Does your child organize well? As a parent, you want to feel confident that your child makes the time and the space necessary for things like chores, homework, and taking care of their possessions.

Does it seem that you’re always playing catch-up with your child? Are you constantly reminding him or her to do things? Do you get calls from school about missed work?

You can help your child organize so that you can both feel more on track.

Here are the Five Steps to Help Your Child Organize:

1. Start With A Positive Attitude.

Get excited. Getting organized is an energizing thing to do that will help both of you feel confident and relieved. If you go into planning with a worried, critical, or otherwise negative attitude, your child will know.

2. Get A Grasp on Time.

Get time on your side! Make daily and weekly plans, and stick with them. Enlist your child to make suggestions about what time of day and how much time things might take. Help him or her stay accountable, and approach it as an experiment that can be modified together when you check in on how things are working.

3. Activate Healthy Communication.

Practice these three things to keep communication working for you: 1. Honesty, 2. Kind and curious questions (that require more than one word answers), and 3. Eye contact.

When you speak to your child, you are directly impacting his or her self-esteem and view of the world. You have a lot of power to shift your child’s experience toward more productive conversations about how to help your child organize life.

4. Utilize the Internal Reward System.

You don’t need punishments to get your child to listen. You certainly don’t need to beg your child to get something done (and please don’t!). You don’t even need candy!

If you inspire your child’s internal reward system, your child will be excited to do well. Plus, it builds overall self-esteem.

So, set goals with your child. Failure is not to be punished, it’s to be used a opportunity to brainstorm potential solutions. Use a positive reinforcement connected to the task, such as laying together on your child’s newly cleaned bedroom floor and having a tea party.

5. Tackle Obstacles The Smart Way.

You can’t do everything, so try working on one goal at a time and tracking progress. If there are too many things filling up your day to make it happen, make some changes and pick priorities.

Obstacles other than time and energy may include additional anxiety, low-self esteem, or frustration that your child is experiencing. Sometimes kids disguise depression or an emotional issue beneath disorganized behavior. If you want your child’s life to be organized, find resources to help your child succeed.

When a new issue arises at home or at school, start back at number one and work your way down.

You’re not alone. There are people in your community that can support you as a parent and support your child as a growing person.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for resources and for more information about understanding your child and helping him or her get on track toward a more peaceful and productive life.

Bonus organization tip: You will help your child organize if he or she sees healthy organization skills modeled. Are you unorganized? Or, do you have expectations for organization that are to high? Consider that your behavior may be discouraging your child. Let your actions do the work for you as you purposefully model discipline and time management to help your child organize.

Bonus communication tip: There’s a lot for a child to manage when navigating multiple people in one household – or, in many cases, multiple households. Practice healthy communication with with your co-parent, whether you are married or divorced. Be sure that you aren’t placing too much responsibility on your child by expecting him or her to communicate better than you do yourself.

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