Does Your Kid Lose Their Student Planner?

If your child loses their student planner, here are some tips to get her back on track.

As a parent or teacher, you’ve likely encountered the frustration of a student who continually loses their student planner. The student planner is a crucial tool for keeping track of assignments, deadlines, and extracurricular activities. When a child misplaces it frequently, it can lead to missed assignments, forgotten tasks, and increased stress. Here are some effective strategies to help organize a child who keeps losing their student planner.

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The Importance of a Student Planner

A student planner is more than just a notebook; it’s an essential organizational tool that helps students manage their time and responsibilities. Good habits formed early can lead to lifelong skills in time management and organization. Understanding the value of a student planner is the first step in helping your child keep track of it.

Common Reasons for Losing a Student Planner

Before addressing the solution, it’s important to understand why a child might frequently lose their student planner:

  • Lack of Routine: Without a consistent routine, a child may forget to bring their planner to school or back home.
  • Disorganization: A generally disorganized child may struggle with keeping track of their belongings.
  • Unawareness of Importance: The child may not understand the significance of using the planner, leading to careless handling.
  • Distractibility: Easily distracted children may leave their planners behind in classrooms, on buses, or at home.

Strategies to Keep Track of a Student Planner

1. Establish a Consistent Routine

Creating a consistent routine for using and storing the student planner can significantly reduce the chances of it getting lost.

Tips for Establishing a Routine:

  • Morning and Evening Checks: Encourage your child to check their planner each morning before school and each evening after homework.
  • Designated Spot: Designate a specific spot in their backpack and at home for the planner. Make it a habit to always return the planner to this spot.
  • Daily Review: Incorporate a daily review session where you go through the planner together to discuss the day’s activities and upcoming tasks.

2. Teach Organizational Skills

Helping your child develop better organizational skills can have a lasting impact beyond just keeping track of their student planner.

Tips for Teaching Organizational Skills:

  • Binder or Folder: Use a binder or folder specifically for the student planner, along with other important school papers.
  • Color Coding: Introduce color-coded tabs or stickers to make sections in the planner more visually accessible.
  • Checklists: Create daily or weekly checklists for tasks that need to be done, reinforcing the habit of checking and updating the planner.

3. Emphasize the Importance of the Student Planner

Children are more likely to take care of something if they understand its importance. Help them see the value in using a student planner.

Ways to Emphasize Importance:

  • Explain Benefits: Discuss how the planner helps keep track of assignments, reduces stress, and ensures nothing is forgotten.
  • Set Goals: Set small goals related to planner use, such as keeping it updated for a week, and celebrate achievements.
  • Model Behavior: Use your own planner or calendar and show your child how you stay organized, reinforcing the importance of these habits.

4. Get a Better Planner

Often, schools issue a student planner to all students. Sometimes it is customized and printed by the school. But often schools buy something off the shelf. It may not have enough room for writing, or it may have so much decoration and “extra content” that it distracts kids.

When I pick a paper planner, I like to go to Staples or Target and touch every single one. I have very specific wishes. But until your child has some experience, they might not know what makes a planner work for them. Here are a few good options to consider:

  • The Work-Smart Academic Planner: Developed by the creators of Smart But Scattered. This planner supports executive functioning by prompting students to set goals and prioritize upcoming tasks.
  • Printable Planner Pages: Print from Google Calendar or a template. This is a cheap way to try out lots of different student planner formats and see what works best.
  • Class Tracker Student Planners: These planners were designed with student needs in mind. They have different versions for middle school, high school, and college students. Each level reflects students growing responsibilities and growing skills. Using a familiar planner from year to year helps students become experts at using it.

5. Implement Technology Solutions

Sometimes, a digital approach can complement the use of a physical planner, providing backup and additional reminders.

Technology Tips:

  • Digital Planners: Introduce digital planner apps that can sync with a physical planner, providing notifications and backups.
  • Calendar Apps: Utilize calendar apps on phones or tablets for setting reminders about key tasks and deadlines.
  • Photos: Encourage your child to take photos of important pages in their planner, so they have a backup if it gets lost.

5. Provide Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can motivate your child to take better care of their student planner and develop good organizational habits.

Ways to Reinforce Positive Behavior:

  • Praise and Encouragement: Regularly praise your child for keeping track of their planner and staying organized.
  • Rewards: Offer small rewards for consistent use and maintenance of the planner.
  • Patience: Be patient and supportive as your child develops these new habits, focusing on progress rather than perfection.

6. Monitor and Adjust as Needed

Regularly monitor your child’s progress with their student planner and be willing to make adjustments as necessary.

Monitoring Tips:

  • Weekly Check-ins: Have weekly check-ins to review how the planner is being used and discuss any issues.
  • Feedback Loop: Encourage your child to provide feedback on what is working and what isn’t, so you can make necessary changes.
  • Adaptability: Be open to trying different types of planners or organizational systems until you find what works best for your child.


Helping a child who frequently loses their student planner involves a combination of routine, organization, understanding, technology, and positive reinforcement. By implementing these strategies, you can support your child in developing good habits that will benefit them throughout their academic journey and beyond. With patience and persistence, your child can become proficient in using their student planner, leading to improved academic performance and reduced stress.

If your child is doesn’t see the point of using a planner, or can’t seem to make it work for them, this is for you. Check out my free mini-course “Academic Planners for School Success.” Sign up below.

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