Help Your Child Get Organized
This week I would like to share the article “Help your child get organized”, published by the website KidsHealth.org. Below you can find some highlights and my comments and suggestions on this topic. The full article can be found at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/<wbr></wbr>growth/learning/child_<wbr></wbr>organized.html#.
Easy as 1-2-3
For kids, all tasks can be broken down into a 1-2-3 process. Once kids know these steps — and how to apply them — they can start tackling tasks more independently. That means homework, chores, and other tasks will get done with increasing consistency and efficiency. This will help your child feel more competent and effective. Kids feel self-confident and proud when they're able to accomplish their tasks and responsibilities. They're also sure to be pleased when they find they have some extra free time to do what they'd like to do.
1. Getting Organized means a kid gets where he or she needs to be and gathers the supplies needed to complete the task. Explain that this step is all about getting ready. It's about figuring out what kids need to do and gathering any necessary items. You can help the child make and use a list to check off what's already done and get ready for what's next.
Counselor’s tip: To show steps needed to start on a task you can make lists using short sentences, words and/or visual cues such as pictures or drawings. Even better if you make this a fun moment with your child and involve him/her in this task and actively sharing ideas of what he/she thinks would be the best reminders for him/her.
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 — the hardest part of all! Help kids learn how to handle and resist these inevitable temptations.
Counselor’s tip: You know your child better than anyone. We want this to be developmentally appropriate and accomplishable so your child can be successful. Start slow, with short tasks, and include short scheduled breaks in between. Another suggestion is to use a clock or timer to guide the child. Also, remember to structure the environment so it avoids unnecessary distractions that would make it harder for your child to focus. Again, aim for short tasks and steps, and then increase the time or number of steps as your child progresses.
3. Getting it Done: Explain that this is the part when kids will be finishing up the job. Coach your child to take those important final steps, such as checking the work, reviewing the steps taken, and putting on the finishing touches.
How to Start
Introduce the Idea: Start the conversation by using the examples of tasks, or show your child the kids' article Organize, Focus, Get It Done. Read it together and ask for reactions. Will it be easy or hard? Is he or she already doing some of it? Is there something he or she would like to get better at?
Get Buy-In: Brainstorm about what might be easier or better if your child was more organized and focused. Maybe homework would get done faster, there would be more play time, and there would be less nagging about chores. Then there's the added bonus of your child feeling proud and you being proud, too.
Set Expectations: Be clear, in a kind way, that you expect your kids to work on these skills and that you'll be there to help along the way.
Counselor’s tip: Setting the example and modelling positive behavior is a powerful tool. Show your child how you use some of these strategies in your everyday life. Make the steps you take for completing tasks visible to your child by saying it out loud while you are doing it. It shows your child how learning and practicing organization skills will be important for him/her for their entire life and how all of us had to learn it to become better at doing our jobs. Depending on your child’s age, you can also discuss how people learn differently and there are many ways to apply strategies, so it is all about finding what works best for you.
Make a Plan: Decide on one thing to focus on first. You can come up with three things and let your child choose one. Or if homework or a particular chore has been a problem, that's the natural place to begin.
Things to Remember
It will take time to teach kids how to break down tasks into steps. It also will take time for them to learn how to apply these skills to what needs to be done. Sometimes, it will seem simpler just to do it for them. It certainly would take less time.
But the trouble is that kids don't learn how to be independent and successful if their parents swoop in every time a situation is challenging or complex.
Here's why it's worth your time and effort:
- Kids learn new skills that they'll need
- They'll develop a sense of independence. It's a good feeling that will deepen over time as they learn to do even more without help. From these good feelings, kids begin to form a belief about themselves — "I can do it."
- Your firm but kind expectations that your kids should start tackling certain jobs on their own send a strong message. You reinforce their independence and encourage them to accept a certain level of responsibility. Kids learn that others will set expectations and that they can meet them.
- This kind of teaching can be a very loving gesture. You're taking the time to show your kids how to do something — with interest, patience, love, kindness, and their best interests at heart. This will make kids feel cared for and loved. Think of it as filling up a child's toolbox with crucial life tools.
Full article can be found at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/<wbr></wbr>growth/learning/child_<wbr></wbr>organized.html#