Monday, December 2, 2013

Key to Middle School Success? Get Organized!

Middle school can be a tough transition for many students.  They go from having a single teacher facilitating their learning experience, to having multiple classes, lockers, binders, and even more homework! For some kids, this challenge can be overwhelming and it may negatively impact their grades and/or self-esteem.

One important skill for developing adolescents is ORGANIZATION! The ability to organize takes practice and, as a mentor or parent, you can empower your student to build his or her organizational skills.

Here are some tips!

1)      Encouragement! While this may sound silly, encouragement can help a child focus on organization, which can be the greatest barrier to overcome!

2)      Prioritize! Talk to the child about “breaking the load down.” Stress and anxiety creep up when work becomes ambiguous and too many details overwhelm the bigger picture. Learning how to categorize tasks into lists that show the level of priority and keep the work load feeling manageable is key! Start the conversation and allow them to lead the process if they can.

3)      Set up a system! Whether you organize a binder together, color code folders, or just have a checklist; create a system that you and the child can use to hold him or her accountable for being organized. It is important to let the student be actively involved in the process because he or she will be more willing to follow their own rules.

4)      Do organizational activities together!  Games and activities can be a fun way to begin the learning process. Below are some links to fun organizational games and activities. Remember to do them together if you can!

5)      Lead by example. Show your child your planner or organizational system and any appropriate tools you use to keep organized to give him or her ideas. Tell the child why your way works for you and encourage him or her to discover an individual style or plan.  

6)      Remember that organization is a journey, not a destination! Perfection is unrealistic and can prevent children from wanting to build the skill. Focus on practicing, not perfecting!

7)      Have fun! Developing these monumental skills can be a great vehicle to spend quality time with your child.

Ali and Rian

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