Ruth Spivak: Kiducation


The Secret To Helping A Disorganized Child

Lots of kids leave jackets, lunch bags, and homework at school.

Do you see crumpled papers with pungent gym strip in your child's backpack? Is tonight's homework buried deep inside, or was it left at school again? Parenting a disorganized child can be extraordinarily frustrating. Disorganized kids aren't just messy and absent-minded. Unfortunately, they are often students who fall behind due to misplaced papers and late assignments. 

You can help teach your child to be more organized. Really! I found this one piece of advice from parenting expert Dr. Borba very enlightening:

"The secret to teaching organizational skills is to take on just one troubling issue at a time, find a simple solution that fits your child, and then stick to it until that new organization system becomes a habit."

Pick the worst offender among your child's disorganization. JUST ONE! Together with your child, find a way to irradiate that one bad habit. So obvious in hindsight. I wish it had occurred to me sooner, but I was probably too overwhelmed with chaos.

After you've picked the ONE troubling issue, here are some strategies that may fit your child:

Using a daily "to do" checklist.

 Using an accordion file-folder to place homework due in various subjects.

 Hanging a wall-sized calendar to keep track of activities and deadlines. 

 Designating a study space with supplies and materials.

 Preparing for the next day with schoolwork packed, and clothes laid out.

Disorganization doesn't have a one-size fits all solution. Take all the unique qualities of your child into consideration, then mix with a dose of patience, persistence, and cooperation. One day a glimmer of light will appear over the chipped-away mountain of chaos.