Tips for Developing
Organizational Skills in Children
Developing good organizational skills is a key ingredient for success in school and in life.
Although some people by nature are more organized than others, anyone can put routines and
systems in place to help a child become more organized. Here you will find a list of strategies
that parents can use to help their child develop good organizational skills.
1) Use checklists
Help your child get into the habit of using a "to-do" list. Checklists can be used to list
assignments and household chores and to remind children to bring appropriate materials to class.
It is recommended that children keep a small pad or notebook dedicated to listing homework
assignments. Crossing completed items off the list will help children feel a sense of
2) Organize homework assignments
Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number assignments in the order in
which they are to be done. Children should start with one that's not too long or difficult but
avoid saving the longest or hardest assignments for last.
3) Set a designated study space
Children should study in the same place every night where supplies and materials are close at
hand. This space doesn't have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet place with few
distractions. Young children may want their study space near a parent. This should be
encouraged, as parents can then have the opportunity to monitor progress and encourage good
4) Set a designated study time
Children should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework.
The best time is usually not right after school, as most children benefit from time to unwind
first. Parents should include their child in making this decision. Even if your child does not
have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day's lessons, read for pleasure
or work on an upcoming project.
5) Keep organized notebooks
Help your child keep track of papers by organizing them in a binder or notebook. The purpose of
a notebook is to help keep track of and remember the material for each day's classes and to
organize the material later to prepare for tests and quizzes. Use dividers to separate class
notes, or color-code notebooks. Having separate "to do" and "done" folders helps organize
worksheets, notices and items to be signed by parents as well as provide a central place to
store completed assignments.
6) Conduct a weekly clean-up
Children should be encouraged to go through and sort out book bags and notebooks on a weekly
basis. Old tests and papers should be organized and kept in a separate file at home.
7) Create a household schedule
Try to establish and stick to a regular dinnertime and a regular bedtime. This will help your
child fall into a pattern when at home. Children with a regular bedtime go to school well
rested. Try to limit television watching and computer play to specific amounts of time during
8) Keep a master calendar
Keep a large wall-sized calendar for the household that lists the family's commitments,
schedules for extracurricular activities, days off from school and major events at home and at
school. Note dates when your children have big exams or due dates for projects. This will help
family members keep track of each other's activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.
9) Prepare for the day ahead
Before your child goes to bed he/she should pack schoolwork and books in a book bag. Clothes
should be ironed and laid out with shoes, socks and accessories. This will cut down on morning
confusion and allow your child to prepare for the day ahead.
10) Provide necessary support while your child is learning to become more organized
Help your child develop organizational skills by photocopying checklists and schedules and
taping them to the refrigerator. Give children gentle reminders about filling in calendar dates
and keeping papers and materials organized. Most important, set a good example.
©Copyright 1999 by the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities (CCLD), a collaboration of
leading U.S. nonprofit learning disabilities organizations. All rights reserved. Any interested
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