Skills That Last a Lifetime: Teach Your Children Well

Back to school could mean back to old habits.  If you want to give your child the best possible opportunity for both academic and personal success, teach them fundamental organizational skills, outside the classroom.

In most cases, you can be sure that the A+ student is an organized one.  A student who earns high grades not only has the obvious aptitude, but in addition, probably relies on a particular skill set of organizational tools to manage the work efficiently.

And yes, it starts as early as Kindergarten.  As a parent, you can only provide your child with the necessary tools and teach them how to apply them. Creating independent little thinkers is vital to their development.

Particularly, at the Elementary School level, be there to check their assignments and aid them in completing the tasks.  Avoid doing the work for them. It’s easier said than done, I know, but they can only achieve if they actually learn it. Letting go of your child’s schoolwork is the  “tough love” required for them to grow.

Assign them their own consistent drop off zone to unload their knapsack, (it could be a cubby, shelf, or hook) so you can supervise its contents; fill in particular forms, return signed permission slips for school trips, etc.  Make them responsible for putting things away; snacks, toys, or finished homework.

It is important to designate special homework time and set guidelines.  Implement good study habits early in their schooling.  Most importantly, you must encourage them to be accountable for their own school organization.  Guide, but don’t hover.

Create a positive and dedicated workspace for which they can do their homework (not in front of the TV or on their bed). There’s nothing wrong with having a workspace in the kitchen, so perhaps you can keep an eye on them while you are preparing dinner.  Being supportive from a distance can still be very effective.

Make it fun to organize their school stuff with them, and reward them for knowing where all their stuff is.  You will be surprised how much more pride they will take in their work, when it is indeed theirs.  When they are in control and once they succeed and see results, the lesson has been learned.  Be their motivator, not their drill sergeant.

By the Middle School level, they will need to be prepared each day and be more on top of all their schoolwork and long term projects, without your direct involvement.   They cannot achieve these goals  if they are disorganized.  Submitting homework on time, respecting project deadlines are an integral component of learning how to manage time. Time-management is a challenge they will face their entire lives and so making this a common practice can only strengthen these skills.

Learning how to study well, and being responsible for quality work can only be possible with some keen sense of paper -management.  Keeping a tidy notebook and organized file folders is paramount.  It is most helpful to create a timeline and a visual calendar board so they can see, at a glance, what is on their to do list.

Instilling the values and benefits of being organized is so important. These are sustaining skills to utilize throughout one’s life. By the time they get to the challenges of High School, they will be fully prepared, hopefully operating at their optimal potential.  As parents, this is all we can do to help them excel in their academic careers throughout college and beyond.

So plant those good habit seeds early, they will blossom well.  The goal is to nurture your child,  yet  foster independence and self-esteem.  Teach them well….and they will thrive.

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