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Organisational Skills

Tips for Developing Organisational Skills in Children

Developing good organisational skills is a key ingredient for success in school and in life. Although some people by nature are more organised than others, anyone can put routines and systems in place to help a child become more organised. The following list of strategies can be used by parents to help their child develop good organisational skills.

Conduct a weekly clean-up

Children should be encouraged to go through and sort out book bags and note- books on a weekly basis. Old tests and papers should be organised and kept in a separate file at home.

Organise (Prioritise) homework assignments

Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number assignments in the order in which they are to be done. Children should start with the one that is the most important (i.e. doing math sums will be more important than decorating or colouring your book).

Set a designated study space

Children should study in the same place, where supplies and materials are close at hand. This space doesn’t have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few distractions. Young children may want their study space near a parent. This should be encouraged, as parents can then have the opportunity to monitor progress and encourage good study habits.

Use checklists

Help your child get into the habit of using a “to-do” list. Checklists can be used to list assignments and household chores and to remind children to bring appropriate materials to class. It is recommended that children keep a small pad or notebook dedicated to listing homework assignments. Crossing completed items off the list will help children feel a sense of accomplishment.

Set a designated study time

Children should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school, as most children benefit from time to unwind first. Parents should include their child in making this decision. 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.

Keep organised notebooks

Help your child keep track of papers by organizing them in binders or a file. The purpose of a notebook or diary is to help keep track of and remember everything for each day’s classes and to organise the material later to prepare for tests and exams. Use dividers to separate class notes, or colour-code notebooks. Having separate “to do” and “done” folders helps organise worksheets, notices and items to be signed by parents as well as provide a central place to store completed assignments.

Create a household schedule

Try to establish and stick to a regular dinnertime and a regular bedtime. This will help your child fall into a pattern when at home. Children with a regular bedtime go to school well rested. Try to limit television watching and computer play to specific amounts of time during the day.

Keep a master calendar

Keep a large wall-sized calendar for the household that lists the family’s commitments, schedules for extracurricular activities, days off from school 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 bed he/she should pack schoolwork and books in their bags. Clothes should be ironed and laid out with shoes, socks and accessories. This will cut down on morning confusion and allow your child to prepare for the day ahead.

Provide necessary support while your child is learning to become more organised

Help your child develop organisational skills by photocopying checklists and schedules and taping them to the refrigerator. Give children gentle reminders about filling in calendar dates and keeping papers and materials organised. Most important, set a good example.

Carina van Vuuren


Article Courtesy of:
ADHASA (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of Southern Africa)