Are you tired of reminding your child to pack their PE kit, remember their homework and be somewhere on time? If so, you’re not alone. Disorganised kids are the bane of many parents' lives. But did you know that kids who can’t organise themselves have higher levels of distraction and stress, and problems finishing things? The good news is organisational skills are easy to teach. Here’s everything you need to know, including a selection of our favourites.
Related: Life skills for kids
Some of our favourite ways to help develop your child's organisational skills
- Start small
- Make it easy to be organised
- Be a good role model
- Buy a whiteboard
- Write things down
- Establish and stick to a routine
- Show them how to be organised
- Give them chores that use organisational techniques
Why do organisational skills for kids matter?
Organisational skills are essential for kids as they help them to learn how to prioritise, feel in control of their lives and set and achieve goals. Good organisational skills also make it easier for them to be productive and able at home or school.
What are the different types of organisational skills?
Sequencing skills. Being able to follow a routine and manage the steps to do something efficiently.
Time management skills. An awareness of how long things take so you can work to a time frame.
Prioritisation skills. Being able to work out the level of importance each task has so you know which task to handle first.
Self-care skills. Being able to look after yourself and get dressed, brush your teeth and be clean and tidy.
Different ways to teach organisational skills to kids
Show them how to be organised
Not everyone is naturally organised. Some children need more help than others in learning to prioritise, manage their time and do things correctly.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when learning to be organised, so start small. Get your child to put a board game away, organise their clothes in a drawer or stack the dishwasher.
Make it easy for them to be organised
Forward planning always makes it easier to be organised. For example, get your kids to always prep their school bags and uniform the night before,
Be a good role model
Kids watch everything. If you are always disorganised and running late, they’ll see no reason to be any different.
Buy a magnetic whiteboard
This is an invaluable tool for disorganised kids. Use it to write must-do lists, pin timetables, and place important letters from school.
Write things down
Encourage your kids to always list items as soon as they are given information they need to follow: homework, important dates, timings for school outings, and money required for lessons.
Establish and stick to a routine
Routines give children a sense of security and control over their environment. When life is organised at home, children also see the benefit of becoming organised.
Give them a chore list
Give them a chore list that uses organisational techniques. Washing the dishes, tidying their room, folding and putting away laundry all use organisational skills.
Let them be in charge of their chore list
Using chore cards is a good way to put kids in control of their chores. These cards tell them exactly what to do and add a timeframe.
Break large tasks and chores down
Chunking information into smaller parts is a technique kids learn in maths lessons. It also works with organisation skills as it helps kids to avoid being overwhelmed by the bigger picture.
Give to charity
Encourage your child to regularly sort through their things and organise what to keep and what to give away. This helps with prioritisation and organisation.
Whether in their bedroom or on their desk, clutter makes it hard to focus on a particular task. Decluttering and being organised leads to improved attention span and focus.
Show them how to prioritise
Explain the difference between urgent and important. Urgent tasks have a deadline. Think homework and getting to school on time. In contrast, important tasks like revision have a more extended timeframe and should be placed second on the list.
If your child always expects to receive reminders from you, there’s no motivation to remember to be organised.
Let them learn from their mistakes
We all want our kids to have a stress-free life, but sometimes kids need to realise that if they aren’t organised about getting ready on time, there are consequences like missing out.
Fun games you can play with your child to teach them organisational skills
Minecraft. Organisation is key to this game. You need to organise your Minecraft inventory and use organisation skills when planning how you want your structure to look.
Ker-Plunk. This game helps kids look at a task closely and figure out a way to move sticks without interrupting the others.
Tetris game (online) gets kids thinking about their actions and how to be the most efficient with space.
Jenga teaches kids to be aware and in control of their actions and to plan.
Game of Life. This board game helps the child learn about planning and making decisions.
Cluedo. This game encourages a child to be organised using a checklist and problem-solving skills to determine what happened and where.
Scrabble. You have to use organisational skills to look at what letters you need to keep, what you can play, and where they may fit on the board.
Video games. Most games require kids to keep track of in-game items (armour, weapons, potions, etc.) or sort through their inventory or use organisational skills while they play, especially if they are playing with friends.
Things to remember when teaching your child organisational skills
Learning to be organised takes time. It’s not laziness when a child forgets to do things. It’s often due to weak skills in planning and prioritisation.
But make things easy for your child. Give them chore cards, write checklists, and encourage them to take control of their lives.
Don’t take over
No one will ever do things the way you do, so if you give your child chores or ask them to get dressed, allow them to choose how to do it. Taking over stops kids from doing things for themselves.
Keep your child motivated
Tell them when they have done something well, and use encouragement to reward them when they start being more organised; this will encourage them to keep going.
How can GoHenry help?
GoHenry is a fantastic tool to teach kids how to be financially independent and organised with their money. Not only does it help with tracking spending and setting up savings, but it enables kids to learn how to budget, spend within their means, and track their incoming and outgoing money. The in-app Money Missions builds confidence and financial literacy with tips about saving habits and spending wisely.