In This Issue

A crucial part of doing well in school is knowing what assignments you need to complete on a daily basis, as well as whether you have any tests or projects coming up. 
However, since teachers can post information in multiple places - the whiteboard in a classroom, an online portal, in emails - it can sometimes be difficult to remember what exactly you have to work on. 
There are many apps out there that can help you recall the tasks you need to complete, but right now Thinking Organized is really loving Momentum.
Momentum is actually a Chrome extension, and it pops up when you turn on your computer. You can customize it in several ways, but we recommend using the daily focus and to-do list features. 

Learning how to manage your time is a crucial component of success in any activity. 

If you're struggling to complete your work on time, try using our Guess/Actual worksheet! 

First, guess how long it will take you to complete each task on your to-do list. Then, time yourself to see how long it actually took you each task. 

Finally, if there were any large discrepancies between your guesses and actuals, identify why that happened: did you get distracted? Was the task easier or more complex than you thought it would be? 

When you can figure out how long it realistically takes you to finish tasks, you can better plan out when you should begin working on something.

Using Executive Functioning Skills to Prepare for the Holidays

The holidays are a time of relaxation and family - and also a great time to work on executive functioning skills! From buying gifts to creating a guest list and preparing dinner to decorating the house, you must rely on the prefrontal cortex of your brain to help plan and execute most holiday festivities. Involving your children in these yearly tasks will help them recognize that executive functioning skills are present in every aspect of their lives. 
So, round up the kids for a family meeting and try some of these tips to get them excited and ready for the holidays!


Before everyone can sit down to a nice homemade dinner, ingredients need to be purchased and the food must be made. Deciding what foods to make and when to make them is a perfect chance for your children to develop their planning skills. 
Breaking down tasks.  Ask your children to mark the date of the dinner on the calendar and then identify all of the individual tasks that need to be completed in order to be ready for that day. For example, your children will need to consider how many guests will be attending, how much food will be needed to make sure everyone is well-fed, what groceries will need to be purchased, who will buy the groceries and when, when will each food dish need to start cooking in order to be ready for dinnertime, and more! While the list may seem exhaustive, this is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces to ensure that nothing gets overlooked and everything is ready on time. For each step your children identify, have them choose dates to attend to each task so that nothing gets left for the last minute.
Create a to-do list and weekly calendar.  Encourage your children to create a to-do list and weekly calendar to help them keep track of their progress. As they check off tasks, they will feel a sense of accomplishment and realize that large tasks can easily be tackled if they budget their time and do a little work each day! On the weekly calendar, have them assign certain tasks to be completed each day; have them include some wiggle room in case something ends up taking longer than anticipated.
Create a schedule.  On the day of the dinner, have your children draw up a schedule that goes hour-by-hour for the day. Ask them to identify the tasks that need to be started and completed at certain times so that everything goes smoothly. This activity will help your children learn how to accurately estimate how long tasks should take to complete, as well as how to create realistic plans that everyone can follow.  


When the day of the holiday dinner arrives, involve your children in the meal preparation. This will give them the chance to practice the crucial skill of following written directions in a recipe and the oral directions of the main family cook. 
Create a checklist.  Before the cooking begins, have your children create a checklist of the various recipes being made and distribute them to the main cooks. Have your children check in at each cooking station and check off each step as it is completed. If they notice that a step has not been followed, they should calmly alert the cook.
Assign specific tasks to people.  To ensure the food preparation goes smoothly, have your children assign specific tasks to different family members. For example, perhaps they designate a young cousin as the main egg whisker, and an older cousin as the main potato peeler. After reading the recipe, your children can explain to them how many eggs they need to crack or how many potatoes need to be used.
Participate!  If your children want to be more hands-on with the recipe, this is a wonderful chance for them to practice inhibition as they wait for the cook to give the next direction. Have them establish a routine with the cook, where they place their finished tasks on a certain place on the table or they say they are ready for the next step.


Holidays require careful planning, so this is a great opportunity to involve your children and help them develop their executive functioning skills in a fun way. As the years go on, your children can take on more complex holiday tasks and begin to do them independently (while still checking in with you, of course). 
So as the holidays roll around, remember to Think Organized!