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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Organized Parents Make Organized Kids...(so get your shit together)

Seriously...this isn't brain surgery.

If you're wondering why your child is so disorganized at school or with his/her papers, take a look at your own desk.

That's right...kids do what they see.

They're like little monkeys...they know no better.

I'm sick of tutoring parents begging me to help their child be more organized and then totally forgetting that we've changed our meeting time and never showing up (while begging to being SO busy after a vacation).  Whatever.

I'm over it.

Yes, you're all busy...we're all busy, but I make it a priority to take some time out of each week to organize myself, my thoughts, my papers, and my family.

How could you NOT?

One of the chief complaints that teachers have about their students (not including that the student has no motivation to work hard and succeed) is that they're disorganized.  It shouldn't take 10 minutes for an entire class to find an assignment that was just given out the day before, but it often does.  Why?

Is it because the teacher did not specify a place to put said assignment?  Maybe...

Is it because the teacher did specify a place to put said assignment and the majority of students just shoved it in their binders thinking it wasn't important?  Probably...

Why is that?  Hmmmm...let's think hard...the last time you went to the ATM, what did you do with your receipt?  Did you put it in a specific place to be entered in your checking log later?  Or did you shove it in your purse with 80 zillion other papers hoping to remember to enter it later?  Did this action cause you to curse at how disorganized your purse was?  Did this distraction (damn disorganized purse) cause you to completely veer off course about how you needed to enter that ATM transaction later on?  Probably...

But seriously...I'm not here to point fingers...I'm here to point things out.

If you can't keep your shit together, how do you possibly think your children can?

Oh, and blaming the teacher typically isn't a great idea...the majority of teachers are very organized.  They have to be.

Have I made my point?  We're all too disorganized and too busy (with stupid things that take over our life for no good reason...i.e. FB, TV, blogging...haha...that's right...I said it).

Now, since I'm not one to complain without having a solution (don't you have people that do that?  They just complain for the sense of complaining...ugh), I have a few suggestions.

  1. Everyone needs a workspace that they can call their own...make it happen.
  2. Everyone should be responsible for cleaning up their own area (I call this "Handle Your Shit").
  3. Everyone should take a few minutes a week to reorganize their paperwork (I hate paperwork, but it's a necessary evil).  Get rid of what you no longer need and move things around.  I keep a clipboard of all relevant paperwork.  This paperwork is constantly being shifted based on what I need that week and what can wait.  Priorities, people!
  4. Family meetings are a good idea.
  5. If you can go digital, go digital (for example, Husband and I share our calendars on Google...best decision I've ever made).
  6. Be a good example and be loud about it.  "I'm taking my ATM receipt and putting it in my wallet.  That way I'll be sure to remember to enter it in my checkbook when I get home."  It sounds totally dorky, but it's setting a good example.
  7. If your child is pulling poor grades in school, take a look at his/her binders, desk, locker, whatever...it's a good jumping off point.
  8. Ask the teacher how he/she helps the students organize in class...does the teacher specify where to put certain items?  Does the teacher do notebook checks?  Does the teacher manage organization?  Or is it just left up to the child?  (note:  as a child enters higher grades in school, more of the organization will be left up to him/her...that's where you step in and aid your child in organizing the work).
  9. Clear out your clutter...this can be a monthly job, but it's well worth it.  There is so much useless crap around our houses that it makes me want to take a huge vacuum and get rid of all of it.
  10. Communicate with your children on how their things can be better organized.  Kids have the same frustrations we have when they can't find something, but they don't have the tools to cope yet.  It's our job to discuss the best way to handle these situations.  "I get that you're frustrated that you can't find your Lightning McQueen car...let's try to put all of our cars into a bin so that we know where to find him next time.  Also, when we're finished playing with him, we're going to put him back here so we're not so frustrated next time."
So, there you have it.  My opinions and my solutions all wrapped up in one neat little package.
What do you think?  
How do you handle organization in your house?

**  I should mention that I am not 100% organized in my house, but I have started to get better.  I'm not pointing fingers or preaching, but I am pointing out the obvious based on my experience as a teacher and a private tutor.  Run with it.