This is one activity that your kids can rightfully blame you for either teaching (or not teaching) them. It depends on you – the parent, guardian, dorm counselor, parole officer, whatever. It also starts with you becoming organized in your own life.
You CAN teach kids “organizational skills.”
When we teach our kids how to organize themselves, their possessions, and their schedules, there is generally less chaos in the house about homework and task completion. Yet be forewarned: many studies have shown there is a strong genetic component involved with ADHD and LD, meaning that you too could have organizational problems! Your kids will be quick to point it out to you as you announce your plan to teach them how to become (and remain) organized.
Two successful ESSENTIALS to teaching your kids organizational skills:
1. First, you must do it yourself. Teach by modeling.
As old-school wisdom tells you, kids will do what you do and not what you say. Remember when you taught your child how to build a fire in a fireplace at home? You didn’t give them an instruction booklet. You taught by doing and talking, by showing.
So…here’s how to tackle teaching organizational skills:
- Decide on which skill you want to teach and apply it to yourself first.
- Tell your kids what you’re doing (for example, “Mom’s learning time management.”)
- Master the process for yourself (and you’ll be modeling!)
- Let them know that after your attempt proves successful, they will also learn it.
2. Remember an essential aspect of teaching ADHD children is supervision.
Most behavior modification programs are excellent in defining what to teach and how to teach organization skills. There is ONE feature that makes the difference between success and failure; and that’s total and consistent supervision of the process for the first several sessions to guarantee follow through.
“To start this process successfully, you have to be present. You cannot walk away and hope for the best! Once your child understands the organization process, do not just hope he or she will follow through on it successfully alone.”
So, how can you do get your kids to do their homework?
As a family, YOU must practice time management! Here are three steps to helping your family become a home that communicates better and has a better grip on how to manage their time collectively and individually:
1. Control the Activity Chaos
Know who is doing what on which days and what time!
Plot your family schedule out neatly on a large monthly calendar — with plenty of writing space for each day. Keep it within eyesight where everyone can see it. Each family should check in with it at least 3 times each week. Model good behavior by checking the calendar and sharing with whomever what activities are planned for that day—or if you check it in the evening, what’s on deck for tomorrow.
2. Consider the Time Commitment Required
Estimate the time it will take to finish specific homework assignments.
Work with your kids on this one: ask them what they think it will take. Also, estimate what YOU think it will take. Have your child plot out their “homework plan” on a large weekly calendar. Do this with each of your children.
3. Break It Down
With a clear view of their week’s assignments, help your kids break their weekly schedule down into daily bits!
- Create a set homework time every day.
- Allow a ½ hour of rest when they come home from school.
(no video games, Facebook or violent TV)
- Start homework immediately thereafter for one hour.
- Supervise homework time. That means stay there and do not walk away. Sit in a comfortable chair and do your own homework while your child does his or her work.
- Insist on total silence – no conversation.
Give this a try for three weeks and let me know how it worked for you!
Looking forward to your call,