Let's talk about HOW organization affects young kids (and kids of all ages). Children use organizational skills as they think, plan and respond. Here are a few examples:
- Following multi-step directions: requires mental organization of how to complete the directions, typically in a chronological order.
- Math & Reading: both have rules/connections that are organized into a mental filing cabinet to be pulled out, when needed. When a child is learning to read, they organize certain letter combinations (e.g., "ea" in "each" makes the long e sound, so when a new word is presented - "heater" - the same rule of long e applies). And when a child is categorizing by shape or size in math, they're using organizational skills to sort.
- Homework: requires organization of materials/resources, time and environment.
- Self-care: getting dressed, brushing teeth and taking a bath require mental organization of the resources/items to initiate and complete the task and then prep the resources (e.g., shoes go rack, toothbrush in holder) for the next time they're needed.
So, what can you do to help your child develop the skill of organization?
Visual aides and reminders are key in helping a child increase their ability to organize. Lists, color coding, designated spaces (boxes, folders, bins) with images or pictures provide cues in a child's environment to help them mentally and tangibly organize. The following links include highly visual strategies for organization that are easy and efficient:
This link provides 6 simple steps to increase success in school work both at home and school.
And this link is another great resource for organization in school and other EF skills.
And, if you'd simply like to start with increasing your child's independence to keep organized in their daily routines - check out these free visual schedules.
Take a deep breath and have fun!