“I forgot my homework,” “Can I borrow your pencil?” “I lost my lunchbox,” “Where did I keep my clothes?” “It’s hard to write answers,” etc.
Such statements are indicative of poor organisational skills. Entering into the room of a child who hasn’t yet developed these skills, can be a frightening experience: crumpled sheets, torn papers, wrappers, books, random toys and objects lying around—it’s a mess! We label them ‘unorganised,’ overlooking the fact that it’s difficult for kids to implement multi-layered instructions and ideas, as mental sifting, sorting and processing is a challenge due to haphazard thoughts.
The Struggles Of A Child With Underdeveloped Skills
Kids with underdeveloped organisation skills frequently experience hardships in—
- Cataloguing little knick-knacks
- Absorbing information from multiple sources
- Processing information effectively and logically
- Learning tricky concepts in Maths, Science, Computer, etc.
- Making plans, setting goals and priorities
- Sticking to a particular task and finishing it on time
How Organizational Skills Affect Learning Abilities In Children?
Planning and organisation don’t necessarily mean to develop a structured and consistent approach to tasks- there’s more to it!
“The most important part of the organization is understanding the requirements of an allotted task, discovering what needs to be done, by when it should be done and how to do it.”
Developing organisational skills is extremely crucial for kids who can’t sift and sort objects, have a short attention span, or are struggling with language challenges. Based on various researches on ‘the benefits of staying organised, experts believe—
Involving kids in specific daily activities enables them to develop self, physical and mental organisational skills, which improve with regular practice and ultimately boost their learning capacity.
Organised children are quick at mental processing.
The stress of learning a large piece of information in a limited time may overwhelm kids. Initially, it’s difficult for a kid to sort objects based on colours, sizes, shapes or solve riddles and sums using formulae, relationships, clues, etc., but it eventually hones their problem-solving skills.
Mental abilities require filtering, filing and execution, which improves a child’s functioning with the development of critical, higher order thinking and reasoning skills. Consequently, they’re able to keep pace with a huge chunk of information coming from numerous sources.
They meet deadlines, accomplish goals and set priorities for themselves.
Setting a proper bedtime routine is crucial for teaching time-management skills. Children indulge in several activities before their bedtime—having dinner, brushing teeth, putting on PJs and making the bed. We can show our munchkins how to take charge of little things, like what they’re going to wear for bed, by setting examples. Even if they’re initially copying their parent’s routine, this eventually comes into their habit with regular practice.
Thus, they learn to break bigger tasks/goals into sub-tasks/goals in the order of priority and set a timeline to follow a manageable schedule for each task. With time, it gets easier to meet deadlines, achieve milestones, and keep track of the progress made.
Physical organisation saves times and improves efficiency.
Having quick access to objects saves more time on a task. Therefore, we should involve kids in chores that involve categorisation, delegation, sorting and physical organisation, such as:
- Keeping clothes in the closet
- Grocery shopping
- Folding laundry
- Sorting family photographs according to the date
- Arranging vegetables, fruits and food in the pantry
- Preparing the monthly shopping list
Doing chores sharpens their organisational skills over time, with the completion of everyday duties.
Alternatively, we can encourage them to join structured sports or build a personal collection of collectibles like postal stamps, coins, toys, books, etc. Creating and organising a collection will help them classify and assemble objects as per the matrix of their choice. Little ones learn to assimilate and use information more efficiently over time.
Kids With Strong Organisational Skills Effectively Follow Directions
Following instructions requires two key elements—carefully listening to the directions and devising a strategy to follow it. Likewise, giving instructions requires the instructor to be close, specific, precise, objective and to allow listeners the time to process these directions.
Both are essential qualities of a leader that require planning and mental arrangement.
If a child doesn’t follow instructions, then he/she may not know where to start, or may not be able to identify and visualise the progression of steps mentioned in the given instructions. We can easily address this issue by involving him/her in activities that entail advanced organisational skills, like cooking. Also, we can ask them to prepare and follow a checklist. This helps them develop higher order skills, like resource and asset management.
Following recipes or simple checklists, such as ‘Things to take on vacation’ helps them strategize tasks. It gets easier for them to memorise, visualise and plan steps according to instructions, as they learn planning and organisation. Following directions gives them better clarity on delivering effective instructions. With practice, they learn to give direct, age-appropriate directions.
Learning Physical And Mental Organisation Develops Academic Tenacity.
Mastering phonics entails linking sounds to letters. When kids start reading, their mental filing system relates the upper and lowercase appearance of a letter with its sound. This system becomes advanced when they start matching sight words with their sounds and images in the higher classes.
In the end, they get better at organising, accessing and retrieving information from memory, in a blink! Once they get better at reading, writing and remembering complicated sounds and words, they develop proficiency in language and communication.
Organisation isn’t a skill meant for just grownups! Even our kids need to develop it, not just for academic success but for life. When kids grow up with good organisational skills, they can easily overcome specific learning challenges and get better in terms of reception, delivery, perception, introspection, etc. All these factors contribute to their personal and professional growth.