Getting Your Teen Organized

6 tips for establishing—and maintaining—order

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During the school year, keeping teenagers focused on everything that needs to be accomplished in a day can be a challenge. Here are some suggestions for smoothing the way:

1. If you have trouble getting your teen up in the morning, buy the most annoying alarm clock you can find and put it far from the bed. That way he's forced to get up and turn it off.

2. To keep bathroom time to a minimum, place a timer inside and set it for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, time's upperiod. This is great for siblings who share a bathroom.

3. A new semester's class schedule can be confusing. Help your teen keep up by shrinking the schedule on a copy machine to fit in a wallet or backpack. He can also keep a copy in his locker.

4. List activities on a large calendar and color-code them. Use red for work and blue for sports events, for example.

5. If your teen doesn't like to study at a desk, suggest using a covered bin for studying on a bed. It's great for holding books and papers, and the cover serves as a tray.

6. Keep a basket by the door at home to be used as a "pocket dump." Have each person dump the contents of his pockets into the basket for sorting before laundry time.

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