Do you get cross every morning trying to get your child out the door to school?
Does you child always forget their football boots/PE kit/toy for show and tell?
Are you always having to remind your child about what they need on each day?
You are not alone! This is something that many parents struggle with and I often get parents asking me how they can help their child improve their organisation.
Here are my top tips that may help your child be more organised:
1. Stop reminding your child. Every time you remind your child, they don’t have to remember things and so never learn to. I think we all start reminding children of things because they keep forgetting but it’s then a constant battle! Even 4 year old children can be expected to put their shoes away.
2. Try a timetable for the morning routine using pictures of what you want them to do. This will help to improve their memory and organise their thoughts into a sequence. Try 3 pictures for pre-schoolers with things like get dressed, brush your teeth and put on your shoes. As they get older you could also include what they need to take to school each day.
3. For younger children, develop their memory by allowing them to follow instructions and praise them for collecting things for you. Add to these instructions as they improve. For example, ‘can you get mummy the red bowl from the table?’ Pre-school children may also like helping you to collect the shopping using a list. I used to give my daughter a pictorial list of 4 or 5 items when I was shopping with her and her baby brother. She would look out for these items and it would give her something to do during a rather boring task!
4. Use positive reinforcement. Try to catch them doing something you want them to do like remembering their lunch box rather than getting cross when they forget. This will help them to remember to do this again.
5. Reward charts work well with Primary aged children. You may want to work towards a weekend reward when they remember everything they need for a whole week. Treats such as an extra play in the park or a visit to the cinema are appropriate. I wouldn’t personally reward with food but you could include small toys or stickers instead.
6. Let your child forget their things sometimes. This is a really important actually. If your child is in secondary school and perhaps get a detention for forgetting their PE kit twice in a row, it is really tempting to go home and get their kit for them. However, this does not teach your child accountability. Believe me, after that detention, they won’t forget their kit again!
7. If your child has a barrier to learning such as Dyslexia, ASD or DCO (Dyspraxia) they will struggle with their organisation and they will need extra help. A list in their bag of what they need each day may help them sort out their things. They may also respond well to coloured folders to put different work in.
I hope you have found these tips useful. Do you have other ones to add?