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Checklists are a good way to keep kids focused. On the cupboard door, for instance, you might have one that your child can scan before he leaves for school:
- Brush teeth
- Sunblock on face
- Take book bag
- Take sports bag
- Don’t forget your hat!
Of course a list only helps if the child checks it, so be prepared to remind him to look at it. He’ll soon get in the habit.
A to-do list can be helpful. A good tip is to divide the list into tasks that are very important and must be done now, and tasks that must be tackled sometime. Two different coloured highlighter pens will do the trick. This helps children see what they have to do, estimate how long things will take, and prioritise the tasks.
And there’s the wonderful feeling of crossing off tasks as they get done!
A schedule of the week’s activities will help the whole family. Draw up a grid with the days of the week running along the top and the kids’ names along the side. List all the activities and include home times and who’s doing the lifts.
ORGANISE THE ‘STUFF’
Take control of the clutter in kids’ rooms. The less there is to organise, the better the chances things will remain organised for longer. Be ruthless! One box of 12 sharpened pencil crayons is better than a shoe box full of bits and pieces. Get rid of anything that’s broken, too small or never played with.
Categorise things and have a place for everything – sports gear here, art supplies there. Make sure children understand the system (in fact, get them involved in creating it). Encourage kids to put things back.
There are all sorts of clever storage systems available. It may be helpful to invest in some stackable clear plastic boxes, as you can see what’s inside. Shoe boxes and ice cream tubs are great for small items, like stickers, stationery and collectables. Resealable sandwich bags are perfect for beads etc.
And don't forget to mark clothes and stationery with the child’s name.
ORGANISE STUDY TIME
Once kids get to an age where homework volumes increase and exams start, time management is needed. You’ll probably need to be involved, at least until he gets the hang of it and sees the benefits.
Most teachers give homework to be done by that subject’s next lesson. With many subjects it can get pretty complex! Help him list what he has to do every day and when it’s for, and then to decide what to do first. A word of warning: there is a tendency to leave the harder or longer assignments for last, but that’s a policy that has left many of us with a Sunday afternoon panic!
When it comes to setting up aregular study routine or a specific test study schedule, help him draw up a study plan so he feels a sense of ownership and is more likely to stick to it.
Decide how much time per day should be allocated to studying, divide it up between the subjects, and include breaks, favourite TV programmes etc. It’s often helpful to limit it to a subject or two per day. Remember to help them rework and intensify the schedule well in advance of exam time.
Help him organise himself for a project.
Here’s an example of how you might help a 10-year-old organise himself for a project – creating an Egyptian artefact:
The first step is about deciding what needs to be done. He needs to break down the project into smaller tasks.In this case, it might include researching the various types of artefacts, deciding which one to make, making a rough sketch,figuring out what materials will be needed, sourcing the materials and getting down to making it.
Once he has broken the task down, the next step would be to consider the due date and work out what needs to be done when. Always leave a little extra time for unexpected complications, or for final checking and fine-tuning.
Finally, while he’s actually doing the project and going through the steps he has identified, encourage him to check off what he’s done, and look towards what is next.
OVER TO YOU
We would love to here how you have taught your kids to be more self sufficient. Email Your Family and let us know!