Shift Your Thinking


Post it notes are the BEST! 

  • use to find that sheet they need to hand in

  • use to communicate with the teacher about the homework question (as your child may not recall what areas they were having difficulty with)

  • organize your child's ideas for a writing task

  • recall the steps they need to complete at school or home

  • and more tips inside our Shift Your Thinking Parent Community

Pencil Case Style 

  • your child may have their essentials inside their binder but a cool pencil case is still great to have for those markers and coloured pencils

  • a place for glue and scissors as well

  • this becomes the extra tools that your child can keep in their desk or locker until it's needed

A Zipper Binder - for older students 

  • keep all those loose notes in one place

  • keep pens and pencils close by -- no added pencil cases etc

  • a place for calculators and rulers

  • keep homework to hand in and forms signed in one area

  • add in tabs to separate subjects - you can work on those loose sheets together


  • use the whiteboard at home to start - write down three things your child will need to remember to get out the door the next day - write it down

  • what steps do they need to check off to complete their writing activity

  • use it to help with math and counting or printing skills

Coloured Tabs for their Binder 

  • Write out each subject and select a colour that makes sense for your child (ask them)

  • Organize the tabs based on your child's schedule or frequency of the subject (some subjects may be 1-2 a week)

  • Have a tab for loose sheet area or homework

A Calendar

  • whether you use a whiteboard calendar or a paper calendar - it allows you and your child to see what's coming up to help plan ahead and avoid missing those important dates

  • put on all the activities and appointments to help stay focused and to see what might need to leave your list!

  • digital calendars are great as well to help remind you and your child of appointments and homework due!

  • ask your child to add the appointments or homework into their phones - to make this a new habit and decrease homework stress!!

Backpack - bonuses 

  • Having a place for your child's "bring their own device" laptop or tablet

  • A place for their headphones, post-it-notes

  • A place for their lunch and water bottle (it's great to have a side area so the water bottle is away from their device and workbooks


  • this really is a skill and it takes time to consistently use a daytimer or agenda

  • you may use the daytimer at home with your child to see what they need to do each night as they have other activities as well as school work

  • it's great to combine a full monthly calendar with a weekly agenda to see the big picture and the weekly steps


Watch our video that review these tools!

desktop tools

White Erasers

  • they are awesome to erase mistakes

  • if you can't erase your pencil marks - it looks like a mess and can be discouraging

  • a simple tool can help so much!

Mechanical Pencils

  • no pencil sharpener required

  • they can offer a neater pencil line and printing

  • they can help your child use less pressure when printing (if the lead continues to break - you might have to use both types of pencils for a while but that's okay!)

Fine Markers

  • Markers offer the colours that will help make that page come to life

  • You child may light up when they get to add in the colours to the design or project

  • Never underestimate the joy of these types of tools!


  • Crayons are a must for young children

  • They are small and thicker to help little hands.

  • If your child still has difficulties holding a crayon (or pencil) take your older crayons at home and make them very small so your child can only hold it with their thumb, pointer and middle finger (an old OT trick!)

  • Then move towards using those new crayons with the right grasp


  • Pens are an essential writing tool but they have to fit your child's hand

  • Try out different wides and styles to see what pen supports your child's grip and writing needs.

Pencil Crayons

  • Colouring has returned in a big way with beautiful colouring books for big and little people.

  • Use pencil crayons for school work but also as an option for relaxation.

  • If your child is anxious, they may like having the option to colour and listen to music they like at a certain time in their school day.

tech + tools 

Early Learning Tools - Leapstart

  • These tools offer a combination of paper, pencil and technology to learn.

  • If your child is learning to hold a pencil, trace lines and learn about letters and number - this tool can offer an interactive way to learn when you are at home with your child


  • It's a tool we are use to seeing but it's an essential tool for kids that have a learning difference when it comes to numbers (aka dyscalculia)

  • Find the right fit for your child's learning needs - the size of the buttons, the types of operations it has available, etc.

  • Have one available for home and school - so they can use the same one in both places - it takes time to learn how to use this tool effectively as well.


  • Yup this is a school device - if you set it up to be that way

  • Allow your child to use it to capture notes on the blackboard, put in homework due dates, look up facts for a project, use voice to text to complete their writing.

  • It is a small computer right in their hands - so let's use it in this powerful way.

Livescribe Pen

  • a way to integrate technology into the classroom without the laptop

  • if your child needs to review what the teacher said during their discussion -it's there to review

  • they can continue to write their notes but have the ability to upload these notes to their laptop and listen to the class discussion to fill in the rest


  • Allows your child to use technology to listen to a book, or hear the word they just highlighted to read.

  • It will block out some of the noise in the room but also allow your child to have one ear available if their friend or teacher has something to tell them.

  • they can use the microphone to dictate their ideas without others having to listen in ;)


  • Bring your own laptop is very much a possibly

  • Your child can then have what they need in front of them

  • Accessibility is no longer an issue when it comes to their work or using the programs that support them

  • You can buy a laptop or tablet that fits their needs in terms of size and weight - ask your child for their input into what will work for them.

  • Consider keeping ownership of the laptop to ensure it's focus is school work depending on the age of your child ;)

lunch + snacks

Lunch box or bag

  • You might want a lunch box/bag that separates the food into different sections

  • Allowing your child to plan what to eat during their first break and what to eat on the following break

  • This can also be separated out with containers - like the ones I have here

Meal Containers 

  • Having meal containers will allow you to put foods together, just like you would if you were offering lunch or a snack at home

  • Your child may not look in all the different containers and put them together themselves so when you help them do this with the container they are more likely to dive into the food!

More Containers

  • See through containers help your kids see what awesome snacks are available to them

  • and if they help pack their lunch they will even know what's in each one as well (I'm just reminding myself of this tip)

  • Pack whole foods as much as possible to offer the best nutrition to keep their brains and bodies healthy ;)

Water Bottle

  • You can't beat a stainless steel water bottle for keeping drinks cold or hot!

  • You can add in some lemon and other flavours at home

  • You can also use the water bottle as a mini-sensory tool to help keep your child attentive. Add in ice to the water bottle to keep it really cool as they sip it throughout their day to help them increase their level of alertness (another OT tip)

sensory + fidget

Fidget Devices

  • select a fidget device that allows your child to fidget without taking their attention away (it's a delicate balancing act)

  • watch your child and see what they tend to do to help themselves focus and then look for the device that offers that such as clicking a pen - then you need a fidget toy that offers this (without distracting others)

  • this fidget device may offer a number of options for those hand movements

Chewable Jewellery

  • Having the option to chew on something small but safe - may be needed

  • Your child might be using their clothes (neckline or sleeve) to chew to help their sensory needs or their anxiety

  • Using these sensory items that are similar to jewellery offers the tools that are needed in a cool way.

Headphones/Ear protection

  • Having headphones when the noise is too great may be what is needed to help your child cope or focus

  • Find headphones that are cool and fun to put on.


Where is my....

Organizational Support for Families with John Tucker ADHD Coach


Move from "I Can't to I Can!"

with Rachel Bailey Parenting Expert


Little Panic Approach about Anxiety and Supporting Your Child

with Amanda Stern (author of Little Panic)


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