Helping Children Learn Organizational Skills

A sign posted on the entry door to a private school for boys is creating a stir on social media. It states that parents bringing lunches and homework forgotten by their kids should turn around. The school wants the youngsters to learn about self-reliance instead.

As the school suggests, perhaps parents aren’t doing their children any favors by bailing them out, so to speak. It may be best to help youngsters learn how to stay organized, so you can say goodbye to manic mornings and forgotten homework and lunches.

If you want to help children learn to take responsibility, you can start in the kitchen. Even a 3-year-old can clear a plate from the table and set it on the counter. Next steps for little ones could include putting their dirty clothes in a hamper or laundry basket. How about putting apples or containers of yogurt in the refrigerator after their parents go grocery shopping? Older children can easily help do the dishes or load an empty a dishwasher. They can also learn to keep the mess to a minimum in their bedrooms.

Family experts are full of organizational ideas, like these:

  • Create checklists for getting out the door on time each morning.
  • Train your children to select an outfit the night before school. Some experts recommend setting aside time on Sunday evenings to select an outfit for the entire week.
  • Buy your child a kid-friendly and easy-to-use alarm clock.
  • Make sure your child knows where his or her shoes are by putting them away in the same place each day.
  • Let your children know they are responsible for packing their backpack each morning.
  • Keep jackets, shoes, school sports equipment and backpacks in the same location, if possible.
  • For days when you’re running late, keep an emergency pack in the car. It can be filled with hair clips and brushes, a few dollars for school lunches if there was no time to pack them and gum as a last resort if there was no time to brush teeth.
  • Put a reminder on your exit door about lunches, homework, keys, permission slips or whatever your children may need during the day.
  • Set aside specific time for homework. Some parents give their children 30 minutes of free time after school, followed by homework time before dinner.
  • Teach your children to make a simple breakfast, and store those breakfast items in spots they can easily reach.
  • Assign a specific job to each child. For example, one child can feed your pet; another could walk the dog. Or, one child could make toast for the family, while another pours juice.

Simple chores can become routines that help youngsters enjoy staying well organized. And, you’ll be teaching them lessons and habits that will last a lifetime.

How are you helping your kids learn important organizational habits?

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