Why your Child does not Use a Planner
Why your child won’t use an academic planner - Episode 015
Planners offer promises. Understanding their use delivers results
A new year means a new planner will get your student off on the right foot academically, right? Not so fast! If you and your child are rushing out to get a fresh start with a new planner, you need to listen to this episode.
I don’t get mad very often. I’m pretty chill most of the time. The other day was different. I was in Target, and I walked past an endcap full of shiny 2019 planners, and I stopped, as I often do when I see shiny objects.
I started flipping through the planners. When I walked down the school supply aisle a bit later, I saw more planners. They all had cool covers that said “You go girl!” and “Bring it!” , and uplifting images decorated the covers. All of these planners with shiny covers had one thing in common: You open them up, and they’re all empty!
When I meet with a student for the first time, I ask if they have a planner. I ask to see it. I open it up, and it’s EMPTY! People try to sell you cool planners with empowering messages, and inside, they have hundreds of pages that are going to stay blank for all eternity. They’re selling you a COVER.
I’m a little irritated that we go into a store with high hopes of turning over a new leaf in 2019 and you’re staking your entire future on a cover. I get angry because they’re taking advantage of my students!
Some of you listening may love planners and use them religiously. That’s awesome! You rock YOU. Do your thing.
Why your Child Refuses to use a Planner
There are a couple of reasons that students don’t use their planners, but first I’m going to tell you what the reasons are NOT:
1. It’s not because they want to have missing assignments and feel bad.
2. It’s not because they want to drive you insane.
I meet with so many students who have the best intentions of using their planners, and it doesn’t get done. I’ve said before how I had 3-4 planners when I started working in schools. They were ALL blank or had 2-3 pages written in. It was a HOT MESS.
So, if we have good intentions and there’s a need for planners, why aren’t we using them?
The #1 answer is this: Many students believe that planners don’t serve a purpose.
The thing is, they do- if they’re used. So we have to look at something else: Why are students convinced that planners have no purpose?
My opinions are formed by my own experiences:
Since my children were in kindergarten, they were required to have a planner. You’re giving a child a planner when they can’t wipe their nose yet! You’re expecting them to organize time in chunks. What is the purpose of providing a first grader a planner?
Sure, you could say it helps with handwriting, but they don’t NEED a planner. At that age, just send the homework home in an email.
If you’re going to start using a planner, you don’t want to start with the idea that they have no purpose. Kids in grades 1-4 don’t need planners. I’m all for responsibility and having parents step back, but at that age, they don’t need planners.
From Kindergarten to the middle of fourth grade perhaps, it’s probably better to send assignments home in another fashion. When kids are getting ready for fifth grade and middle school, THEN you can start hammering in why a planner is important. Teach them how we use it, what purpose it serves.
Why we Need Planners
What happens when you have lots of apps open on your phone? The memory dies more quickly.
It’s the same with remembering assignments.
If you think you can hold it in your brain, your memory is going to get drained a lot faster. You forget stuff. That’s okay, but you need a system to make sure it all gets done. That system doesn’t have to look like a planner. It doesn’t have to look like someone else’s system either.
The Three Types of Planners
• Paper planner: you pull it in and out every day to write in it. It can be bulky. But, you get the hand-to-paper-memory connection that is there, according to science.
• Digital: You have to remember passwords, but you can create reminders with this kind of system. You’re not getting the benefits of hand-to-paper, and it might not work with school email.
• Wall calendar: Some students need to see their reminders hanging on the wall to know and remember. And, if they need a reminder, they can take with them? You can always snap a picture of the calendar.
The critical part of using a planner is to know what kind of system is going to work for you before you buy a planner.
The next step to make planner use easier is this:
Plan WITH your child. Bring your kid into the planning session and learn together. Your kids get organized, you learn what works for them, and what they’re up to. Show them the benefits. If you’re not showing the benefits, they’re not going to understand how vital a planner is and use it.
For people with executive function issues, planners are a go-to.
I know I feel better, more in charge when I’m organized. It takes so many parts of the executive functions that I need someone to walk me through it and explain why it’ll work and how to use it. Then it will take me a week or two to try out the system. From there, I’ll learn how not to complicate it and make a habit out of using it.
The thing is, for people with executive function issues, it’s going to take time.
When you go to the store, don’t let the shiny covers tell you they’re going to fix everything. Your child probably has a history of not using a planner. Plan with your child, but don’t get taken in by the hopes and dreams presented by a cover! If you think your child needs additional help I am currently accepting clients, but space is limited. Please contact me at via the contact form by following this link.
Why planners don’t work for students
The main types of planner systems
How to help your child use a planner
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors.