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Developing organisational skills in children - some tips

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 11:59 -- admin

Parents have a big role to play in helping their child gain the organisational skills necessary for success, both at school and in later life.

Parents have a big role to play in helping their child gain the organisational skills necessary for success, both at school and in later life.

Here are some suggestions for how to begin:

Introduce your child to the concept of ‘checklists’

First start making a ‘to-do’ list for yourself, it may be chores for home, chores for office etc. Tell your child how great it feels each time you put a tick against a completed task. In this way you can teach them that organisational skills are of benefit to everyone. They will gain confidence in the method as they see you using it to organise your own work and life.

A visually impaired child will need to make their list in the way that best suits them: they could use a Braille slate, a cassette recorder or a computer. In order to ensure that the list is used, rather than being made and then promptly forgotten, you could give rewards, such as preparing a favourite dish or going out for a treat, when all the listed activities for a day or week are completed.

Prioritise work

Sit with your child while they list down all the homework to be done but be sure to include fun activities such as time to play or time for a favourite TV or radio show as well. Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number the assignments in the order in which they are to be done. Children should start with one that is not too long or difficult but also avoid saving the longest or hardest assignments until last.

This will bring enthusiasm in the attitude of your child, as they will look forward to catching up with friends after finishing that maths homework.

Study space

Identify a quiet place in your house with few distractions and turn it into a study area for your child. Provide a table, chair and book-rack. Encourage them to always study at the same place. Let them feel this is their corner and they can decorate it the way they want. This will boost confidence and creativity.

Set a designated study time

Tell your child, that a certain period of the day must be reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school, as most children benefit from time to unwind first. So, decide the time in consultation with your child and then make sure they stick to it.

Even if your child does not have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day's lessons, read for pleasure or work on an upcoming project.

Organise study aids

This task can be included in a reminder list for the month. And as per your child’s wish, after each week, encourage them to organise their notebooks, cassettes, book racks etc. Help your child to do this and explain what you are doing and where you are putting things.

Practice a household schedule

Remember that as a parent you are the most important mentors for your children, who will emulate very easily what you practice at home. Thus, try to establish and stick to a regular dinnertime and a regular bedtime.

This will help your child fall into a routine and help them know what to expect when at home. Routine plays an important part in increasing a child’s confidence. Children with a regular bedtime also go to school well rested and ready to learn. Try to limit television watching and computer play to specific amounts of time during the day.

Keep a master calendar for the family

This should list all the family's commitments, including schedules for extra-curricular activities, days off from school or work and major events at home and at school. Note dates when your children have big exams or due dates for projects. This will help family members keep track of each other's activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.

Prepare for the day ahead

Before your child goes to sleep, check that all their homework is finished and their school bag is packed. Clothes should be ironed and laid out in the same place each day, complete with shoes, socks and accessories. This will cut down on morning confusion and allow your child to prepare for the day ahead.

Reinforcement may be required from your side as a parent, while your child learns to be more organised and self-sufficient.

Positive reinforcements always help, so when they do things well, give them a friendly pat at the back or surprise them with tickets for a favourite movie as a reward.

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