Have you ever looked into your pre teen’s room at the mess with confusion? I have many of times and I go crazy! How in the world can you find things in this room? Have you noticed a connection between their messy room and school work disorganization? How many times have you heard the phrase “ I don’t know where it is” or “I thought I put it here” Holy Moly does that drive me crazy! My pre teen would either forget her homework in her locker or she would forget to write her assignments in her agenda. Looking back, I guess it works together, if you forget to write your homework, then there’s no homework to bring home! You have to laugh at some point! I still couldn’t wrap my mind around it! Homework is part of your grades!
After I put my thinking cap on I came up with ways to help her get organized at home and school. The list I created starts with things at home, I can monitor, remind and coach her along the way. 1. Chores Routine- Being responsible and accountable for something around the house, she had to learned consequences of her actions. She has a chore card for each room with items that she has check off as she completes a task. By having a checklist she learned to use the chore card as a reference and guide to make sure nothing was left undone. If she said she was done, and I knew she wasn’t, I made her go over the chore card to make sure everything was completed, like a checklist.
2. I stopped helping- I stopped helping her look for things in the house. I created specific places for her to find items. All school supplies are in a clear container under the desk, pens are in a mason jar, pencil shapers and glue sticks were in its location as well. Everything had a place and she knew where everything was located I didn’t leave her to scramble but I did teach her how to back track and think about the last place she had the item. For some reason her shoes were a hot topic to find when it's time to rush out the house.
3. I put value on her actions- Some would call it a bribe others would say positive reinforcement. I would give her money to put in her wallet, if you forget your wallet don’t ask me to buy you anything because you knew where and when we were leaving out of the house. This forced her to think ahead and plan.
4. Helping me de clutter her room- What child likes to clean up? Not mine! We de cluttered her bedroom and closet, organized everything in her closet with storage containers, here’s the nice part, she had to organize her containers so she would know where things went. When I asked her to clean her room she was able to place all of her small things in its place.
5. I gave praises and words of encouragement when I noticed she made her own to do list before bed, or when she ran back in the house because she forgot something, and even packed her gym bag for school without me reminding her.
Lately I have noticed an improvement in her organizational skills at home that has now spilled into her school work and academics. *Praise break* This process was hard! But we did it! Teaching her how to become organized at home also taught her to use the skills at school and has made a drastic change. 1. She is remembering to write down her homework for each class 2. She’s bringing home all of her assignments 3. Homework time is less stressful because I know she has everything and she can go from one subject to the next without interruption and less distractions. 4. She’s happier, there’s a look of accomplishment that she has when all of her homework is completed. There’s no more sad puppy dog face, or the feeling of being overwhelmed by school work.
5. There are times that she able to relax and unwind during the week because she is all caught up on her assignments. The changes didn’t happen all at once, it was a long gradual learning process and steps building on top of another to get where we are today. If you are wondering if your pre teen will ever get organized, the answer is YES! As the parent you have to slow down, be patient and get creative! If you are looking for ways to help your pre teen become organized comment below and I can more ideas that has helped me with my pre teen.