3 Ways to Help Your Child Have a More Organized New Year

With a fresh start and a good bit of rest, the holidays are a good time to prepare for what happens when the normal schedule starts up again. If your child has difficulty organizing their commitments, homework, chores, or other aspects of daily life, you may want to take advantage of the days before going back to school and implement some helpful changes.
1. Create organized spaces. To reduce clutter that may add to the general chaos in a house, make sure everything has a place, and everyone knows where that place is. If there is just too much, you may consider sorting through old toys/clothes etc. and making a donation to Goodwill.
2. Choose a tool, and stick with it. If your child does not already have one, find a planner, whiteboard, calendar, or checklist that they like- they will be more likely to use it. Teach them how to use it properly, by planning out deadlines for homework assignments, weekly/daily chores, and special occasions/events. Younger children might enjoy using stickers/bingo dabbers to mark off things that they have done, or days of the week. Visual pictures can be used to help emerging readers.
3. Balance reminders with independence. Most adults use some sort of reminder to help them with important items, and children need slightly more while they are developing their sense of responsibility. How much help they need depends on age level and maturity. A grade 8 student who is planning their weekend might need to be reminded to check their planner for homework assignments due the following week, where a younger student may need help in planning a checklist of things to do before Sunday night.
Some people are born organized, but for the rest of us, having the tools and support to stay on top of a busy life is a gift with long-lasting effects.

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