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 prioritiseEvery 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 conquerThe 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 spaceThe 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 whiteboardWhiteboards 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 plannerAs 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.