Mom, I Have a Project Due Tomorrow!
It’s Sunday night and you are looking forward to relaxing after a busy weekend when your kid comes rushing into the room, “I have a project due tomorrow and I can’t find my instructions. Do we have any poster board? Where are my markers?” And the race begins…
So often I get calls from parents who just don’t understand why their child can’t be organized, why they can’t plan ahead and it takes them hours to do homework. Bottom line is this, executive skills, such as organization, planning and time management are not fully developed until adulthood. Add to that, whatever is taught in school is inconsistent from teacher to teacher and is explained based on how each teacher thinks and learns. Organizing isn’t “one size fits all”. Creating systems that are tailored to your child’s thinking and learning style will make it easier for them to get and stay organized. In return, their organization will be one less stress in your life!
The brain is naturally divided into four areas, with each one performing a specific function, and everyone comes into this world with an advantage in one of these areas. We can see this by looking at the different ways kids act, react and interact with their world. For example, some kids want to do things themselves and excel at finishing what they start. Other kids may be so drawn to connecting with their friends that relationships triumph over most everything else. Then there are the kids who seem to have their heads in the clouds all the time, day dreaming about their next big idea. Finally there are the kids that show no reserve when it comes to telling others what to do. Identifying your child’s natural thinking style is the first step in creating organizational systems that provide a feeling of safety, support and confidence because they come so easy to them! It can also provide great insight as to why you and your child might see things so differently when it comes to organization.
Another important aspect is how your child learns. This is not only significant when it comes to teaching organization, or anything else for that matter, but it is a huge plus when helping your child study. There are three major ways people learn: visually (by seeing), auditorily (by hearing) and kinesthetically (by doing). Flash cards do no good to a child who learns auditorily, unless of course they are reciting what it on the flash card. And making a kinesthetic learner sit while studying or doing homework is like hitting the off switch on their brain!
It sounds like a lot to know, but you really do not need a PhD. Two great books to start with are “The Organized Student”, by Donna Goldberg and “Every Child has a Thinking Style”, by Lanna Nakone.
Organizing is a life skill, not just for school. Inspiring this life-long skill in your children begins with a basic understanding of how they think and learn. To quote Maria Montessori “order is one of the needs of life, which, when it is satisfied, produces a real happiness”.
Kathy Jenkins of Come To Order is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Family Manager® Coach and Love & Logic® Parenting Facilitator/Coach. She is passionate about helping families simplify and come to order in every aspect of their lives, not just with their stuff. As a mother of two school-aged boys she is also on a mission to help students get organized for academic success! You can learn more about Kathy at her website www.ComeToOrderVA.com.