Written by: Jennifer Mandato
How many times a week does your child ask you that question? Our kids can be so overwhelmed by homework and flyers that they are unable to keep track of their important papers. They are pressed for time in between school bells, that while the intention to remember where they belongings are is there it is a challenge for them. This can also then lead to a battle between you and your kids. Finding small ways to help your child organize can help alleviate some of the stress not only on you but for them.
Designing a designated work station
When setting up a designating working area for your child it is important it has minimal distractions to help keep them focused. Have them work in the same area to ensure all the supplies they need are readily available to them. This area can be equipped with visual schedules and reminders for them to stay on task and focused. Including checklists for supplies they will need to include in their backpack each day is also helpful. When they are taking breaks be sure that it does not include screen time as that can be a distraction to getting on task and remembering their work. Your child should attend to this area before the start of the school week to ensure they have packed everything and at the end of the week to clean out their folders and backpack to rid them of unneeded papers.
Setting up a work system
In continuing to keep your child organized, it is helpful to sit down and talk with them about materials that would be useful in keeping them on track day to day. What will help their time management skills, support them memory and keep them on task. This could be a multi-subject notebook or a binder with dividers and folders. There are a vast variety of academic planners available as well. Plan a trip to the store with your child and take the time to look at the breakdown of each planner to see which would be most helpful for your child. This will help them plan for daily assignments, long term projects as well as scheduled belongings cleanup. Doing them weekly will support them staying on task as well as not accumulating extra clutter.
While we all have meetings with our bosses and co-workers, we do not have weekly check in meetings with our kids. Do we want our kids to be taking ownership of these skills independently? Yes. Yet we must keep in mind their brains are still growing and developing and they need guidance along the way. Once a week, or more if warranted have a sit down check in with your child. During this time provide support and positive feedback on their progress and accomplishments. This will also be helpful when you have to provide constructive criticism for goals they need to improve on or keep working towards. We all work better knowing we are on the right track and it helps us more available to hearing the things we need to work on. Keep it positive!
While these may seem like three small things they are key to helping your child stay organized!
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles