Teach Kids to Get Organized

Edited by Robbi

If you often hear your kids complaining of stuff they cannot find or if they can hardly navigate their room without stepping on scattered items on the floor, it is time to teach them some lessons on organization.

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Some kids do not really care about chaos and disorganization. They may not even care when they lose important stuff, such as things for school, clothes and other personal items. Depending on their ages, they may still be unaware that losing stuff costs money. This is why it is important to teach them organization.

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While it is rather exasperating when kids leave things like books lying around in places where they should not be, remember that organization is a skill that you can teach and they can learn. Being orderly is like second nature to some people, including kids. However, it is also quite common for kids to be the exact opposite. With patience, good role models, appropriate lessons, daily practice and monitoring, and a pleasant approach, kids can actually learn to be organized. More importantly, this skill can help them become more efficient and can be an important element of their foundation for a successful life ahead.

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The Teaching Strategy

Breaking Down Tasks: The Easy 1-2-3 Process

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Kids are better able to handle tasks more independently if they have steps to follow and they know how to apply them. Having steps to follow can foster consistency and efficiency. They may still need minimal help, but with the right support they can be better organized. Here are the three important "breaking down concepts" to teach your child:

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  1. 1
    Get organized.
    A kid must be taught to start by gathering everything he or she needs, and then systematically approaching the task.
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  2. 2
    Focus on the job at hand.
    Being focused means determinedly doing and finishing the task without distraction. This means sticking to the goal and saying no to distractions. Taking time off before completing the job is the most common reason for kids not being able to finish a task.
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  3. 3
    Get it done on time.
    Checking the work and adding finishing touches is what getting the work done means. Homework or a school project is not finished until it is secured in the right folder. It is still not finished if it is not yet put into the proper bag that is going to be used on the day of the submission. Kids must be taught what it takes to finish tasks.
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Aside from the fact that it is practical to teach these steps to kids, it also helps the child feel more competent and effective. Kids are going to feel proud and confident in themselves every time they finish their tasks and responsibilities successfully. Also, they are going to like the fact that they have more free time for the things they want to do.

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Set up systems

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  • Show how checklists work. No matter what the task is about, being able to know how to create and use a checklist is quite important. This helps a child develop the ability to organize.
  • Keep a family calendar. Creating and keeping a family calendar helps a parent manage every family member's activities. This encourages kids to also put their activities in school and other extra-curricular activities. Hence, no activity is missed and preparing for these activities can be efficiently done right before due date.
  • Provide a planner for your child. When purchasing a planner for a kid, it is better to take the kid with you. Be sure to choose a planner that is appealing. The more appealing the planner is, the more excited the kid is going to be. However, it does not stop there. Parents need to make sure that the kid knows how to use it, as well as how to check the family calendar before putting in activities in the planner.

Introduce activities that encourage organization

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  • Let them do chores that involve sorting or categorizing. The more practice kids get, the better they can be at organizing and sorting. Daily chores such as organizing the groceries, making lists, emptying the dishwasher, etc., are effective errands for them.
  • Utilize containers and closet organizers. It is easier and faster for kids to look for things and keep things organized if there is a designated place for stuff. Organizers can help kids be neater and more organized.
  • Prepare the night before. Help your child prepare what they will use the following day. This should become part of your regular routines.
  • Schedule homework. Homework is important and parents need to see to it that kids take time to do it. Hence, parents need to allocate time for homework. Doing this on a specific schedule also helps develop a routine and later a habit.
  • Make a homework supply box. For kids to be able to do their homework more efficiently, they need to be organized. The first step to having an organized environment is making a homework supply box. Simply fill any box with all that is needed for homework and projects. This way, kids do not need to spend much time looking for the things they need.

Let them apply what they have learned

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  • Organize things in school. It is important to keep folders and envelopes. These things are needed in order for kids to be able to organize their things in school like papers and more.
  • Develop an interest in collecting. When you notice the kid's interest in certain things, encourage them to try to collect them. Collectible things include stamps and other hard to find things. Collecting encourages a child to organize as their collections grow in number.
  • Cook together. Cooking is a fun activity that requires patience and organization. Cooking teaches measuring, strictly following directions and fixing ingredients. These are actually factors of organization.

Teaching organization to ADHD Child

At Home

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  • Provide a daily planner for the child. This will help the child keep track of appointments, events, deadlines and more. Encourage the kid to create and follow a daily to-do list. This is going to help the kid prioritize by means dividing tasks into two groups - important ones and not so important.
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  • Get a shelf for books and a supply cabinet for important supplies. These are the basic furniture that will help the child put together his or her books and other things that are valuable to him or her. These will serve as repositories of whatever he or she uses every day, such as pencils, binders, tape, rulers, etc.
  • It is a good idea to have a bulletin board. A bulletin board can help the kid post important reminders. It can also be a good medium to express one's creativity. Give the kid important supplies to encourage use of the bulletin board.
  • Get the child to use sticky notes. A pad of sticky notes can remind your child what he or she has taken from the shelf or the cabinet. They can also be used to post reminders on the bulletin board, doors, mirrors and other places.
  • Keep extra books at home. Ask teachers about what kind of books are needed and keep extras at home just in case the kid loses his.
  • Teach the kid to categorize school materials. After categorizing, teach the kid to put the things in categorized places or compartments. This is to help organize their space or their bag for school.
  • Keep compartments such as book holders and such to hold projects. Create a compartment for each subject or project that are current and for ones that are finished.
  • Get ready for the next day. Let the kid pack his or her bag for school and watch to make sure he or she packs everything that is needed. Check by asking the kid about each subject and what are the activities that they are about to do for the day.

In School

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  • Create a calendar for school. This must contain information that contains deadlines and activities. Coordinate with parents so that they are made aware of the school calendar and activities.
  • Post reminders about the things that are important. This can include steps on how to do certain things and where particular items must be placed.
  • Give the kid folders or large envelopes for assignments. It is good to have separate envelopes that may serve as compartments for homework to be done and for already completed homework.
  • Make use of different colors. Use colors to indicate what subject the everything is for.
  • Help the kid learn how important deadlines are. There is a reason why they are called deadlines. Teach the kids that there is no extension when the deadline comes.
  • Give the kid a clock. It is better if they use analog clocks so that they can read time faster and easier. This is going to help them learn and practice time management.
  • Schedule time for general cleaning. This helps the kids become more organized. This is the time when they throw away unnecessary things and create more space for more important ones.

Always help kids while doing tasks. After every successful project or if they do their job well, reward them. Rewards help encourage kids to do their jobs better.

Questions and Answers

How can a child get in less than 1 hour?

My child's room is a mess and I need her to get it done it takes her more than 24 hours to get her room clean. Can you help me?. I have tried: Toy holders, Bookshelf. I think it was caused by: Dis-organization

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Categories : Parenting

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