Organization is a skill that is crucial to success in school, work, and life. Having routines and systems in place can simplify life, decrease anxiety, and increase productivity. As adults, we rely on organization to get through our daily lives…we all have methods of doing our work, maintaining our households, and parenting our children.
When we think about children, organization seems like the primary responsibility of the parent. After all, we’re the ones who schedule our children’s appointments, get them to sports practice, and make sure they eat a healthy meal. Under the Montessori approach, when children take part in the organization of their lives, it teaches them responsibility and allows them to take ownership of their belongings, their daily schedule, and ultimately, their life. Whether they are in childcare, or in an academic classroom, by giving your children opportunities to develop strong organizational skills to use, you will be setting them up for success in any situation that may arise.
Here are a few ways that you can build organizational habits at school and at home:
- Create “to-do” lists: Giving your children easy to understand checklists of tasks they need to accomplish each day or week can help them track their progress and allows them to have a visual reminder of the items they still need to complete! At the end of the day or week, sit down with your child to discuss what they accomplished, which items on the list were more challenging than others to complete, and what stopped them from completing the list. Celebrate their victories and encourage them to try new ways of accomplishing each part of the checklist!
- Establish Household Routines: Consistency is important in a child’s life. Try to implement regular times for meals and bedtimes and consider limiting screen time when your children are at home. Make sure your children know your expectations for these times…are they expected to set the table or help with the dishes after dinner? Before they sleep, what do they need to complete before their scheduled bedtime (i.e. brush teeth, lay out their clothes for school, read)? The more specific you are in setting your expectations, the easier it will be for your child to successfully organize their time and resources!
- Schedule Time for Homework/Reading: Whether your child is at the age where they are assigned homework or not, scheduling focused time for reading and/or homework can be a beneficial way of helping young students learn to plan their time and make academics a priority. Just like routine mealtimes and bedtimes, routine study times will help students cultivate a healthy work ethic, and prevent them from learning to procrastinate when work needs to be done.
- Prepare for the Day Ahead: Give your child the responsibility of planning for the next day! Tasks like laying out their clothes and shoes for the morning, as well as packing their backpack is an easy way to cut down on morning confusion, and teach children to take responsibility for the outcome of their day.
- Provide Support: Habits take time to build, and as your child begins to take on more responsibility, they will need gentle reminders and suggestions. Make this an enjoyable period of growth, so that your child sees organization as a useful tool, rather than a chore.