At the start of the school year, your child probably had their backpack perfectly organized and ready to go. The same went for their workspace at home, as well as their wardrobe full of school clothes. As time goes on, though, these areas can become disorganized.
This year, though, you want to break the mold — you want your child to stay organized from now until summer starts. It’s possible with the right guidance from you. It doesn’t hurt to set up organizational systems and rewards at home, either.
Here are five tips for doing all the above, thus ensuring an organized year for you and your young pupil.
1. Show Them How to Break Down a Task
Sometimes, a big project or assignment can seem daunting to a child. You can show them how to divide and conquer. Model this behavior at home by breaking down chores into smaller chunks. For instance, if you assign your little one to clear the table each night, explain the process to them. Instruct them to put any food left over on plates into the compost bin. Then, they have to put the plates into the dishwasher. After that, they can wipe down the table.
Show them they can take the same approach for their upcoming academic project, too. Help them divide out their must-dos, then put them in order of priority. Then, they can tackle the entire assignment in small chunks, which makes it so much easier to wrap their minds around. This skill will stay with them as they grow up and become even more involved in their studies.
You might also assign your child to do organization-based chores. Buying groceries, for instance, will have them following a list, which is a great organizational tool. Eventually, the lightbulb will go off — this same sort of system could help them keep on top of their schoolwork, too.
2. Grab a Planner
Even elementary schoolers have a lot to keep track of. In third grade alone, your child will learn multiplication and division, climates, geography and grammar. Such vital subjects carry homework assignments with them. Your little one will need to learn to write these things down so they — and you — know what they have to do after school.
Plenty of schools provide their students with planners. If your child doesn’t have one, though, pick one up and show them how to use it. Even if they’re still young, it’s a good habit to learn now. Chances are, they’ll love writing in their little agenda, too — and this will make it easy for them to stay organized for years to come.
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3. Create a Schedule at Home
Your organizational skills will trickle down to your children. So, if you implement a structured after-school routine, your kids will be able to keep things in order themselves.
After you pick your kids up from school or the bus stop, sit them down for a snack.
Afterward is a great time to do homework — the energy kick from the snack will push them through. After that, it should be time to unwind and play. Then, your family might gather for dinner and a bit of relaxation before baths, reading and bed.
Of course, every family’s schedule will be different. You might have to shift things around for extracurricular activities or your to-do list. But having a set time for homework will help your child stay on top of their assignments.
4. Set up a Workspace
Your child’s homework can take over the kitchen table. It’s not necessarily a big deal if they need to spread out, but it could lead to a mess or forgotten supplies. So, designate a workspace where your child knows to do their homework every day. It might be a desk in their bedroom or a small children’s table in the den. Either way, designating it as the homework space will help your child get into the mindset that it’s time to work as soon as they sit down.
Plus, having a homework-designated space means it’ll be easier to keep track of your child’s books, supplies and assignments. When it comes time to pack their bags for school the next day, they’ll know where to find everything. As a bonus to you, you can keep your kitchen table or other common areas contained, as well.
5. Encourage Organizational Hobbies
Finally, you can supplement your school-centric organizational skills with hobby-related ones. For instance, if your child becomes interested in collecting rocks, you can show them how to sort, classify and arrange their geological finds. They could sort a baseball card collection alphabetically or color-code a stamp selection. Whatever they like to collect, encourage them to organize it well and display it with pride. Then, they can transfer the same skills to their schoolwork for years to come.
Keep It Together — Together
It’s not just mom and dad’s job to organize. Children can learn how to keep things in order, too, and you can guide them in that quest. Ultimately, all of you will be better for it — and their academic goals will be a whole lot easier to achieve with a base level of organization. So, start now and put your child on the path to organization and success. It all kicks off with a checklist, an agenda or an orderly hobby — from there, you’ll have a little organizer on your hands.