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Organizing Skills


Organizing Is a Skill

Organizing isn't a talent you're born with, it's a skill you can learn. When we teach children how to organize, they become more successful at home, at school and in their relationships with their friends. Think about it as an adult - we all know someone who's incredibly disorganized and never learned these skills. Maybe you feel the same way! But we don't want our children to be like that!

When You Are Organized, You Have Better Interpersonal Skills

If you train your mind to be more organized or streamlined, you'll be less scatterbrained. This looks different for everyone, but when you're organized, you're better able to prioritize activities and tasks. You work to achieve goals, know when you're done, can plan your tasks and use time management to get things done efficiently.

The same is true for children who've chores, homework and household responsibilities to complete. They've more time with their friends because they've completed their tasks efficiently!

You Are Less Stressed When You Are Organized!

When everything is tidy and organized, you're less stressed. You know this from your own experience, right? And research confirms it too! That's why I'm a big proponent of getting organized. I've seen how much it reduces anxiety and stress and ultimately impacts your performance. The same is true for your children. So you can and should start practicing these skills early on.

Three different studies have shown that clutter in your backpack, desk or locker is linked to poor performance in school. That's why it's so important to organize your children's home life. With so much e-learning happening in the coming year, creating a system of order is key.

Another study I found was about organizational and learning skills in the upper grades. It was found that poor organizational skills lead to poor test preparation. This makes sense - if you aren't organized, preparing for a test becomes difficult. They tracked the children with poor organizational skills and found that they were less likely to attend a four-year university. Let's start by giving them the organizational skills they need for school and life.

Why Is Organization Important?

Organization is an important aspect of play, language, social interaction, personal management (e.g., taking care of oneself or bringing all belongings home from school), and academic tasks (e.g., homework, project planning and execution).

Organization is typically a skill that needs to be purposefully modelled, supported by meaningful structures (e.g., journals or visual charts, labelled storage bins), and reinforced by realistic routines (putting away one toy/task before starting another).

Organization is important for developing a structured and consistent approach to tasks at all times, but it is even more important for children with planning and sequencing difficulties, language problems, attention disorders, and learning disabilities.

Use Free Resources To Help Your Children Get Organized

 Flowcharts are so good for organization because they give children a streamlined picture of how to think about tasks.

How To Improve Organization?

  • Use visual cues (either pictures or word lists) of what to do or pack to help remember the tasks or steps of the routine.

  • Establish and stick to a routine: routines help memory and also enable the child to break a group of tasks into small chunks.

  • Break large tasks into smaller ones wherever possible, even if it seems silly (this not only encourages skill development but also reduces anxiety).

  • Practice makes perfect: Continuous practice is often required to learn and retain a task that has already been mastered.

  • Proven self-learning strategies, including self-questioning, that the child can use independently in all environments and with all types of organizational tasks.

  • Visualization: Encourage the child to visualize the tasks or the environment to determine what items are needed or what steps are next.

  • Think in reverse: If it is difficult to know where to start, start with the goal in mind and work backwards to see if the elements or steps can be recalled in reverse order. For some children, this gives the task a functional sense, making it easier to organize.

  • Pack in advance: Pack for school the night before when there is less time pressure from the morning routine.

    What Activities Can Help Improve Organization? 

    • "To Do" lists: A helpful way to keep track of what needs to be done. Get your child to tick off activities as they complete them. Remember that this can also be done with pictures instead of words.

    • Use a diary: Help your child get into the habit of writing down important information and appointments in their school diary, which they present to a parent every night.
    • Put activities in an order: Discuss how the order in which tasks are done contributes to the outcome as the child understands why they often remember better. Ask your child to write down the steps of an activity so they can plan how they will complete the task.
    • Assign tasks that require sorting or categorizing: Grocery shopping, cleaning out the dishwasher, sorting photos, cleaning out a closet, and other tasks that require pre-planning, making lists, or putting things in order are good choices. We tend to remember things by categories, but the child has to learn them first!
    • Cook together: cooking teaches you how to measure, follow instructions, sort ingredients and manage time - all key elements of organization. Also involve your child in meal planning by asking them to help you make a shopping list.
    • Use bins and organizing systems for cupboards: Help your child to physically organize their room. If there is a place for everything (that he has chosen himself), it will be easier for him to find items and keep things tidy. Build a "tidying time" into the daily routine to keep things organized.

    Stay Organized :)