Category Archives: Uncategorized

Staying Organized and Assisting with Homework

Helping students who are gifted stay organized another area parents often ask for guidance. Some students tend to be hyper-organized, may have multiple colored pens for recording homework assignments, and a folder for other subject. However, other students might shove papers to the bottom of a backpack to be discovered at the end of the week or to be lost to the wind when a reading book removed from the bag. Organization also ties into homework rules or boundaries in the home.

How do I help my child stay organized? They have papers EVERYWHERE!

First, try to determine what works best for your child and not you. Personally, I am a fan of spiral bound plastic folders (see a link in the resources). The folders stay together and I can quickly place my papers in the pockets. These are also lightweight. Others prefer binders because they can hold larger amounts of papers per subjects. One word of caution with binders; if students do not take the time to secure the claps, the papers can fall out and this can cause frustration. This is difficult for students who struggle with regulating emotions. Another option is an accordion pocket folder and zipper style binders.

Also consider how students will store writing materials and what materials students need quick access to in their backpack. Cloth zipper pouches are great for holding materials and be sure to not overwhelm students by placing more items than needed. Find an outside pocket for essential items for easy access.

Finally, set aside one day a week to clean out your backpack. This helps get rid of unwanted papers and ‘reset’ the backpack as needed. This should be the responsibility of the student but under guidance by the parent.

How can I help my child set homework routines?

First, start by asking your child what they need in order to be successful. Would they prefer to do homework when they first get home or after an hour of ‘downtime’? Remember, school is their work and some children need a little downtime to reset before homework. Perhaps children need a snack while they work and a quiet work space clear of distractions. Let your child have say in their homework routine and it should be more productive.

My child complains their homework is just busy work. What can I do?

Encourage your child to talk with their teacher and then later, you should also send a follow up email or request a conference. If a child who is gifted is spending time completing homework that is not challenging or ‘just as busy work,’ perhaps there is a way to work together with the teacher to provide alternative homework on the same subject.

Check out this resource “Ten Tips for Talking to Teachers” from Jim Delise, Ph.D. and Judy Galbraith, M.A. – This is a long tested list for helping students talk to their teachers about concerns in the classroom.

Additional Resources:

Plastic Pocket Folders

Stressed Out! Solutions to Help Your Child Manage and Overcome Stress by Mary Anne Richey and James W. Forgan, Ph.D.

Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker, Ph.D.

When Gifted Kids Don’t have All the Answers by Judy Galbraith, M.A. & Jim Delise, Ph.D.

Helping a Child who is Gifted to Clean their Bedroom

If you have every tried to get a child who is gifted to clean their bedroom, you know it can be a struggle for some parents. I have had several parents tell me it is a never ending battle. They tell their child to, “Go clean their room,” only to find the child engage in a making a Lego masterpiece after attempting to organize the pieces.

Why is it so hard for children who are gifted to keep a clean room?

All children (and adults) need to employ executive skills in order to perform basic task. These executive skills help us control behavior. Those who struggle with executive functioning have trouble starting or completing tasks, become overwhelmed easily, have trouble planning, struggle following directions, and find it difficult to switch between tasks. Does this sound familiar?

How can I help my child?

Rather than telling a child, “Go clean your room,” provide small tasks. By keeping it simple, these small goals help students feel successful and help prevent the student from becoming overwhelmed. Perhaps start with, “Pick up all your dirty laundry,” and then add another verbal prompt. When your child is able to follow verbal prompts, try a written checklist. This also works for other areas. Use a check list for your morning routine or after school homework. Remember- KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Additional Resources:

NAGC: Gifted Learners and Executive Functioning (Website)
Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson, EdD and Richard Guare, PhD. (Book)