A big part of organization is good preparation. When you create designated storage, play and study areas for your child, you're building a group of interrelated elements that will define a working system to keep her organized. These tips will help:
- Ask your child for suggestions about how to organize his space and belongings. Make it fun. Participating in the process will help fix the idea of staying organized in her mind and make her more enthusiastic.
- Use notes, stickers, plaques, flags and posters to label areas for specific objects and tasks.
- Consolidate storage by type if you can, like craft supplies in one area and games in another to make it easy to remember what goes where or intuit where a new item belongs.
- For small items, employ colorful plastic bins or boxes for convenient storage and organization, but keep it simple.
- Use drawer and shelf organizers.
- Provide as much space as possible to minimize having to rearrange and restack things too often.
Once you have the space prepared and understand the types of tasks you want to focus on, like keeping toys and clothes picked up and getting homework done on time, sit down with your child and come up with a workable schedule.
Break activities into a series of manageable steps, and assign a general timeframe to each step. The older a child is, the more precise the schedule can be. This is a good opportunity to talk about rules, too, like finishing homework before starting any recreational activities. Post the schedule in a prominent place where you can both refer to it.
Track your child's progress every day to make sure he isn't falling behind. There are bound to be lapses, but being persistent will show him that you're serious. Although getting and keeping your child organized can take time and tenacity, he'll be learning responsibility and independence. He'll also learn that time can be an effective tool he can use to achieve his goals.