Children of all ages need a little help with their organization. As parents it’s your job to help them learn how to manage their responsibilities and their life. That means teaching them organization skills. Here’s how to help children get organized regardless of their age.
Young children are initially introduced to the concept of organization with their toys. You can help a child learn about organization by creating places for their toys. For example, blocks can go into a bin labelled Blocks. Of course young children cannot read so you might put a picture of blocks on the outside of the bin.
The next step, once storage areas are created, is to teach your children to put their toys away. Initially it makes sense to make clean up time a game. Consider, setting a timer and challenging your child to put away all their toys before the timer goes off. If they are successful they can watch a movie, have a cookie or some other reward.
Young School Aged Children
As children enter school they begin to have more responsibility. Homework, getting to school on time and after school activities are all common tasks that young people need to learn to manage. As a parent you can help by creating a schedule and a calendar for your child.
For example, after school they have a 30 minute snack time and then it’s time for homework. Post a calendar on the wall in the main living area so your young child can learn the value of calendars and keeping track of their schedule.
Ask them questions like, “When do you have soccer practice?” That way they’ll get in the habit of learning their schedule and being responsible for it.
Older School Aged Children
As children grow they gain more responsibilities. In fact during the later middle school years and certainly the high school years, the schedule can feel overwhelming. This is a time when children need to be taught two key things. The first is the importance of systems.
For example, how does a child organize their schoolwork so they never miss a homework assignment and have all the materials they need to study for tests?
The second is how to follow through. For example, they might create an effective system to track their homework but if they don’t use it, then they’ll miss assignments. Some children need more help than others.
As a parent it’s your job to help children create systems by providing the guidance, materials and support. Try to steer clear of bailing them out when they mess up. If they miss a homework assignment there are consequences. This will help reinforce the importance of creating systems and following through. If you bail them out they’ll learn to depend on you instead of themselves.
Teaching organization isn’t easy but it’s definitely an important skill to learn. The better your children learn it the easier their adult life will be. And of course, do your best to be a good organization role model because children do pay attention to what you do.