If your child is behind in their studies, waits until the last minute to work on major projects, and shoves handouts into their backpack never to be seen again, it may be a sign that they could benefit from organizational skills.
January is “Get Organized Month.” Here are some strategies to help your keiki improve their organizational skills so they can be prepared for success:
Building your child’s organizational skills
- Break tasks into chunks. Help kids break school projects or chores into smaller, more manageable steps which can make projects feel less overwhelming. For example, if your child’s nightly chore is to clear the table, explain: First, scrape any food scraps into the garbage. Then load the dishes into the dishwasher. Then wipe the counters.
- Create to-do lists. Include homework, chores and other activities in the list. Encourage your child to keep the list in a place where they can check off accomplishments as they go. Some kids might create their list using a smartphone app. Others may write it on a dry-erase board in their bedroom or print out a list to carry around throughout the day.
- Teach calendar and time management skills. Encourage kids to write down important tasks on a digital or paper calendar, and estimate how much time each task will take. After completing the task, suggest time adjustments for next time, if needed. It may also help to have kids write the due date directly on school assignments.
- Establish daily routines. Creating a regular schedule can help kids learn what to expect throughout the day. Use picture schedules, clocks, and other time management strategies.
- Use color-coding. Assign colors to each school subject. For example, green folders and notebooks may be for English and blue for math. Use brightly colored pocket folders for items that need to be signed and returned.
- Create an organized work space. Set aside spaces at home where each child can work without interruption. It might work best if this is somewhere near you for times when they need your assistance. Keep school supplies and technology nearby.
- Do regular backpack audits. Your child’s backpack is a crucial link between home and school, so it’s important to keep it neat. Schedule a time each week for kids to clean out and organize their backpack.
- Help your keiki think ahead. Before bedtime, sit down together to review plans for the next day. This can make kids feel more secure. Together you can plan how to handle things if a change comes up in the schedule.
- Praise your child when they exhibit good organizational skills. Children respond well to praise, which makes praise an effective way to reinforce your child’s efforts to develop an organizational routine.
- Model good organization skills for your keiki. Your child is always watching what you do. When they see you practicing good organizational skills, they learn from the example you set and are likely to mimic your behavior.
Learning specialists on how to build organizational skills
Child Mind Institute
Help Your Child Get Organized
How to Teach Children Organizational Skills
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