Life can be busy when juggling schedules, activities, school, work, and the management of the home. Lighten your load by teaching your kids the fundamentals of organization and getting them involved in day-to-day chores. While training these skill can take time, the long-term benefits will pay off and your kids will thank you (one day) for these important lessons. Early organizational skills will aid them at home, in school, and beyond. With patience and consistency you can make organizational nightmares a thing of the past.
Checklists or to-do lists can help anyone, including children, keep track of tasks ahead of them. By creating these lists with your child you can encourage them to sort and prioritize chores, homework assignments, and activities. It will also help them gain a sense of achievement when they get to check a task off. Make the list easily accessible by printing it off or writing it on a dry-erase board.
By teaching your child to break down chores, homework projects, or any other task, they are learning to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Rather than thinking about the large and potentially daunting job, they can consider the smaller and more manageable parts that make it up. For instance, if they are expected to clean the bathroom, break it down into individual pieces: wipe the mirror, wash the counters and sink, scrub the toilet, sweep the floor. They can even check these steps off on their to-do list as they go.
Children thrive on routine and knowing what to expect each day. Routines and schedules can also aid parents in managing and organizing their kids. It takes time to create these habits and routines, but after a month of instructing your child to hang up their coat and backpack, put their shoes away, and empty out lunch boxes after arriving home, there's a good chance they'll do these things automatically, without your having to ask.
When you teach your children how to read and use a calendar you are setting them up for organizational success. Have them write down or record important dates, such as due dates, activities, and events. This helps clarify timelines and expectations. Then, if there are any assignments or homework with due dates, help them to estimate the time it will take to complete each. This simple lesson is the beginning of teaching time management, which will help them throughout their lives.
While kids thrive on the routines, they also crave a piece of autonomy. They want control of some parts of their lives, and as parents, we can give them that, within reason. Start their day off right by allowing them to develop their own morning routine. Establish the expectations and what needs to be accomplished — teeth brushed, hair brushed, dressed, healthy breakfast — but allow them to determine what order they complete these tasks in. This will help them achieve a sense of accomplishment early on in the day and in their lives.
The benefits of organization don't stop at home. By giving your child the tools keep their school work in order you are setting the fundamentals for success. Use a color-coding system with binder organizers or folders for school subjects. For example, blue is English, yellow is math. This will help keep papers and notes in order. Additionally, encourage them to use different colored pens for writing versus editing. Make sure they have a carrying case or other dedicated container for their writing utensils and other school tools so they are less likely to leave these essentials behind.
Separating work and play can be helpful in establishing routines. By creating an organized workspace, you can establish and implement dedicated work time. Try to ensure that this space is in a quiet area of the house where they won't be disturbed but can still reach out to you for assistance. Include materials they might need for their work, such as pens and pencils, calculators, a computer, and paper.
One of the key pieces in keeping organized is to find ways to remember information. This can help children when writing exams, remembering names, or recalling locker combinations. Mnemonic devices, which are patterns or word games, can be helpful when studying. For example, "I before E, except after C," can help when preparing for a spelling test.
Backpacks and lockers are two of the most common organizational devices in a kid's life. They can also be the most neglected, with stale lunches, wrinkled notes, and lost day timers clogging up the system. By encouraging weekly backpack and locker cleanups, you can help your child take their organizational lessons to school with them and ensure you get all your Tupperware back before it goes moldy.
Help your child to remember routines and prepare for changes by discussing the schedule for the day ahead each night before bedtime. This can make your child feel more secure and involved in plans, while also helping them to think of contingencies should plans change. With these skills, your kids will develop resilience and confidence in their abilities to adapt and prepare.
Get daily tips and tricks for living your best life.