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Teaching Organization to Your Kids (Without Going Batty)

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I recently had a great question from a parent about homework and organization skills. The wonderful mom wanted to know if she should expect her student to start and complete homework without nagging from mom or dad. She and I agreed that with middle school around the corner and high school in the near future, she wouldn’t want any part of nightly arguments about homework.

It dawned on me that her child, like so many students, can’t be successful with homework completion if nobody has ever explained what it means to be organized!

You can help you youngster get organized and focused, even if you feel like you are not so organized yourself! Students with attention deficit can also learn to be more focused on a task until it is finished. Remember it is a process ... a skill learned over time.

Each person has their own approach to getting his or her work done, so you are the perfect person to teach your child. As a parent and a teacher, I encourage:

1) having supplies ready (sharpened pencil, dictionary, books, paper)

2) using the same study spot, where there are few distractions (desk, kitchen table)

3) cleaning up and stowing work (“Homework is not finished until it is in your backpack.”)

The Family Education Website also encourages parents to demonstrate using a to-do list, to plan with a master household calendar, and to hold a weekly clean up of study area and backpack. The Eduguide website recommends starting with the homework assignment that will be the most challenging or take the most time for your child to complete.

Remember, organization is about breaking down the bigger task into manageable steps. It takes time for kids — and some adults — to learn this skill. Don’t be tempted to say, “Oh, I’ll just do it for him.”

A student should be encouraged to learn to be successful and independent on his own. When a child successfully performs a task independently, his or her self-confidence gets a boost along with those organization skills.


Help My Kid Get Organized. Eduguide. Web. 7, Sept. 2011.

Ten Ways to Help Your Child Get Organized. Family Education. Web. 7, Sept. 2011.

Reviewed September 8, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

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