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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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.
Ginny Osewalt is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.