Post by Basic Organization team member Tracy Wells.
One of the key ingredients for success in life and school for most children is to develop good organizational skills. Naturally some are more organized than others. Anyone can help a child put routines together to become more organized. Here are some ideas that you can apply to your child’s daily life so that it stays under control and is more productive. They are also important life skills that your child can use throughout their life.
- Use a To-Do list. By having your child keep a list of assignments, chores around the home, reminders about items to bring to school, homework to do, etc…they will have a sense of accomplishment as they cross off completed tasks.
- Designate a place to study. A quiet place with little distractions is where your child will most likely be productive. Be sure and have school materials and supplies close by. If your child is younger it would be good to have them close by so that you may monitor their progress.
- Designate a study time. Have a time every day that is reserved for homework and studying. Usually right after school is not the best time because your child will usually want a snack and some time to unwind. Ask your child for their input when deciding on the time of study and then make it their routine.
- Homework Assignments need to be organized. Encourage your child to do the assignments in the order in which they are due. It’s best if they can start with one that is not to difficult and save the harder and longer assignment for last.
- Do a weekly clean-up. Each week you can encourage your child to sort their notebooks and backpacks. Important papers like tests can be stored in a separate file at home.
- Organize notebooks. Help your child keep better track of their papers by separating their notebooks with divider inserts that have pockets. Label each divider according to the subject. It is also a good idea to have a “to do” folder and a “done” folder to help organize and keep completed items or papers that need to be signed by parents as well as notices or worksheets.
- Have a master calendar. Having a large calendar for the whole household will help keep track of all the activities that need to be done and will help eliminate scheduling conflicts. Note the days that your children have tests or projects due. Also list extracurricular activities, school holiday’s, family commitments, and any other major family or school event.
- Household schedule. By establishing a regular homework time, dinnertime, and bedtime, your child will fall into a pattern at home. It’s important that they are well rested before going to school. Limit television and computer play to specific times as well.
- Offer support. While your child is learning how to develop organizational skills it would be helpful to photocopy schedules and checklists and hang them on the refrigerator. Be sure to gently remind your child to fill in the calendar dates and to keep their materials and papers organized. It’s also important to set a good example.
- Prepare for the next day. In order to help each morning run smoothly it’s helpful for your child to pack their schoolwork and books into their backpack before they go to bed. You could take this a step further and ask them to lay out their clothes, socks, accessories and shoes too. I sometimes ask my children what they would like to eat for breakfast the next day and have found that helps things go smoother as well. Be sure and ask them if they will be buying or taking a lunch to school so that you can prepare for that as well.