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.