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Tips for teaching children organization

Developing and teaching organizational skills in children is important for their success.
Developing and teaching organizational skills in children is important for their success.

Being a working mom, you can often find yourself unorganized, and the lack of organization in your life plays an important role in how organized your children are. Developing and teaching organizational skills in children is important for their success in school and in their lives. Here are some tips to helping your children before more organized.

1. Checklists. Adults use to-do lists all the time, and checklists can be used to list class assignments and to remind children what materials they need to bring into class. Crossing off completed assignments also helps children attain a sense of accomplishment.

2. Notebooks. Help your child keep track of assignments by organizing them in a binder or a notebook. A notebook will help your child keep track of assignments and remember what materials they will need to bring for each day’s class. A binder or notebook will also help when preparing for exams. Use dividers to separate courses or course materials. Having “to-do” and “done” sections or folders will help to organize homework worksheets – completed or not - and materials for parents to view and sign.

3. Homework assignments. Before starting homework, encourage and help your child put assignments in order of importance or due date. It might also help to complete easy assignments first and save harder or longer ones towards the end.

4. Study spaces and study time. A designed space for doing homework should be in the same place every night. Supplies and study materials should be close by. The designated space should be quiet and away from distractions. For smaller children, a designated place should allow a parent to monitor and encourage their child. Setting a time every day for studying and homework is a good habit. The best time is usually right after school, and even if a child does not have homework on particular day, that time should be used for reading or working on an upcoming project or assignment.

5. Household schedules and weekly clean-ups. A designated bedtime and dinner time will allow your child fall into a pattern when he or she is at home. Also, a designated bedtime will allow your child to be well-rested the following school day. Try to limit television and computer time to specific amounts or even to weekends. A weekly clean-up will help your child sort through and clean-up backpacks, notebooks, and homework stations on a weekly basis.

6. Calendars and planning ahead. Keep a calendar of family commitments so that you can plan ahead of time for conflicts. Note dates when your child has a major project due or an upcoming exam. Keep track of extracurricular activities so your child does not miss these and they do not conflict with other commitments or with homework time. It is also a good idea to have children pack schoolwork and backpacks before bedtime. Clothes should also be laid out along with shoes, socks and other accessories. This should make mornings at your house a bit easier.

8. Provide support and set examples. Helping and encouraging your child by reminding them and helping them get organized goes a long way. An important part of that involves setting examples by following the same rules you expect your children to follow.