Raising a child is, quite possibly, the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do. Not only do you have to care for their basic survival needs and keep them safe, but you also have to think about developmental aspects.
For example, how do you teach your child to be organized, so that they can live a successful life?
The Importance of Organizational Skills
Being organized isn’t something that most of us are very good at. But if you study the most successful and efficient people in your life, you’ll find that many of them have perfected this life skill. And there’s a reason that successful people tend to be more organized. In fact, there are multiple reasons:
- More independence. Children who are organized learn to embrace their own responsibilities and develop strong, independent thinking.
- Less chaos. An organized life is a less chaotic life. Whether it’s physical possessions or obligations on a calendar, being organized allows your child to become the architect of their own daily lives.
- Lower stress. Living in a messy and chaotic environment is highly stressful. By getting organized, you teach kids to take control of what they can. This leads to less stress and anxiety.
- Healthier lifestyle. Research shows that people who are less stressed actually live healthier lifestyles. This is all the more reason to help your child cultivate organizational skills.
Ways to Develop Organizational Skills in Your Child
While you can’t force a child to become organized, you can reduce their risk of becoming a slob. Here are several ways to help develop their organizational skills:
- Chunk Down Tasks
When a child has five or ten things they need to do, it’s nearly impossible for them to wrap their mind around everything. And when it comes to individual tasks with lots of steps, it’s easy to get lost in them. One way to ease this challenge is to break large tasks down into smaller sub-tasks.
For example, let’s say your child has a school project that requires them to do a project on one of the 50 states for a year-end project. You could help them get organized by working together to break it up into stages like choosing a state, researching the state, gathering information, writing the report, practicing the presentation, and submitting the project to the teacher.
- Packing for a Trip
Packing for a trip is a great opportunity to show your child how to be organized. Rather than doing the packing for them, give them the task of packing themselves. (You can then make sure they have everything they need.)
Make packing fun by letting your child pick out their own kid-friendly luggage. Then ask them to count each day they’ll be gone (which helps them determine how many clothing items they need to bring). Show them how to fold clothes and organize their luggage.
- To-Do Lists
When a child is old enough to read and write, they’re old enough to appreciate a to-do list. Teach them the power of organizing thoughts by writing them down on a slip of paper. This will help them be less forgetful. It’ll also give them the satisfaction of being able to cross items off a to-do list.
- Daily Routines
There’s power in predictability. Children thrive when they’re given daily routines that they can depend on day after day. And while you don’t have to plan a child’s entire day out for them, you can give them predictable morning routines to set them up for success. In doing so, you teach them how to add structure to their days.
- Weekly Planners
Once a child enters middle school or high school, they should have a weekly planner. This allows them to organize their days and weeks – writing down homework assignments, practice times for extracurriculars, and social events.
Adding it All Up
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Much of your child’s penchant for organizational skills will be dependent on their personality. But if you implement these suggestions, you’ll at least give them every chance to be successful in this area of their life. And along the way, you’ll set them up to be more independent, less chaotic and stressed, and happier. Not bad, right?