Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life Well Lived: Balancing the Organization

BlogHer asks:  How do you help your kids develop good organizing skills?

Like with everything else in parenting, as the girls get older, the problem has shifted. It's not easier or harder; it's just different. We've gone from dealing with the toys and accompanying parts to organizing homework, art projects and our schedules.

My 9th grader has 13 classes a week, which includes 5 different art classes and 2 dance classes.  For every class, she needs different supplies. Teaching them about organization at this point has more to do with self-preservation. Between the three of us, we have 22 classes per week and there's simply no way I can take all that on by myself!

From the time they were young, I've told them that homework isn't done until everything's put away and ready for the next day. I'm a firm believer in doing as much as we possibly can the night before so that we don't have to think so much in the morning.That includes gathering the items needed for each class, picking out clothes, and for my older daughter, making her lunch.

We talk about our schedule several times throughout the week. We have powwows on Sundays to talk about the coming week, and then we talk about it again in the car, and then again the next day and the next...I've found that I generally have to tell them multiple times before they hear it! Both of them are slowly developing the habit of adding things to the calendars on their cell phones, but of course, it remains my job to see the entire picture. Both of their schools provide journals for writing down homework assignments, and also post the information online.

Of course, there have been times when they've forgotten something. My oldest daughter forgot her portfolio one day for her art class, which she didn't realize until we were 5 minutes away (and 45 minutes from home). At that point, there was nothing I could do for her. Nor did I particularly want to. She had to suffer the consequences, and she's gotten much better since then at making sure she's done her prep before leaving the house.

Basically, I look at it the way I look at most things when it comes to parenting. There are their problems, my problems, and our problems. I should only get involved when it becomes my problem or is a collective problem. When it's solely their problem, they will learn the lessons most effectively through their own trial and error.

Read more about teaching kids organization at BlogHer. And enter their sweepstakes for an iPod Touch.

1 comment:

BigLittleWolf said...

"Their problems, my problems, and our problems."

It's a wonderful approach, April. And also part of surviving when you're doing it all on your own.

Still, it's hard to define the line between theirs and mine at times. Or more specifically - when you see the many (future) consequences and possible paths, you might opt for a "my problem" now, to avoid an "our problem" in the future.

No one right way, is there... But I believe the exercise of assessing what is theirs from what is ours is on the money...