Developing good organizational skills is the key ingredient for success in school and in life. Although some people by nature are more organized than others, anyone can put routines and systems in place to help a child "get it together." Here's a list of strategies you can use to help your child become a more organized learner.
1. Use Checklists: Help your child get into the habit of keeping a "to-do" list. Use checklists to post assignments, household chores, and reminders about materials to bring to class. Crossing completed tasks off the list will give him/her a sense of accomplishment.
2. Designate a study space: Your child should study in the same place every night. This doesn't have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few distractions. All school supplies should be nearby. If your young child wants to study with you nearby, too, you'll be better able to monitor progress and encourage good study habits.
3. Set a designated study time: Your child should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school- most children benefit from time to unwind first. Include your child in making this decision. Even if he/she doesn't have homework, that time should be reserved for reading for pleasure, practicing handwriting, working on an upcoming project, etc..
4. Conduct a weekly clean-up: Encourage your child to sort through backpacks and notebooks on a weekly basis. Old papers should be removed and kept in a separate place at home.
5. Create a household schedule: Try to establish and stick to a regular dinnertime and regular bedtime. This will help your child fall into a pattern at home. Children with a regular bedtime go to school well-rested. Try to limit television and computer play to specific periods of time during the day.
6. Prepare for the day ahead: Before your child goes to bed, he/she should pack schoolwork and books in their backpack. The next day's clothes should be laid out with shoes and accessories. This will cut down on morning confusion and allow your child to prepare quickly for the day ahead.
7. Create a household calendar: Keep a large calendar for the household that lists the family's commitments, school schedules, extra-curricular activities, days off from school and major events at home and at school. Note dates when your child has due dates for projects.
8. Provide needed support while your child is learning to become more organized: Help your child develop organizational skills by photocopying checklists and schedules and taping them to the refrigerator. Gently remind them about filling in the important dates and keeping papers and materials organized. Most importantly, set a good example.
Adapted from "Tips for Developing Organizational Skills in Children" by the CCLD