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Organizing Your Family

If you're having a difficult time keeping your kids on track, "Parenting" magazine has some helpful hints.

Contributing editor Heather Kahn tells The Early Show that getting children organized can be simple if done the right way.

Kahn provides seven guidelines for the Kid Connection segment to help parents get belongings and schedules in order:

1. Make to-do lists:

Have your child run through a written going-to-school list. Jacket? Check. Lunch? Check. Homework? Check. Good bye hug? Check. Then teach him or her to follow a leaving-school list, which includes such items as homework, books, and teacher's notes. For younger kids, use visual cues such as a board with felt pieces symbolizing what needs to be done every morning. As an incentive, offer reward certificates every morning once all items are moved to the "done" column.

2. Create a work space:

Creating a workstation for your child early on, even before preschool, can help develop good study habits and organizational skills

3. Set deadlines:

Children often don't realize how long a task takes from start to finish. Giving a time limit will cut down on dawdling. Make a rule that assignments must be completed within 45 minutes of coming home. For short-term tasks, such as getting dressed in the morning, give a time limit of two minutes, then set an egg timer. Or turn it into a race and see whether he or she can put on their clothes before you finish making breakfast.

4. Keep a schedule:

To help keep children on top of their busy schedules, use a family calendar. Give them different colored pens to enter their school activities or homework deadlines. For an older child, encourage the use of a personal planner.

5. Plan ahead:

Pre-pack lunches the night before, as well as help your child choose and lay out his or her clothing for the next day.

6. Corral clutter:

To cut down on accumulating clutter, give your child a keepsake box and or ring binder with clear plastic sleeves. This will help them edit and store their own work. Every few months, have them put favorite papers, assignments, drawings aside, then toss the rest. Also, encourage sending some to grandparents or using the back of drawings to write a letter.

7. Create a ready-to-go zone:

Designate a convenient place for your children to unload backpacks, coats, and shoes — making it easier and faster to get out of the house in the morning.