How to help your child get – and stay – organized
14th January 2021
Keeping your child organized is challenging but there are ways to help and encourage them to stay more up to date. A lot of kids have messy rooms and cluttered backpacks. Most will eventually clean up and organize because they don’t like the look of it or they are just tired of looking at it. (or because they’re told to do it)
Some people see kids as being lazy or defiant. But many kids really do struggle to keep organized and have a clear headspace. Some people think that being organized is being neat, that is a part of it but organisation is more than keeping track of things. It’s also about organizing your thoughts, managing your time, planning, and knowing how to get things done.
Kids who struggle with these skills may have trouble:
- Setting priorities
- Setting goals
- Making decisions
- Doing things in the right order
- Making lists
At home these things can lead to:
- Not completely homework
- Taking a long time to get dressed and ready for the morning and night
- Having trouble telling a story
- Forgetting to take important things back to school and home
Having difficulty with organization typically isn't about laziness. People sometimes judge kids for behaviour they don't understand. When kids are struggling, it can blow their self esteem, being judged can make that even worse.
When kids have a hard time with organisation, it may just be a matter of development. Kids development organisation skills in many different ways. Every kid has a different way of learning how to keep themselves and their mind organised. Not getting enough sleep can really impact on the kids behaviour and the way they learn.
There are a lot of ways you can help. First, let your child know there’s nothing to feel bad about, and that you don’t think your child is “messy”. It also helps kids to hear two things. First, that you know they want to be more organized and second, that you’re going to find ways to help. Let your child know that you want to help them.
An important first step is to look for patterns. In what ways is your child disorganized? When do you notice these difficulties the most? Take notes on what you’re seeing at home so that way you can see what they need help on. Here are some things you can do to help your child:
- Get them a board that lists a routine
- Spend an hour doing something that could help them focus
- Ask a teacher how you could help your child (they would be able to provide some work
to do at home)
- Clear their surroundings for a fresh headspace
- Take breaks between tasks
- Use color coding
- Introduce organisers
Ask their teachers to give you some tasks and some work to do with your child. You could color code these to start teaching them how to slowly have a clear mind while learning. Assign colors to each school subject. For example, green folders and notebooks may be for English and blue for math. Taking breaks in between tasks is very important for the child, between every task let your child have a 15-20 minute break. This also helps in a way when they are learning they have their break to look forward to. This will also give your child a free headspace.
If your child isn’t up for something to help them to stay organised then you can always reward them. Our badges would be a great example to reward your child with as our badges show that they have done an excellent job and that they should carry on learning to stay organised. The website is linked here https://www.schoolbadgestore.co.uk/ Stickers could also help as it also shows achievement to your child. This would really make them feel proud.
Getting them into some type of routine from the moment they wake up would be very useful. Getting a board where you're able to listen to things in order would be something that your child would find useful. Even the really basic tasks could be written down so that they remember to do that. The little things they will always forget so it being written on a board can be very useful. Even grabbing a to do list for them to use would be another alternative. You can always purchase routine books and to do lists online or even use the printable ones that you're able to print out which also makes it easier for your child to understand.
Weekends are meant for relaxing but give your child small tasks to do every now and then to keep them in that head space would be a great way to keep them organised throughout the week, so they cannot forget the tasks and it will keep them in that routine.
To get them organised for school you can do weekly backpack check-ups. This is where every Friday, saturday or sunday you and your child go through their backpack and see what they need to take back or what needs to go in the bin as this will then get them ready for school in the morning as they have an organised backpack with everything ready to go.
When your child is going to bed, review the next day with them. Talk to them on what they are going to do and what they need to do, this will give them a fresh head space when waking up as they know what they have to do. This can make them feel more secure. Together you can plan how to handle things if a change comes up in the schedule.