Letting go will help my kids learn to be organized. Now where to start?!

In my household I am the primary “organizer.” I do many things, probably too many things. I am She-woman, hear me roar! I keep everyone organized, from homework to preparing and getting everyone to where they need to be. I take this role seriously, part of me thinks that without my outstanding organizational skills my family would be in total chaos and completely lost without me.

As my kids grow up, I am slowly realizing that by doing this, I have become a bit of a martyr. I do, do, do and expect gratitude AND everyone expects me to do it. I’ve come to accept that I may actually be doing a disservice to my family. Small tasks that should be second nature to my kids (and husband) seem to continuously fall on me. Have I created a cycle of dependency?

All is not lost! Time management and organizational skills can be taught and need to be practised. Start slowly, then build on them. It’s also reassuring to know that some things I did with my kids in the early stages, like letting them help with grocery shopping, helped to build a foundation for their organization skills. Grocery shopping involves pre-planning, making lists, breaking down small tasks and following a series of steps. Phew, we aren’t starting from scratch!

family planningNow it’s time to relinquish my control and we are going to start by having a weekly family “organizational night,” just like our weekly games night, but with a calendar and a plan.

Our plan will include:

  • Everyone. We will fill out our own responsibilities, events & activities.
  • We will colour-code and include pictures. (Our kids are great with computers, so we will use online calendars with programmable reminders.)
  • Homework dates. Our kids will also record half way points for projects and tests.

To help with the last point, we will use a “Think Forward and Plan Backward” strategy. This is a great way to help your kids learn how to plan. Ask them:

  1. When is it due?
  2. How much time do you need?
  3. When should you start?
  4. What do you want done at the half-way point?

Afterwards, you can also help your kids to reflect in a supportive way how accurate their guesses were.

I believe the hardest part of this new organizational plan will be to really let go and allow others to take responsibility. In the end I may feel a little less needed, but I think I’ll be okay. I know that in the long run this will decrease my stress levels and help my kids learn much needed skills and confidence.

I’d like to send a shout-out to Josie Szatmari, Occupational Therapist with the North Halton Child and Youth Psychiatry Program for sharing her great ideas. Do you have any to share with us?

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Cynthia Lindsay RN

Hi everyone. My name is Cynthia Lindsay and I work as a public health nurse with the school years program. I've been a nurse for almost 20 years (wow time flies!) with the last 10 years focused on what I've discovered to be my passion... Parenting. I now have many parenting accreditations and enjoy connecting with parents in the community through Triple P, parenting groups & social media. "Je parle aussi le français" and I love working, making connections, and raising my teen son & pre-teen daughter with my hubby in Halton.
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3 Responses to Letting go will help my kids learn to be organized. Now where to start?!

  1. heatherdh2014 says:

    I love this! How do I encourage my kids , 8 & 11 to take on more responsibility for their morning routines? Suggestions?

    • Hi Heather, Thanks… Morning routines are by far the most stressful time for most families.
      A few great tips include having your kids set their own alarms, this is a way for them to learn how much time it takes them to get out the door. It is their responsibility to have enough time to get ready, and to in fact get out of bed.
      Secondly, have them prepare their own lunches and backpacks, preferably the night before. Getting kids involved with everything from shopping and packing their lunches really helps with them in fact eating their lunch (this was an issue for us). Even as young as 8 can at least help pack their snacks while you might help with the main meal.)
      Also, give them breakfast responsibilities. Many kids can get their own breakfast ready.
      A tip for you, eliminate morning distractions such as the TV and/or Computers/Ipads. Set a new family rule. Often parents mistakenly think that this helps when in fact it does the opposite.
      You will be amazed at the level kids will perform when they are given responsibility.
      Let us know if you use any of these suggestions and how they worked for you. Thanks for following HaltonParents. 🙂 Cynthia RN

  2. Pingback: Top 10 life skills for teens | HaltonParents

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