Children of all ages need a little help with their organization. As parents it’s your job to help them learn how to manage their responsibilities and their life. That means teaching them organization skills. Here’s how to help children get organized regardless of their age.
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Simple Tips to Get All Your Children (of different ages) Organized
Young Children (Age 1-4)
Young children are initially introduced to the concept of organization with their toys.
You can help a child learn about organization by creating places for their toys. For example, blocks can go into a bin labelled Blocks.
Of course young children cannot read so you might put a picture of blocks on the outside of the bin.
The next step, once storage areas are created, is to teach your children to put their toys away.
Initially it makes sense to make clean up time a game. Consider, setting a timer and challenging your child to put away all their toys before the timer goes off.
If they are successful they can watch a movie, have a cookie or some other reward.
Young School Aged Children (Age 5-8)
As children enter school they begin to have more responsibility.
Homework, getting to school on time and after school activities are all common tasks that young people need to learn to manage.
As a parent you can help by creating a schedule and a calendar for your child.
For example, after school they have a 30 minute snack time and then it’s time for homework.
Post a calendar on the wall in the main living area so your young child can learn the value of calendars and keeping track of their schedule.
Ask them questions like, “When do you have soccer practice?” That way they’ll get in the habit of learning their schedule and being responsible for it.
Older School Aged Children (Age 9-12)
As children grow they gain more responsibilities.
In fact during the later middle school years and certainly the high school years, the schedule can feel overwhelming.
This is a time when children need to be taught two key things. The first is the importance of systems.
For example, how does a child organize their schoolwork so they never miss a homework assignment and have all the materials they need to study for tests?
The second is how to follow through. For example, they might create an effective system to track their homework but if they don’t use it, then they’ll miss assignments.
Some children need more help than others.
As a parent it’s your job to help children create systems by providing the guidance, materials and support.
Try to steer clear of bailing them out when they mess up.
If they miss a homework assignment there are consequences. This will help reinforce the importance of creating systems and following through.
If you bail them out they’ll learn to depend on you instead of themselves.
Teaching organization isn’t easy but it’s definitely an important skill to learn. The better your children learn it the easier their adult life will be.
And of course, do your best to be a good organization role model because children do pay attention to what you do.
Creative Chore Chart Ideas For The Whole Family
One of the keys to keeping the family organized is to create a central information station, aka Command Central.
Now each family has their own needs, demands, and personalities to manage.
Here are a few ideas to help you create an event, errand and/or chore chart that fits your family.
#1 Poster board and Post-Its
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective.
This is a very basic and seriously effective charting process.
Grab a large piece of poster board in a color you’re willing to hang on your wall. Using a ruler, divide it into six rows and seven columns – you’re making a calendar here.
On the top row, write in permanent market, the days of the week Sunday through Saturday.
Buy a different color Post-it pad for each family member. You can also buy smaller colored post-its to place on a larger post it. Each large post-it will have the date 1-30 or 31 depending on the month.
Write each child’s tasks or daily appointments and responsibilities on the post-it and attach it to the proper date.
As things change the post it can be removed and replaced with the updated information. It’s a very fluid and low cost tracking system.
#2 Chalk board/White board
You can find a very large white board at office supply stores.
You can also use chalk board paint and create your own chalk board. As long as your children aren’t prone to erasing the information this is another effective and low cost system.
You can use different color dry erase markers or chalk to keep family member’s separate.
#3 Desktop Calendar
Your office supply store also stocks large desktop calendars.
These provide easy, rip off pages for every month of the year. They provide a nice space to write information.
If you have a smaller family this system can work well for you. Simply hang it on the wall in the main living area of your home and you’re ready to go.
Alternatively you can find many manufactured family organization systems online.
It’s important, before you spend your hard earned money, to make sure the system is right for you and your family. If your schedule changes often and you have a lot of information to track consider the poster board system or a chalk board system.
If you have younger children use colors, shapes, and fun rewards, like stickers, to help them track their responsibilities.
For example, when they do their chores each day they get a sticker placed next to their name on the calendar. When they earn 10, 20 or 30 stickers they get to go to the movies, make cookies or some other motivating reward.
Older children will learn to be responsible for adding their events to the family calendar and for managing them independently.
Younger children will begin to learn the benefits of family responsibility.