Students in this day and age are given more resources and devices to use than the generation before them. Growing up in the "Transitional Technology" Age, my senior Praxis Class was conducted online and when our professor asked us "what do you think about our discussions held on the internet platform", each and everyone in our group said, "it is nothing compared to our interactions face to face. That is where the real learning takes place!"
If you open your child's backpack and see their papers shuffled as if they were trying to avoid a tax audit, here are some simple tips that you can use to help them get back into shape:
1. Provide a time to complete tasks
You've seen it with some families - and I hope that I am not speaking to you, but there are times when children come home, throw their backpack on the floor and start playing with their iPad or video games and command you to bring them something to snack on.
Understand that your child has a hard day and by the time they walk into your house, they have used all of their brain power to get through the last few hours of school without wanting to fall into a frenzy. Instead of having them look like Grandpa sitting in the rocking chair after school, prepare a light snack for them and communicate what needs to be done when. If you have a timer that can be used that could work; if your child becomes a bit more sensitive to alerts like I am, have them listen to their favorite song or play outside for the duration of a television show and they will be centered.
2. Provide a place to complete tasks
All houses are different and there are some parents that subscribe to the kitchen table method of homework and others that have a desk set up in their child's bedroom because it looks great.
Regardless of where you decide to have your child spend the next thirteen years building their foundation for the future, make sure that it is clean and organized for them to begin their work. Yes, my parents had a desk for me when I was younger but to be honest with you, the drawers had yearbooks from the previous year and handwritten letters from my grandfather and other members of my family.
I personally like using the kitchen table because it signaled to us that we were renting out the space from mom until she made us our delicious family dinners:)
3. Establish a routine
I know that most parents over schedule their children. It's great to have some sort of routine so that your child knows what to expect and when.
We shared a nice home cooked meal with my husband's family and (unfortunately) my husband was reminded of the one "go-to" meal that his mom made on Wednesdays. Wednesdays was a hard day for her so she fed the family meat and potatoes and what he said was his most unfavorite day was something that she said was a necessity. "I spend three hours making a great roasted meal on Sundays for the family and know that on Wednesdays - I don't have much time. So that was it. I know that you do that do with your omelette dinners on Wednesdays!".
Yes, a routine a great and make it easy and something that your children will enjoy.
4. Create a chart to show progress (or regression)
Simple charting of what they need to do helps children visualize what it is that they are doing and how to respond to you when they do not.
The truth of the matter is, there is a certain amount of anxiety that disorganized children feel and if you are to take that anxiety and have them see that the task is easier to overcome once you see it, they will understand what needs to be done and learn how to be accountable.
5. Leave necessary materials where needed
When you are at home and the phone rings and you need to jot down notes and cannot find a pen or a paper to write that information down? Think of how your child feels when they begin to do their homework and/or project and every 30 seconds they need to march upstairs or downstairs to grab their supplies.
Ask yourself, "what does my child need every time they begin a project" and have it accessible. They'll need a few pencils, a sharpener, highlighters, sticky notes, a few pens, a digital device to download course materials and all of their books right in front of them. Make it easy for them to be successful and don't get in their way!
6. Minimize materials
If you know me personally, I am motivated by beauty in writing craftmanship. I have access to a certain amount of pens/pencils and rotate them out on a bi-monthly basis so that I can enjoy everything that I have.
I've seen some parents attack this differently (and there is no one solution - there is the one that you have that works for you). One of my favorite clients had a closet of office supplies that he kept for his children (very basic) and some other parents have it stored in the garage or basement. In my industry I've noticed that children love ergonomic materials that they have never seen before and for some reason, this motivates them to write longer and with more purpose.
7. Provide an organizer
There are different types of organizers that are used in the United States however, I feel that they are not necessarily organizers but storage systems. (There is a difference between the two).
As I've become immune to "pouches", I subscribe to a system that has room for me to see my belongings so that I do not accidentally poke myself with a sharpened pencil reaching for a pair of scissors.
Here's an example of what you could have your child use:
8. Have a checklist
Checklists - some people hate them, without them I would still be working on my term papers from middle school.
Keep it fun and simple for your child and if you've had a great week, have them create a checklist for you on the weekends.
- Decompression Time
- Family Time
Nothing more, nothing less and the more you plan - the less you stress:)
9. Label materials
This is important so that your child knows what is their property and what is not. I have to laugh because when working with children, they cannot seem to identify their coats, jackets, books, materials from their classmates because it all looks alike. One piece of advice that I have for children and their parents is to label everything. When their teacher hands them a piece of paper they need to write their name and the date on it, otherwise it becomes useless.
10. Act as a model
Great parents do not just tell their child how to live, they act as the role model. My mother (one of the wisest individuals I know) learned from her mother to put things back in it's place and have a place for everything. (Okay mom, what about your shoes?)
Children will take you seriously if you can walk the same walk. If they are having problems, they need to be encouraged to do better and have the confidence that they can do it.
If you have any questions about how to help your child become more organized or if you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Christine at 404-964-8533 or you can email me at email@example.com .