Teaching your Child Organizational Skills and Why it Matters

Being organized is an essential skill for every child once they reach school—just as it is for every adult. Learning good organizational skills cuts down on frustration for the child and helps them to be successful. Here are some ways to teach your child to be organized.

Keep a Family Calendar

One way to introduce the idea of being organized to your child is to have a family calendar with tasks and appointments written down for them to see. Visual reminders are always helpful, and you make it easy to keep track of important tasks and events. Try using a different colored marker to designate items that relate to specific people.

To Do Lists

Show the child how to create a simple to do list for all of the things he or she needs or wants to do each day. Depending on the age of the child, using simple pictures might be a good way to make a list. You can also share your own list, and show them what tasks you can do with them.

Get Ready the Night Before

Preparing for your day ahead of time is just one way to stay organized. Make plans using the weather reports, and lay out clothing for the next day with the child’s help. The night before is also a good time to check homework, and pack school bags for the next day.

The “1-2-3” Process

Break tasks down into three simple steps:

  • Gather the supplies needed for the task
  • Stay focused on the task
  • Complete the task

The act of checking off a task when completed can be very satisfying. Reinforce this concept by praising the child for achieving his or her goals.

Set Expectations

Make sure your child knows what you expect of them. Make certain you set achievable goals. Nothing is so discouraging as failing to meet expectations, so it is better to shoot for an easily manageable goal. More complicated ones can always be added!

Establish routines

Work with your child to decide when certain things will happen. Will homework be done directly after school, or will they have a snack first? Will the room get cleaned on Friday night or Saturday morning? When things happen in a regular pattern, and are done as a matter of routine, they have less of a chance of becoming disorganized.

Check Up on Them

Children need positive reinforcement and consistent redirection in order to establish good habits. Make certain that the routines continue as they have been determined. Ask them how they feel about their routines and schedules: Are they enjoying them? Do they think anything needs to be changed?

Practice What You Teach

When the parents are organized, it helps to model an example for the children. If you as a parent are disorganized, make it clear that ‘we are working on this together’ and help each other to achieve your goals. As the parent, it is your job to help your child, but admitting shortcomings and showing your child that you are working on things can also be tremendously helpful.

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