Organisation - Good habits start young

What is organisation?

Organisation is successfully achieved when a child is able to arrange their body and their environment. It is the ability to understand requirements of tasks, when the task needs to be achieved by, and understanding how to achieve the desired outcome (the steps involved in the process).

How do I know if my child has difficulty with organisation?

Children that have difficulty with organisation skills may:

  • Appear generally disorganised.
  • Frequently lose personal items (e.g. glasses, books, toys).
  • Have difficulty completing multi-step instructions.
  • Have difficulty completing routines without assistance or prompting.
  • Are easily distracted and have difficulty sticking to one task at a time.
  • Have difficulty collecting materials required for a task e.g. to play a game, to pack their schoolbag.

My child is only young, is there something I can do now to help them develop organisation skills?

It’s never too early or too late to start teaching your child the value of good habits and developing exceptional organisational skills. It is something that if practiced regularly enough can become second nature and can set them up for greater success in both school and in life.

  • ModellingNever underestimate the power that modelling skills and behaviours can have on your children. Show them how you stay organised and they may pick up these habits and implement them into their own life.
  • Routine and time management – using a diary or calendar to record important or helpful information. Talking your children through this can help them begin developing this habit from a young age.
  • Use visuals – Visuals can be picture (e.g. visual schedules) or words (e.g. to-do lists) and can be used to support children in understanding what needs to be done and in what order. This can help to build their memory for tasks that are completed regularly, such as morning routines.
  • Cooking together – cooking encompasses a range of varying important life skills as well as giving you some time to bond with your children. Cooking allows you to work on time management skills, multi-tasking skills and attention to detail (just to name a few). Cooking also targets organisation.

Other strategies to target organisation:

  • Work backwards – set a goal and involve your child in the last step in that process (e.g. decorating a cake) once competent in that step, include them in the previous step as well. This allows them to receive instant gratification, which will increase their interest and helps them to understand the process. This is a great idea for children who are not yet able to complete the whole task without running off to do something else.
  • Break activities into simpler steps – an excellent strategy for children who are not yet able to memorise an activity, steps, or complete the task competently.
  • Practice, practice, practice – Repetition is the best way to learn and memorise activities. Practicing from a young age will ensure that your child is able to learn and retain the information they need in order to complete tasks independently in the future.

Who can I speak to for help with organisation skills?

The download section of our website has more ideas, information and activities to help your child develop a range of skills. Check our Pinterest page for loads more activities and ideas. Check the Talking Matters website for other useful resources. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss out on information we share to help children develop.

If you are concerned about your child’s development check our website to see how occupational therapy may help if you are still concerned. If you suspect that your child is having difficulty with development of their organisational skills, it is recommended to consult an occupational therapist to discuss your concerns further.

Blog written by Olivia Hutchings, Occupational Therapist

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