Five Ways To Help Children Be More Organised
Effective organisational skills are a key ingredient for success in school and in life. Some people are naturally more organised than others but everyone can adopt routines and systems that can facilitate success. Here are five ways in which families can support and encourage children of all ages to be organised, which can help them grow into better functioning adults.
Establish household routines
Children learn best through observing and emulating parents, so make it a priority to be organised yourself. The best way to do this is by implementing simple household routines by setting specific days and times for tasks such as laundry, paying bills, and cleaning different areas of the house.
Involve your children by having them create their own schedule for studying, chores and activities and try following it for a week. Then sit down together and review their results, being sure to discuss whether they over- or under-estimated how much time they needed for tasks (they need awareness of their time estimation abilities).
Adjust the schedule according to what they report, and try the new schedule for a week, with a check-in at the end. Do this each week until they have a schedule that works, then have them stick to it. If time management is a weakness for you, make your own schedule and, at those weekly sit-downs, let the kids help you evaluate how well you did.
Manage space and time
In addition to having routines, it’s important to manage both space and time effectively. Cultivate a habit of tidying or cleaning as you go, putting things away immediately after use. Get rid of clutter and have.a dedicated space for everything so that it is easy to maintain a tidy home environment without too much effort.
To encourage good study habits, ensure that your child has a dedicated nook to do school work. It should ideally be a quiet place with all relevant supplies and materials nearby.
Along with this, set a designated study time. Ideally, this should not be right after school as children benefit from some time to unwind after the day. Include your child in making this decision. Even if s/he doesn’t have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day’s lessons, read for pleasure, or work on an upcoming project.
Conduct a weekly clean up
Once your child is more organised, the trick is to keep to that system. The best way to do so is by enforcing a quick once or twice a week clean-up policy. However, remember to be realistic and identify those hot spot areas that need continual upkeep.
To a child, asking them to “clean a room” is an overwhelming and confusing concept they often have trouble mastering. Asking them to put away their clean laundry away or to clear off a desktop are likely more manageable expectations and will eventually lead to better skill with keeping a cleaning routine.
Using a timer to tackle different cleaning tasks can turn a chore into a fun game and ensure that the task is completed sooner rather than later. As a long term bonus, this teaches kids to do housework quickly and efficiently.
Teach children to use a personal calendar and/or planner (paper / digital)
Right from the early years of school, it’s a good idea to teach children how to plan and organise their life using a calendar or planner. Get your child a simple notebook or journal that they like and let them use it to create lists, assign dates and times for various tasks, jot down notes and reminders for themselves, etc. Make it fun by allowing them to use coloured pens and pencils, post it notes, stickers and any other creative tools they enjoy. A simple system to adopt is to set aside time at the end of each week to plan the following week’s activities. Get them into the habit of consulting their notebook everyday and using it as a personal assistant.
if you do not use one already, adopt a digital or paper planning system for yourself too as this will further encourage your children to consistently plan and organise their time.
Children are more likely to embrace being organised for the long term when they see how it benefits them. So it’s important to assign them age-appropriate responsibilities and allow them to manage their time and space. For instance, foster a habit wherein they get up for school on their own instead of relying on you. Teach them to clean up after themselves no matter how ‘busy’ they may be and leave it to them to keep their books and toys organised in whatever way they like.
Remember that if you really want your children to learn how to be better organised then you must stop being their personal assistant. Practice stepping back and making children responsible for any consequences of being disorganised such as missing a deadline, losing a library book, or misplacing a beloved possession. Such experiences will encourage them to better their organisation skills and grow into effectively functioning adults.
Taking on responsibilities is especially important for children who are soon to enter college, By high school, kids should be making their own appointments, arranging transportation, completing forms at the doctor’s office, and so on, so that they are aware of the steps involved. They will be doing these things on their own at college, so make sure they are comfortable doing them before they leave.