Teaching Your Child the Importance of Organisation
When we think about what we want to teach our kids, some lessons aren’t as simple as the others. The facts of the world and certain values can be explained relatively easily. When it comes to skills and traits like organisation, however, it’s something they have to embody, not just something they store in their head. There are ways to build the habits and the skills that help your child become more organised, however, and here are a few examples.
First of all, the sooner you can create a routine for your child, the better. The school day already includes parts of that routine. You set a time to wake up, a time to get out the door by, and then a time to do homework after school is over. But, by creating a more thorough routine that also covers the nighttime rituals of bath, book, and bed, and even structuring time for them to play, they become more mindful of time management as they get older. They get used to structuring their own time and finding the routines that help them stay on top of their growing responsibilities.
Does your child rely on you to remember and put together everything they need for the day? When they’re left to organise themselves, do they always forget or lose something? Most children don’t have the best future planning skills (and the same can be said for many adults.) In both cases, a to-do list or a checklist of everything they need with them or everything they have to do in the day can help stay on top of those needs. Not only does it help them internalise those needs so that they are more likely to remember them, but there is a positive reinforcement mood upon completing a checklist or to-do list. It makes it feel like they have completed or achieved something, which makes them more likely to do it in future.
- The missing, lost and forgotten
A checklist can help them remember everything they need to pack for school, for instance. But what about when it fails and when they forget or lose something like part of their school uniform? You can help them prepare for that event by teaching them how to use name tags and personalised items. That way, when those items are found, they are more likely to be returned to them. It might seem like a relatively simple solution to us, but the truth is that, to your child, it’s actually a little mind-blowing and a whole new lesson on preparing for potential risks
- Make sure they feel some responsibility
Motivation is crucial to ingraining a lesson. A sense of personal responsibility, that it is them, not you, who has to ensure they are organised, will motivate them. For that reason, it’s a good idea to teach them to be responsible for little things first. Give them age-appropriate chores as they get older. Otherwise, when it comes time to organise their own life and to be a little more independent, they are going to be lost. Too many parents lament that their kids are lazy or can’t do anything themselves, all the while having paved the path for them without teaching them responsibility. Of course, the flipside of responsibility is reward, so giving little treats or “gamifying” a points system leading to a reward can help them learn about responsibility all the quicker.
- Use calendars for long-term planning
When we’re young, our sense of the future doesn’t go much beyond what we’re doing later today or tomorrow. That’s why so many parents have to answer the same questions about when so-and-so’s birthday party is or when they are going on a holiday. By getting them a calendar, helping them put down dates they need to plan towards, and showing them how to count the days, you can avoid those questions. But you can also show the importance of planning for longer-term projects or goals. When they can see those days counting down, they get the idea of deadlines and that the sooner they start breaking up big projects, the easier it is to get them done in time.
Some kids are going to have more trouble than others getting organised. If your lessons aren’t sinking in, you need to think about what the obstacles are. If they have trouble keeping focus, for instance, you might be better off starting small and getting bigger as time goes on.