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Organizing skills for all ages

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Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010 9:30 am

Most parents want the best for their children and sacrifice a great deal. One way to help prepare them for success is to teach organization skills. These skills rarely come naturally, and many times the behaviors you correct in your children may be a reflection of your own habits:

• When discussing what a mess your child's room is, take a look at your own work spaces.

• When becoming upset about an overlooked assignment, think about how your own deadlines loom.

If you, as the adult, do not consistently exhibit good time management skills, how could you expect children and teens to have them? Even if you are a great organizer, there is no guarantee that this will automatically make your children the same way.

Every age needs:

• Supplies close at hand.

• Space to store things.

• Systems to manage daily activities.

• Weekly maintenance.

You do not have to be relentless in pushing organization of the playroom, but it is an opportunity to start early. Involve your children in setting up and maintaining their areas.

Childhood years:

• Provide enough shelves and containers.

• Put pictures on containers for quick sorting.

• Create simple calendars. Use pictures for chores and events.

• Plan the night before. Set clothes out for school the next day.

Teen years:

• Guide them in setting up a process for dealing with basic files.

• Give them a say in how and where their things are located.

• Be sure they write down homework assignments and chores.

• Help them maintain a printed or electronic schedule.

Your part is two-fold:

• Model organized behavior.

• Be consistent in your expectations.

The busier your family is, the more need for organization. Do your children a favor and help them get a head start. It will also lead to more relaxed family interactions.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey. She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or

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