Organizing for Kids: Checklists

organizing for kids, checklists for kids, teach kids to organizeBeing organized is not a talent that you are born either able or unable to do. Being organized is a skill, one that must be learned and practiced. It’s something we can teach our kids to do so that they grow up knowing how to manage their time, their space, and their things.

Setting up checklists for kids empowers them to do things on their own, without having parents remind them, and helps regular tasks become routine. This is all a fancy way of saying that you won’t have to repeat yourself and your kids will still know what they need to do.

When I worked as a Center Director for Sylvan Learning Center, the main problem I saw for middle schoolers was organization and time management. They lacked this skill not because they weren’t capable of being organized but because no one had taught them how to organize. They’d had parents laying out their clothes, packing their backpacks, and telling them what to do their whole lives. In elementary school, they’d also had one teacher for most of the day and had not had to balance multiple classes, competing due dates, and materials for different subjects and classrooms. Now that many high schools have an alternating block schedule, ensuring that young people know how to keep up with their stuff and have the right thing at the right time is even more of a challenge.

Introducing checklists when kids are little builds a foundational skill that will serve them throughout their entire lives. They start by learning how to keep track of themselves and their things. Checklists can be for a time of day like a morning checklist to make sure they get ready on time and get to school with everything they need. As kids get older, they can be for a homework calendar, or charts to track their chores or their goals.

You can start as early as two or three with picture checklists that include images of clothes, a toothbrush and a toilet. All those things you find yourself reminding kids to do over and over can be written down so that they have a way to remind themselves. Start now.

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