Teacher On The Team

Most teachers are delighted with any method that improves home-school cooperation and student organization.

Tip off your child's teachers that you're teaching new time management skills, and enlist their help as your child learns the ropes of planner use.

They can help reinforce the planner habit in the classroom.

Start Slowly

Tempting as it is to lay down the organizational law and demand whole-child change along with a new student planner, resist the idea. Too often, that "new leaf" will last only as long as an adult enforces it. The minute the adult attention wanes, the child lapses back into relaxed disorganization with a sigh of relief.

Independent planner use is a habit, and like all habits, must be established over time.

Begin with a single planner function: writing down homework each day, or checking a daily chore list. It will take three to four weeks of daily reinforcement to build this habit.

When the first step is a regular part of the child's day, move on to a new facet of planner use.