Help Your Child Get Organized This School Year

Check out these tips to help your kids stay organized with everyday tasks – including homework! With help and some practice, kids can develop an effective approach to getting stuff done. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

For kids, all tasks can be broken down into a three-step process – getting organized, staying focused and getting it done. To get started, introduce the 1-2-3 method and help your child practice it in daily life. Even something as simple as brushing teeth requires this approach. Eventually you can apply it to a more complex task, such as a book report.

1. Getting Organized
Explain that this step is all about getting ready. It’s about figuring out what kids need to do and gathering any necessary items.  Help your child make a list of things like: Choose a book. Make sure the book is OK with the teacher. Write down the book and the author’s name. Check the book out of the library. Mark the due date on a calendar.

Then help your child think of the supplies needed: The book, some note cards, a pen for taking notes, the teacher’s list of questions to answer, and a report cover. Have your child gather the supplies where the work will take place.

As the project progresses, show your child how to use the list to check off what’s already done and get ready for what’s next. Demonstrate how to add to the list, too.

2. Staying Focused
Explain that this part is about doing it and sticking with the job. Tell kids this means doing what you’re supposed to do, following what’s on the list, and sticking with it.

It also means focusing when there’s something else your child would rather be doing! While working on the report, a competing idea might pop into your child’s head: “I feel like shooting some hoops now.” Teach kids to challenge that impulse by asking themselves “Is that what I’m supposed to be doing?”

Explain that a tiny break to stretch a little and then get right back to the task at hand is OK. Then kids can make a plan to shoot hoops after the work is done. Let them know that staying focused gets easier with practice.

3. Getting it Done
Explain that this is the part when kids will be finishing up the job. Talk about things like copying work neatly and asking a parent to read it over to help find any mistakes.

Coach your child to take those important final steps: putting his or her name on the report, placing it in a report cover, putting the report in the correct school folder, and putting the folder in the backpack so it’s ready to be turned in.

Once kids know these steps, and how to apply them, they can start tackling tasks more independently. That means chores, and other tasks will get done with increasing consistency and efficiency. Of course, kids will still need guidance, but you probably won’t have to get after them as much. These skills are not only practical, but they will also help your child feel more competent and effective. Kids feel self-confident and proud when they’re able to accomplish their tasks and responsibilities.

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