'Summer School': Prioritizing and Decision-Making

Teach your kids big concepts with small, task-oriented goals – like cleaning out their closets and backpacks over the summer. Add an incentive for a job well done to reinforce the behavior, and they will be well on their way to making the school year a successful one.

Task 1: Unpack the backpack - or the ‘pile’ from last year.

  1. Help them choose (or make) a keepsake box from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or another craft store.
  2. Have your child sort items into SAVE, REUSE/DONATE and TRASH/RECYCLE piles.
  3. Store the SAVE pile in the keepsake box, dispose of items in the TRASH/RECYCLE pile accordingly and help your child decide whether or not to keep items in the REUSE/DONATE pile next year or if items should be passed on to younger siblings or school supply organizations. This includes the backpack.
  4. Make a list of replacement items for this year and do some early school shopping.
  5. Reward good behavior with a prize, activity or outing!



Task 2: Clean the closet.

Now that your child knows the basics of cleaning, sorting and organizing, have them take on a bigger task.  

  1. Create areas to KEEP, DONATE or TRASH. Explain that in this exercise, that “trash” differs from the backpack exercise in that these are articles of clothing or accessories that are in such poor condition they cannot be reused. 
  2. Try on and sort old clothes, shoes and accessories. Hang/Organize items in the KEEP pile. Take the DONATE pile to friends/family, a shelter or other organization. Dispose of clothing in the TRASH pile.
  3. Make a list of replacement items and go shopping.
  4. Reinforce good decision-making with a reward.