Helping Children Get Organized, Stay Organized

I remember how easy it was to be organized during my school days. The distractions were minimal. We woke up at 5.30 am and had an established routine that began with prayer, helping in the kitchen, getting ready to go to school – and then, returning home, getting involved in homework, some play time, some more chores, an early dinner, prayer and bed at 9 pm. Except on Wednesdays when I eagerly waited for Binaca Geet Mala to air at 8 pm. Life seemed over-simplified and easy.

Helping Children Get Organized, Stay Organized

Thanks to the invasion of technology in our lives, life has now become much better in many ways – but at the same time, complicated. There’s so much to do. Lifestyles have changed dramatically. The number of things we juggle has increased phenomenally and it is all we can do to keep up without letting those stress levels shoot through the roof.

For school-going children, especially, life seems more hectic than it should be – so much that they have to manage their time very cleverly to make sure they fit in everything they want to do on any given day.

As a teenager’s Mom, I see frequent instances of overwhelm. In the midst of school, projects to complete and email, assignments to write, chores to do, future dates to remember – it is so easy to get all worked up. Add to that, the sad feeling when hobbies must take a backseat. The worst thing is committing everything to memory and forgetting something crucial.

It does not have to be that way when we find a way to be organized and try and stick to it as much as possible.  Here are just some ways we stay organized in our family:

A Family Calendar

At the beginning of each year, we get a year planner with the entire year in view. Here we mark and track everyone’s important to-do and dates to remember. The fun part is holding each other accountable and discussing it together. I’ve noticed how eager we are to remind each other!  It also helps us keep pace with what we’re all doing.

Checklists

We each have our own to-do list. My son has a personal blackboard that hangs by his wardrobe and it guarantees that he sees it at least three times a day. I prefer to chalk in my own checklist for him on this rather than ask and embarrass. I leave it to him to plan and do, and am happy as long as it is done within a specific time. Until then, I don’t nag. Really. This helps him organize his time.

Some Non-Negotiables

I grew up with the principle of “get ready the night before”. When I started work, I actually had my week’s clothes planned and ready. When my son started school, we established certain habits that he follows even today. Homework must be completed immediately after school. No late night stuff and setting off a chain reaction that includes lack of sleep and groggy mornings. Everything needed for school for the next day must be packed and ready to go. Everything except lunch which I cook in the morning. But we have a meal plan for each day of the week that, in turn, helps me plan my grocery shopping and be prepared.Which brings me to….

…Meal plans

While this helps me manage my own time as a work-from-home Mom, it also introduced my son to the concept of preparation and planning when he began school. We used to be challenged about what to pack in that lunch box – since they had to carry two, one for the ten minute break and another for lunch. And then, we had to be prepared with a healthy snack after he returned home from school. In fact, I owe it to my son for the brilliant idea of making a time-table for meals. It helps me plan the whole family’s meals, involving everyone in the process. Making the list of groceries is also a fun affair since we are all prone to laughing at the most trivial stuff. Great family time spent together. Today, my son is adept at making the grocery list.

Having a place for everything

This one is tricky because it is all too easy to plan, but not so easy to stick to. But it is worth the effort to ensure that everything is put back in its place. It means clearing desks after homework, filing assignments and projects in their binders, putting the washing in its designated place, getting washed clothes back in their closets, books back in their shelves… and so on. Much easier to find things that way.

Finally, staying organized is about harmonious coordination. When we fail to plan, we plan to fail. And then, there is always the joy of accomplishment when we check things off a list. It ensures that we go to bed with a smile on our faces.

What methods do you use to stay organized? Please do share!

Vidya Sury is a happy work-at-home Mom who relishes the joy of parenting and growing up with her son. She is a freelance writer, business blogger and social media enthusiast and loves DIY, Coffee, Music, Photography, Family, Friends and Life.  She believes that Happiness is a DIY Project. She blogs at www.vidyasury.com and tweets as @vidyasury.

  • Nidhi

    Great tips Vidya – I am still a bit in the ‘go with the flow’ stage ..need to catch up on organizing skills! Sigh!

  • 🙂 Thanks Nidhi! I am pretty sure you’ll do the right thing a the appropriate time! Going with the flow, playing it by ear is usually a good idea. It has worked for me, too!

  • Renuka

    Great going Vidya! And very timely tips! Thanks!

  • Wow, I loved your pointers! It does help to reduce stress by being better organized. I do lists at the beginning of the week for my professional work. I also like making grocery lists and menus to plan better. I am trying to inculcate making time tables in kids. Haven’t succeeded so far. But nice posts!