How to Help Your Disorganised Kids

How to Help Your Disorganised Kids

Kids playing with their new storage bins

It can be challenging to parent a disorganised child. School work goes missing, backpacks are misplaced, and the quest for a left shoe can cause everyone to be late in the morning. These frustrations can make it more difficult to not let frustration colour your perspective. You have to wonder, if this is deliberate or if your child simply lacking organisational skills. For many kids, it is simply that they haven’t yet developed the skills to maintain track of many things at once. You can help your child learn to be more organised by taking these steps.

Schedules

The world is a wide and mysterious place. The exposure to so many sounds, sights, and concepts can be disorienting. Try to simplify things for your children so they are less likely to be overwhelmed. This is where schedules are important. Develop set times for bedtime, studying, leaving for school, etc. and then stick to them. While children will push back against schedules, they are very important. Simply setting bedtimes and not allowing your children to get back up again repeatedly will help them get more sleep. Being better rested will, in turn, help them be better able to remember and focus on what they’re doing. Always having the same times to get up for school and leave will help your children to be ready when it’s time to go.  

Keep It Positive

If you’re complaining a lot to your children about them being disorganised or not paying attention, you could be making the situation worse. You don’t want it to become a battle of wills where your children will try to live up to your lowest expectations. You also don’t want to convince your children that being disorganised is who they are. Keep things positive and try to reward them when things go right. You don’t want to only give them attention when they’ve done something wrong.

Organise to Be Organised

Part of the problem with misplaced items is there is no particular place for them to go. Avoid wandering shoes and rucksacks by designating a place for each item. Buy name labels for each child to go on each storage bin, shelf, or hook so it is clear whose items go where. Ideally you should set aside places near the door for the things your children need for school so you won’t be scrambling looking for shoes, jackets, or backpacks in the morning. Use storage bins, name labels, and other organisers in your children’s rooms to help get them in the habit of putting things back where they belong.

Reinforcement

Rather than dwell on the bad days, try to focus on times when your child did well. Get them involved with the organisation process rather than having it be something focused on them. Let your children select their own fun, colourful storage bins and name labels as a treat and help figure out where their belongings should go and put them away. Compliment them when they’ve done well. Even if they haven’t done that well, find one area where they improved and show appreciation for that.

Patience

Changes in behaviour will take a while so it is important to have patience. There will be good days and not-so-good days. You should also realise that children develop at different rates. Some kids have a harder time learning to be organised and keep track of what they need to do. Eventually they will make progress and, in the meantime, you are helping them build skills that will be important for the rest of their lives.