A lot of what you learn as a child carries over into your adult life. You learn how to do something a particular way and it’s the only way you know how to do it. Many people weren’t taught proper organization skills as children. Meaning they have a hard time applying those skills as an adult. That’s why you should teach organizational awareness to children now so it helps them for years to come.
Having strong organizational skills is the foundation for a structured life. When you have a solid set of organizing skills you’re able to prioritize tasks, approach them with confidence, and follow through. Anyone with a little bit of organizational awareness knows this. But few will actually take the necessary steps to improve it.
Why? Because they weren’t taught as children. By the time you’re an adult you’re set in your ways and learning a new skill — which takes time and effort — is not as intriguing as it once was.
But for children, organization plays a huge role in many aspects of their lives. Play, personal management, social interaction, and academic performance are all impacted by their organizational skills. It’s important to note that organizing is not a one size fits all concept. Children, like adults, will need those skills adjusted to fit their specific needs.
I know you’ve heard many times over about the power of a good to-do list. It allows you to remember things that need to get done. And it saves you time from trying to remember what needs to get done. Teaching your child to keep a daily to-do list is a great way to start their organizational journey.
Sit down with them every day and write out what they need to accomplish. Then get them in the habit of checking off the task once it’s complete. This will get them excited to cross off tasks as well as feel a sense of accomplishment. Depending on the age or developmental stage of your child, you can also use pictures or drawings instead of words.
Children are more prone to run around in 20 different directions. It’s their nature. That’s why it’s important to teach them how batching similar tasks can save a ton of time. If your child has chores, express how it’s a good idea to batch similar chores together. For example, they should pick up all their toys before putting them away. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re done and then finding another six things in another room. This skill will help them notice similar tasks and batch them to conserve energy.
If your child is too young for to-do lists, journaling is a great resource to get them started with. There’s a benefit to writing down things that happened. It preserves memories and releases unwanted thoughts or feelings from your head. They can even journal their to-do list.
Encourage them to not only recap their day but to write down any important things to remember. Do they have a school concert coming up? Have them write it down. Add any tasks associated with it like practicing the song twice a week.
You may be wondering how cooking is a gateway into organizational awareness. The answer is simple. Cooking teaches you many things. Among them are following directions, measuring, sorting ingredients, and time management.
A great way to get your child involved is to have them help with prep. You can also meal plan together and have them help you write a shopping list. If cooking isn’t your child’s passion, try baking. That requires precise measurements and timing.
One of the best things you can establish is a nightly routine. Specifically, a nightly tidy-up. Many professional organizers will say systems are what keep your home tidy. And one of the most popular systems is an evening routine that includes cleaning up.
Have your child walk around the house with you. Put anything that doesn’t belong where it is away in its proper home. This will teach them the importance of sorting and returning things to where they belong. Start small. Five minutes then gradually add time. You don’t want this tidy-up to exceed 15 minutes. Remember, this is a quick task, not a chore.
Before you begin teaching your children these skills, consider their learning curve and memory. Every child develops at their own pace and it’s important to accommodate those needs. If a method isn’t working, don’t force your child to keep up with it. Simply adjust it until it begins to stick.
Organizational awareness is about making the allure of organizing a skill they want to learn as it will benefit them for years to come. Make it as fun as possible while also implanting the skills they’ll need to remember.
There are many ways poor organizational skills can affect children. Here are the top four:
Teaching children organizational awareness will help them overcome these above-mentioned effects. Some won’t be avoided altogether, but their skills will help them move past it faster. This way they can focus on positive outcomes and rewards.
If you were someone who picked up organizational skills late in life the last thing you want is for your kids to fall into the same trap. That’s why it’s important to start teaching them organizational awareness as soon as possible. Don’t think you need to force all this information on them right away. Start small, find what works for them, and adjust accordingly. Remember, what works for you may not work for your child so it’s imperative that you adjust.
There are plenty of resources you can turn to for help. Your local bookstore or library will have books about teaching your child organization. You can also check out the following blog posts that I wrote about the subject:
Were you an organized kid or did you learn organizing later in life? Are you trying to teach your child organizational skills or are you letting them wing it? Is there something you would like to teach your child but don’t know how? Comment below.
Photo: Markus Spiske
November 3, 2021