Having a tween at home is a challenge. The tween years are the time when we discover ourselves, and they are usually chaotic and full of unexpected changes. This is why it’s understandable why many tweens struggle with developing and maintaining proper organisation skills. Sometimes it’s because of too many extracurricular activities, sometimes it’s just a rebellious phase, but statistics show that many tweens nowadays lack the time management skills and the discipline needed for their upcoming adult lives. It’s important that tweens understand how to organize and prioritize responsibilities. Here are the ways you can help them improve these skills at home.
Teach them multiple ways to prioritise
Every person has a different approach towards keeping their life organised. Some people make checklists of all their tasks and cross them over once they’re done, others manage to memorise what they have to do without a problem. Some people need reminders, others easily remember everything they have to do and are always on time for appointments. You need to help your tween find their own method of organising and keeping everything in order. You can easily do that by trying a few different methods and afterwards pick the one that fits them most. There are plenty things you can try – paper lists, phone lists and reminders, special apps, schedule books, notes on the fridge, and a lot more. Ask your tween what works best for them and make it a habit. Once you find the right organisational tools that fit your tween’s needs, character and skills, you will notice that they will embrace them and start using them on their own. You can also try to organise projects by due date, or by the time they need to fulfil them, or how hard (or easy) they are. There are plenty of ways to get your tweens excited about organising.
Teach them how to divide and conquer
The skills needed to separate the important tasks from the non-pivotal ones are important not only in our tween years, but they are also useful all throughout our adult lives. When you think about it, we use our organising skills not only at home, but also at work, school and even in our personal lives. This is a whole lot of tasks for just one person, so it’s really important to be able to separate everything, figure out our priorities and focus on the tasks which will help us achieve them first. By helping them figure out their priorities, they will be more efficient, they will be able to complete all their tasks in time, and they will be able to keep deadlines for long-term projects from creeping up.
Show your tween how to break projects into smaller, more manageable pieces. You can use cue words like “first,” “next” and “last” to categorise the tasks.
Designate a study space
The huge load of notebooks, textbooks, pens, pencils, erasers and all the other school supplies are probably one of the main reasons why your entire house is a huge disorganised mess. Tweens somehow manage to spread all their belongings all over the place, which not only makes it look messy, but it also makes it difficult for them to get organised, which leads to slower work and lots of time spent looking for things. Teach your children to keep the tools they need in one place. It may be a corner of the room, a desk or a table somewhere in the house, it doesn’t matter. Encourage your tween to keep pens, paper, computer, calculators, dictionaries and other supplies together. No more hunting for an eraser! To make small items harder to lose and misplace, you can provide your tween with some old shoe boxes or other small containers that would contain these small potential messes.
Use a whiteboard
Whiteboards are becoming a very popular alternative to the fridge notes and all the other small paper reminders we leave for ourselves around the house. They are a preferred way of writing down ideas and goals lately, because this way you can see everything in a bigger scale. And the good part is, that everyone can use them not only to visualise their ideas, but also to stay organised and on track with their tasks. By providing your tween with a whiteboard, you will help them make things easier to visualise. They are also useful for all kinds of school work, when you need to see something written down and laid out in front of you. You can also keep a family calendar and a to-do list to show your tween examples of planning ahead and making lists.
Give your tween a planner
As we mentioned earlier, there are many tools your tween can use to keep their life matters organised and prioritise their tasks. One good way to push them towards the organised life of an adult, is to give them a planner. Some parents choose to give their children a classical paper organiser, others invest in a phone app, it’s really your choice. Having an organiser will encourage your child to manage their own schedule. For instance, with a digital or paper planner, they can keep track of where they need to be and when. They can practice arranging and rearranging their time, which is a very useful skill when coming into adulthood.
Make them actively participate in the home cleaning
Many parents argue over whether their children should be participating in the home cleaning and maintenance. The truth is, the younger you start getting them used to it, the better. We can’t escape the housework, no matter what age or gender we are, and if we want our children to live in clean homes of their own once they grow up, we need to teach them how to do it. Some parents claim that their children have more important things to do than to clean, but they couldn’t be more wrong – many studies prove that teaching your children to clean and giving them chores from an early age helps them understand the concept of being clean and organised at home, and they tend to bring these habits to the school and later the workplace as well. So, if you want to teach your high schooler organisation skills, give them some chores and responsibilities around the house.
Give them a budget and make them stick to it
Many kids receive some kind of allowance from their parents from an early age. Every parent has a different approach when it comes to these things – some just give a small amount of money and wait for the moment when they are asked for more, some give money on a weekly basis, and some parents are only willing to give allowance in return for some chores done or a high grade at school. If you want to teach your tween organising skills, making them responsible for their own budget is a good way to test them. And by budget, I mean not only their allowance, but all their other expenses as well – clothes, school supplies, cosmetic supplies, food and everything else they need to survive. You can provide them with a sum for a given period of time, and request a detailed report for the spendings in the end of that period. Then you can analyse them and provide your tween with some tips and guidance on how to manage their budget properly.
Ask and give advice
Communication is the most important thing, it’s our responsibility as parents to find ways to communicate with our children at any age. Talking to a tween can be very challenging, because this is the time in their lives where they feel pressured the most, they want their space, they struggle to find out who they are, what their role in life is, and they are hormonal bombs that change their minds all the time. It’s hard to put some organisation into that huge ball of emotions. This is why you need to find the most gentle and non-invasive way to provide your help and advice. Don’t assume your tween knows how to get an assignment done. Ask them to explain their plan. You can help them refine it, if needed. Show them that their opinions are important and matter, try to develop their plans instead of wiping them and starting from scratch. Make sure your tween knows how to prioritize the steps for getting an assignment done.
Author bio: Jane Wilson is a mum, a blogger and the marketing manager of Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne – an Australian cleaning and housekeeping company, which provides services to both residential and commercial clients. She also has a small personal blog, called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of home improvement, gardening and other tips.