Organized vs Disorganized, Part Two

This is the next blog in a series from the book Organizing the Disorganized Child organizingby Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran.

So, we established earlier how the brain is at fault when it comes to the child being organized—this should free us from feeling like victims of a “lazy child” or “uncaring teacher.”  We can focus now on working together as learning partners to teach and finesse the child’s brain into organization (and remember, the brain is still developing well into young adulthood).  With society expecting so much more planning from our children today (with outside events like clubs, sports, social media, etc.) and so much sooner (we have 2-year-olds on iPads!), it’s a challenge to fit in academics at all really!

It’s time now to bring up this topic of organization with your child.  I know…easier said than done.  Most likely your child suspects your concern and a calm conversation may do wonders for all involved.  There are some steps to note:

  1. Stay calm.  Pick an appropriate time when everyone is calm (not yelling about grades, searching for the homework paper, or other issues) and can have meaningful conversation.  Remind them about the benefits of being organized such as getting homework done faster, less frustration in the house, more free time for other things, etc.
  2. Listen to your child–actively listen and ask clarifying questions.  If the child says, “that may work for you,  but it doesn’t work for me,” this is a sign.  Ask the child to explain a strategy to you in her own words and really listen (don’t judge).
  3. Stay positive.  The authors note:  “If you really want to bring out your child’s self-motivation–and preserve your relationship with him–you’ll need to keep it positive.  Punishments don’t teach skills.”  Find something to praise; use humor to redirect.  If there’s a punishment to hand out, consider doing it with only a positive attitude in place–make it short and to the point.  Stay focused on the fact this is YOUR child.
  4. Supervise the skills.  Many children know what to do but they just can’t do it–this is where supervision takes place.  Remember, the frontal lobes on the brain of your child have trouble carrying out the plan.  Your child needs you to lend your expertise (and frontal lobes) to assist.  Be a safety net and monitor progress while standing in the background.
  5. Give it time.  There is no timetable for success.  If you’re frustrated, imagine how your child feels.

It’s a good idea to also know your child’s organizational style…but that’s a topic for our next in the series!  🙂

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