Summer time - swimming, family vacations, summer camps and activities. Who said summer was all about taking a break? For many children across the United States, summer is just another opportunity to stay active and learning. However, along with this change in schedule, comes a change in how children's days are organized.
With this change, comes an excellent opportunity to help children learn or practice some great skills that they will use all year long. The following tips will help children to be more organized during summer vacation and throughout the school year.
1. Purge - Because schedules are a little more flexible, it is a great time to help your child purge the excess they've collected throughout the school year. Set up a time when there's no rush or other scheduled activities coming up so you can proceed at your own pace. Get your child involved in the purge by selecting the things they want to get rid of and asking them why they want to hold on to other things. This is also a good time to teach the one-in/one-out rule to your children. If they want to bring in a new toy or game, they must select one to donate.
2. Develop Routines - Children (and adults) thrive on routines. While the routines may vary from the summer to the school year, they are still important. Most commonly, there are morning routines, afternoon routines and bedtime routines. Allow your child to contribute input in the design of the routines and they are more likely to follow consistently.
3. Organize Space - When organizing any space, but particularly space that your children use, it is important to give a higher value to utility than esthetics. If shoes are stored neatly in plastic shoe boxes, they may never get put away. However, if you simply have a shoe basket that a child can throw her shoes into when not on her feet, she is more likely to stay organized.
4. Create Lists - If your child tends to forget to bring homework to school or school work home, lists might be a great solution. You can begin by helping your child create lists during summer vacation. Some ideas for lists include packing lists for travel, shopping lists for your child's requested foods or lists of projects your child wants to do over the summer.
5. Assign Chores - Summer is a great time to start a chore routine. Depending on the age of your child, there are a lot of options when it comes to completing chores. You can create some fun job boards that the child can choose his chores from or have a sticker chart that they get to mark off when a chore has been completed. It's important to remember that some children will need more specific directions when it comes to chores. Simply telling them to clean their room is not enough instruction for them to complete the task. Giving them step-by-step instructions helps to teach them exactly what your expectations are and how to complete the job.
6. Build a Family Calendar - Teaching your child how to write down events and check a calendar is a great way to get them ready for the school year ahead. Purchase or print a large calendar and help your child fill in all of their scheduled activities. Each day, help them to check the calendar to see what is coming up in the next few days and determine if there is anything they need to do to get ready for those events.
7. Helping at Dinner Time - While it may be difficult to fit in family dinners during the school year, or at least ones where the children help out, preparing meals together is an excellent way to help children learn planning, organization, timing, following directions and many more important skills. These are all critical organization skills that will help your child throughout the school year.
One of the biggest stresses that parents and children deal with during the school year is being organized. By helping your child learn and practice some of these skills throughout the summer vacation, they will be better prepared to tackle organization throughout the year.