At times, parenthood feels like an endless battle against chaos. From messy rooms to backpacks stuffed with papers, our children sometimes appear to have never heard the words “neat” or “tidy.” When that chaos is resulting in missed assignments, forgotten lunches, and lost homework, it can be difficult to help them get organized. An article from the Child Mind Institute has some suggestions to help you teach your child these essential skills.

Whether your child has ADHD,executive functioning issues, or simply has never been taught how to get organized, it’s not enough to tell them to try harder. Getting organized requires doing things differently and developing new habits. Organization practices aren’t a “do it this way” solution, but a “find out what works for you.” That means some trial and error, some setbacks, and some persistence is needed to help your child get organized.

Remember that getting organized is a process, not a formula, so be prepared to them learn from the approaches that fail, discover the things that could be improved, and continue to do the things that worked. Other suggestions from the article include:

  • Identify weak spots
  • Use tools
  • Don’t get bogged down in planning
  • What actually works is better than what is supposed to work
  • Sustainability is key
  • Stop beating yourself up and start moving on

The article also notes a few universal tips to being organized that almost always apply to whatever system your child develops:

  • Write it down
  • Put the same thing in the same place every time
  • Make easy-to-lose things bulky
  • Breaking overwhelming tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces will help you get things done
  • The simpler the better

For more information on all of these tips, check out the full article at the Child Mind Institute. Helping your child get organized is like enlisting them on your side in the battle against chaos in your household.

Photo © 2011 by Kristina Alexanderson under Creative Commons license.