Do you know someone who is extremely disorganized? My twenty-six year son who is now a software developer was very disorganized when he was younger. Perhaps, it was because he was doing something he was not interested in – school. Starting in fifth grade, he did not bring home his homework, nor write his assignments into his school organizer. The night before a big project was due he would say, “Tomorrow such and such is due.” We would have to go to the store, buy the materials and do the project. I say “we” because I was more stressed out about his homework than he was. Fifteen years later, he is now organized. Why now and not at ten? Maturity? Or is it because he is doing something he very much enjoys?
When my two boys were young, I read books about child rearing. When they were in high school, I gave all the books to the library and told the librarian the books did not work.
Here are suggestions for getting organized (maybe they will work for you or your family):
- Break the task into chunks. (That’s hard to do when the project is due the next day.)
- Make a checklist and to-do list.
- Teach calendar and time management skills. Write down improtant tasks in a digtal or paper calendar and estimate how much time each task will take.
- Establish daily routines. (We did that. Breakfast, school, dinner as a family, homework, storytime and then bedtime.)
- Introduce idea organizers. (Schools are now doing more of this: not just outlines but web organizers and maps.)
- Use color-coding: Assign colors to each school subject. Use different colored pens when writing and editing.
- Create fun memory aids. Create silly sentences, songs, acronyms or pictures to remember information.
- Create an organized workspace. (In our family, each boy had his own desk.)
- Check backpacks. (Every weekend, I vacuumed out my younger son’s backpack.)
- Help your child think ahead. At bedtime review plans for the next day.
All of these suggestions take help from parents. I gave my boys a lot of help! The help has paid off or something happened because both boys who had difficulty with reading and therefore had difficulty in school are now doing very well. The oldest one (27 year old) is getting his PhD. in Chemistry. (It took him seven years to get his bachelor’s degree.) The youngest one (25 years old), dropped out of high school, passed the high school proficiency test, has yet to finish college but has a good job working as a software developer for Bookings.com.
I hope some of these organizational skills will help you and your family.
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