Written by Sandra Chambers, guest writer

 (Sandra Chambers offers a popular podcast called ‘5-minute parenting’ and is the author of Fingerprint Devotions: 40 Devotions to Help You Realize You Are a Kid Uniquely Created by God for a Purpose (Ages 8-12). (Ambassador International ©Nov. 2023)  and Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet: How to Revitalize Your Prayer Life @2014.)

 

One of the biggest issues I heard as a former teacher was, “My child is so disorganized. How can I help him/her?” When I was teaching, I worked with LD students at the elementary and jr. high level. I am also the mom of a daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD in second grade. I can tell you from experience that organizational skills are so important in helping your child succeed in school and in life.

 

The following organizational tips can be adapted for both students in a traditional school setting and children who are being homeschooled.

 

TIP #1 –  A Designated Space

There needs to be a designated space in your home where your children work on their schoolwork or homework. If you homeschool, you may be fortunate enough to already have a room or designated area. Creating this designated area helps kids know when they enter that space, it’s time to focus on schoolwork or homework. Your children may have their own desk where they work, or it may be a central area such as the kitchen table. For kids that have attention issues, a separate space is best, but you can create a foldable cardboard divider for a table, creating a private work area for each child. And if your child is easily distracted, some earphones may help.

TIP #2 –  A Designated Storage Space

Having an area to store all things related to school is also important. This can be as simple as each child having a book bag or perhaps you can have a storage bin for each child where they keep all their school-related items. As a teacher I heard many excuses for why children did not have their homework completed when it was due. The classic “the dog ate my homework” was only one of some very imaginative excuses. One way to help younger children or ADHD children keep track of their completed schoolwork or homework is to give them colored folders where they can organize their work by subject. They can even draw pictures or put stickers on them as a visual cue to which subject is inside the folder.

I remember when we homeschooled our daughter, her reason for wanting to go to a public school in junior high was so she could have a locker! That may seem silly to us but find out what is important to your child. Perhaps they want to choose their own bookbag, or a special-colored storage bin or even a small portable locker if you have room. Having them help choose how to organize their supplies and schoolwork will help motivate them to stay organized.

TIP #3 – A Family Organizational Calendar

Keeping a central family bulletin board and/or calendar is very helpful to keep track of all school/family related activities. The more family members, the more crucial this becomes. Writing down everyone’s upcoming activities, commitments, projects and needed supplies will help everyone get an overview of the week or month and prevent last minute stress. As children get older, give them their own planner or calendar, and encourage them to fill in their upcoming activities, plan out their schedule for completing a project, etc. Teaching your children the importance of planning ahead is a step towards helping them develop independence.

 

TIP #4 – Establishing a Routine

Establishing a regular homeschool or homework schedule helps establish consistency and routine. Helping your child develop  strategies to adhere to their schedule and complete tasks is important. A younger child will need your help to break down their tasks into smaller, incremental steps with some reward as they complete each step. Small rewards such as stickers, a play break or game break, a favorite snack etc. will help them to keep focused and finish tasks. Older children can participate in setting their own schedule with rewards they choose. If your child helps in planning their schedule, they are more likely to “buy into” it and have a greater chance at keeping it. Teaching your child how to set goals and complete them will benefit them in college and in their future job.

 

TIP #5 – Your role in helping your children develop organizational skills will be related to their ages.

Younger children will need more of your help than older children. The earlier you start helping your child develop organizational skills, the easier it will become. Even very young children can be taught to pick up their toys at the end of the day and put them into a designated container. For young children, model the behavior you want so they can see what is expected. Help them pick up their toys, but gradually back off until they can do it themselves without your help. The same is true with homework. Be careful about getting roped into doing the homework for them. Allowing them to fail is not a bad thing. It teaches them to be resilient and try again. Give encouragement and praise when they do. As they develop these skills they will also develop more self-confidence and independence.

 

And above all—pray for your children—not only for their day-to-day needs, but for their future, that they will become all that God created them to be.

 

P.S. My daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD earned a master’s degree, has a successful career, and her house is more organized than mine!

 

Bio:

Sandra Kay Chambers has a B.A. in English and an MA in Education, specializing in Learning Disabilities. She taught elementary, middle, and high school students and was the director of a clinic for testing and tutoring students with Learning Disabilities. Sandra is the author of a new devotional for kids: Fingerprint Devotions: 40 Devotions to Help You Realize You Are a Kid Uniquely Created by God for a Purpose (Ages 8-12). (Ambassador International ©Nov. 2023)

She is also the author of an adult book, Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet: How to Revitalize Your Prayer Life @2014.

Discover more about Sandra on her website: https://sandrakaychambers.com/  

Click here to listen to The “5-Minute Parenting” Podcast by Sandra K. Chambers