How to teach your grade-schooler organization skills

Many kids struggle with basic organization and time management. You may need to work with your grade-schooler on these skills.

Here are seven ways to teach your child organization.

1. Recognize “wants” vs. “needs.”

  • Goal: Sort out and prioritize what your child wants to do vs. what your child needs to do.

  • Example: Your child does homework first. Playing with friends comes later.

2. Take one out, put one in.

  • Goal: Keep messes from becoming overwhelming.

  • Example: Your child has to put away what’s already out before taking out something new.

3. Categorize, label, and sort.

  • Goal: Keep things neat and orderly.

  • Example: Your child looks at toys, groceries, or homework to figure out which things go together.

4. Picture the day.

  • Goal: Know the order or events in the day.

  • Example: Your child plans out the day by drawing a picture of the day’s schedule as a comic book.

5. Make daily checklists.

  • Goal: Keep track of what needs to be done.

  • Example: Your child lists out things to do, checks off what’s finished, and transfers unfinished items to the next day’s list.

6. Keep a family calendar.

  • Goal: Plan for the future.

  • Example: Your child checks the calendar nightly to know what’s happening tomorrow.

7. Break big projects into smaller steps.

  • Goal: Make big projects easier to manage.

  • Example: Your child breaks a science project into steps — first coming up with an idea, then listing materials needed, and then gathering supplies before doing the experiment.

Get more help by exploring low-cost, simple tools to help with organization. Try visual schedules to help your child with everyday routines. Watch a quick tutorial on how to organize your child’s backpack.


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