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How to help your child pack their school bag

As children grow older, they must take increased responsibility for their belongings. They need to forward plan for their school day, and use strategies to remember to pack their belongings at the end of a lesson/day. Secondary school children must also consider time needed to complete their homework.

Below you’ll find strategies to help support these skills. Talk to your child and see if they can think of any new strategies that may also help them.

School bag packing strategies

Make your child’s timetable clearly visible

Put copies of your child’s timetable in a visible spot at home. Make copies for their school bag or locker.

Encourage your child to empty their school bag

Do this at the end of each day and have a storage system to put items away. Encourage your child to pack their school bag the evening before going to school so they do not forget items in the morning rush.

Use a colour coding system

For example, for different subjects. You could label English in blue so that your child:

  • covers all their English books in blue
  • writes English in blue on their timetable
  • has a blue box to put their books away when they’re not needed.

Use their timetable to pack items they need

Encourage your child to use their school timetable to consider what they need to take to school for their lessons. For example, when to take sports kit, library books and musical instruments. Yu could add notes or symbols to the timetable to remind them.

Use a checklist

Tick off each item before leaving they house, for example, PE kit, guitar, English book. The checklist could list the items or include visuals as reminders.

Consider the type of school bag

Pockets can be useful for organisation but too many can be confusing. Make sure the bag has a consistent pocket or purse to hold emergency money for travel or food, contact numbers and a secure place for house keys if necessary.

Download our school bag packing tips

We have created some tips and checklists for your child. Download and print a copy of our ‘packing my school bag tips’  and give it to your child.

Planning a morning and evening routine

Create a laminated visual timetable with your child, listing all of the things they must do as part of their morning and/or evening routine.  Attach these to a sheet and stick it on a wall with each task secured with Velcro.

When the child completes that task, they can remove it and post it into a ‘finished box’ or stick it on to a ‘done sheet’.  You can use this strategy to break down activities further such as dressing.

Organising homework strategies

Create a homework diary

This can help to note down important things. It’s useful for children who forget spoken information.

Use a ring binder with dividers or a box file

For example for different days of the week to organise homework or different subjects.  At home, your child could organise homework into plastic folders for days of the week and use a checklist to tick off when they complete their homework.

Create to-do lists

Cross things off when completed.

Use post-it notes and a notice board

Use different colours to show the importance of tasks, for example, pink for urgent and green for less urgent. You can stick these on a wall chart and take them off when your child completes the task.

You could also encourage your child to:

  • leave space on timetables for adding reminders
  • attend homework clubs
  • allocate time in the weekly timetable for completing essential work.