How to Teach Your Child Organization Skills
Is your child an organized student? Do you open their backpack or bookbag and find everything arranged neatly and all the papers kept nicely in a folder? Or does this sound more familiar, you open their backpack to find a history book, and you can’t find a history book (that was forgotten at school), but you do find last week’s lost homework, ripped and torn papers, a note from the teacher from 2 weeks ago and part of lunch they did not finish?
Apparently, children are not born with an organization gene. As parents, we have to teach them how to be organized students. Okay, I am not perfect at organization either, but nobody gets to look in my purse (it might not seem organized to you, but I can find everything except my car keys when I’m late).
What does a “model” organized student look like? What habits do they have to keep them organized and productive every day?
8 Habits of Organized & Productive Students
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1. They use a planner.
When my oldest child started kindergarten, the elementary school he attended gave every child a student planner/agenda to keeping track of assignments and for parent/teacher communication. At first, I thought it seemed a bit much for kindergarteners to have planners, but I see now it’s important to develop the habit of using a planner early (right when you start school).
Using a student planner will keep your child organized. They will know their assignments every day. They can develop plans for longer assignments like book reports (i.e. set deadlines to complete reading the book, writing a rough draft, writing the final draft and time to proof read).
Give your child a planner as soon as they start school and start teaching them to use it every day.
2. They set goals.
Organized students set goals. They have a game plan and know what they need to do next. Learning how to set goals early in life is a skill your child will continue to use in adulthood.
What type of goals should you set? Set goals for grades/academic achievement. If your child only has a “C” in math, set a goal to get a “B” by the end of the semester. Then include steps for how you will achieve the goal (i.e. extra math study every day, memorize math facts, study with friends in a group once a week).
3. They keep their room and work space neat.
Organized students will have a clean study desk, they keep their work area clear to complete their work. If they have items on their desks, they keep everything neat. Pens and pencils will be kept in a holder or desk organizer and not scattered everywhere.
Neatness is a challenge for many children (mostly because their idea of neat and mom’s idea of neat are not the same). Teach neatness to your children when they are young and expect them to pick up after themselves.
4. They allow time to be creative.
Creativity helps open our eyes to see things in a new and different way. It’s important for children to take time every day and be creative. When your child takes time to study and be creative, they will also see how things are put together and work. Understanding how things work will help them stay more organized.
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5. They don’t spend all their time watching TV or playing video games.
Organized and productive students know that watching too much TV or playing video games for hours and hours is not a good use of their time.
They will find other fun things to do like build with their Legos, read books, play with their dolls or just play outside. When children play freely, they come up with all sorts of imaginative stories and narrations for their play time. These creative and imaginative stories are thinking outside the box and will help them be more organized in their day to day thinking.
Additionally, exercise, sunshine and free play time will also make them more productive and focused in their school work and study time.
6. They get plenty of rest.
To be an organized and productive student, your child needs rest. Many children need between 8-10 hours of sleep every night to be active and alert at school during the day.
When children (and adults) are sleep deprived, they will struggle with focus and productivity will fall. Don’t let your child convince you they should stay up late. Be extra careful that tweens and teens are not hiding video games and electronic devices under their covers just waiting for you to go to sleep or leave so they can start playing.
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A full night’s rest will make a huge difference for your child.
7. They eat healthy.
A healthy diet is essential for children and parents to being productive and organized. If you have a high sugar or high caffeine diet, then likely you will struggle with highs and lows of energy. Always seeking more sugar to gain more energy.
Add more fruits, veggies and protein to your child’s diet. They will be more alert and productive when their blood sugar is stable, not and spiking up and down all day.
8. They use organizing tools.
Organized students use tools to stay organized. They don’t just stuff every paper and book into their backpack. They have durable plastic folders or 3-ring binders to save their important papers. They also use pencil cases to keep all their pencils and pens together and easy to find when they need them.
Start today teaching your child to be organized and productive.
Even if your child was not born organized and doesn’t always seem to be the most productive child with some help from mom, your child can learn the habits of an organized and productive child. Start by getting your child an agenda or planner (and make sure they use it), teach them how to set goals (for school, for sports and activities and for life), help them learn to keep their work space and desk area clean and neat.
Encourage your child to take time to be creative and don’t stay in front of the TV or play video games in all their free time. Model a healthy diet for your child and emphasize the importance of sleep (you don’t stay up all night either). Last, give your child tools to stay organized.
How do you help your child be productive and organized? What other habits does your child have that keeps them productive and organized?