Teaching organizational skills does not come naturally to most parents. It’s something adults just seem to do and are unsure of how to explain it to kids. Here are 6 tips to help get more organized with children of any age:
Use a calendar
There are many different types of calendars that can be used. Create a family calendar and color code it for each person in the family. This can help the whole family look ahead to what activities are coming up. For younger children, use a picture schedule. It can include daily tasks such as brushing teeth and making the bed. Teach your older students how to use a planner to record all school assignments and after-school events. Color code tasks in a planner based on priorities (i.e., red for assignments, yellow for extra credit activities, blue for activities they would like to do if there is time, etc.)
Teach divide and conquer techniques
Breaking bigger jobs into smaller tasks makes them more manageable. This works for anything from big school projects to weekly chores. It helps a student remember where they left off the last time they worked on a task and helps provide cues for what to complete next.
Use time limits
Brainstorm how long it may take to complete each task and write it down or use a kitchen timer. The use of kitchen timers can also help keep a student on task and provide a much needed 5 minute brain break for your child.
Create a supply “toolbox”
This box should have all the materials they may need to complete assignments (i.e., pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, paper, etc.) to help eliminate the need to continually get up to find the materials they need. Keeping it in one location at all times can also reduce the time it takes to get started on daily work.
Have a “go” box
This is designated box or place to keep all the items your child needs for the day ahead. Keep their backpack, gym clothes, soccer cleats, instrument, snack, etc. here to ensure a smoother transition out the door in the morning.
Weekly backpack cleaning day
Every weekend have a designated time to clean out your student’s backpack. This can help ensure that all of your student’s assignments for the week have been handed in and that you haven’t missed any important notes (i.e., picture day forms) which may be crumpled in the bottom of the backpack.