Good Organization Skills Can Increase School Success and Alleviate Stress in School Aged Children:
Starting at a new school or even just a new grade can be exceedingly stressful for children. There may different classmates to make friends with, a new teacher with a different teaching style or expectations than the previous year, and certainly increased academic work than experienced over the long summer. All these changes equal stress. Some children are better at dealing with the mental pressure than others. If your child is constantly losing papers, forgetting assignments and his/her backpack is a mess, it may be a sign that they are overwhelmed. One way to help them better cope is to help your children acquire better organization skills. This needs to start at home with an orderly environment and the best people to implement good organization for their children are the parents.
- Organization affects learning in four key areas:
- Following Directions — Following directions requires kids to focus on both the task that needs to be done, plus come up with a plan to do it — which requires mental organization and planning.
- Learning to Read — Young children use organization skills in subtle ways when first learning to read. They must remember the uppercase and lowercase version of a letter along with the sound the letter makes. Basic phonics requires connecting sounds to letters. Mental organization skills are required in order to retrieve from memory the sound that each letter makes.
- Literacy Learning — Literacy is the combination of reading, writing and grammar skills. For kids to read and write, they have to keep track of many things at once. Good organization is essential for success at this.
- Math — If a child has organization issues, being able to store and retrieve the rules and facts of mathematics can be challenging. Source: Morin, Amanda. www.understood.org "4 Ways Kids Use Organization Skills to Learn" (2017-08-09).
As parents, we all want to help our children succeed and reach their fullest potential. Luckily, school anxieties or organizational issues that may be impeding performance can be reduced by increasing organization at home. You can set the stage for success and make good organization a habit from the moment your children walk out the door on their way to school.
- Have everything they need for school organized by the door. Entryway organization is essential. This could simply be be a box where the backpack and school supplies are kept along with your childs jacket and shoes, or a more elaborate hall tree system with designated cubbies. An organized mud room area can be especially helpful if the household contains more than one child that needs help. By providing a designated place to put the coat, shoes and backpack when they walk in the house at the end of the day, it will help ensure that they have everything they need when they leave for school.
- Clean out the backpack every day if necessary but, at a minimum, once a week. The schedule will depend on your individual child's age and work load. Set up a filing system for papers that need to be kept so that they are easily located and throw out the rest to eliminate clutter.
- Set aside a designated homework area. It should be away from the television set. This could be a desk, but it doesn't have to be. The most common place to put the desk is in the child's bedroom, however, this is not always a good idea, as it can make it difficult for some children to let go of the days' stress when all the work is sitting on the desk next to the bed. Furthermore, if the child shares a room, it can be difficult to keep the bedroom distraction free. Some children perform well with a desk near the kitchen, where they can receive supervision and help if needed from a parent preparing dinner. A little used formal dining room can also serve as a good place for homework, especially if the child needs room to spread out. For younger children, an organized craft table permanently set up in a designated craft area might work better for the type of homework assigned.
- Provide shelves where they can keep the materials that are not kept in their backpack organized. Not everything will fit in the backpack or desk drawer. Eliminate the panic of looking for lost library books and other reference material by having a place where they are kept. That way, you always know where to find them when needed. A bookcase or wall unit works great for this purpose. Keep your child's height in mind and position the shelves at an easy to see and reach location. Attractive boxes or baskets can be used with the shelves to hold small items and school supplies.
- Keep to a consistent schedule. Help your chidren develop good habits by having a consistent schedule for meals, homework, after school activities or social time and bedtime. It sets expectations and will help your children know what they have to do, when and how much time they have to do it. They will learn that they can't ditch school work in favor of play time with a friend, but there are other more appropriate times when there is room for socialization. Even when they ask anyway, children are less likely to have a meltdown when they already anticipate that the answer will be no.
- A chalkboard, whiteboard or household calendar will help keep everyone on schedule. It's very popular to store all appointments and reminders in the calendar app on your phone. However, unless you have a way to send push notifications to everyone in the family, this is only accessable to the person with that particular device/account. Younger children frequently don't have their own smart phone. You can still enter appointments on your phone calendar app for yourself, but try using an oversized white board, calendar or old fashioned chalkboard to enter important event reminders for the family. It can help kids stay on top of their schedules and events.
The benefits of good organization can not be underestimated. Good habits, when established at an early age, tend to last a lifetime. The organizational skills you teach to your children when they are young will not only help them with school during their formative years, but are also relevant to the workplace and can help them in their adult careers. As an added bonus, households tend to run more smoothly when they are organized efficiently, providing you with greater relaxation and less stress in your own life as well.
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Closet Works is Chicagolands' largest and most experienced provider of custom storage solutions. Since 1987, we have been helping homeowners by creating custom closets, pantries, bookcases and more to help create a better, less stessful lifestyle. Great ideas to "Organize Your Life" and examples of our entryway organizaion and office/homework solutions can be found throughout our website. For more information on Closet Works call toll-free at 800-4-CLOSET (800-425-6738).
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