We all want to help our children be successful in life. And our job as parents is to help them learn the skills they need to become successful and happy adults. This is especially true with teenagers. As you prepare your teen to be successful in high school and soon college, you want to make sure they have the skills they need to succeed and make the most of their opportunities. One of the most important things you can teach your teenager is how to be more organized. It’s often overlooked but organizational skills can help your teen succeed not only in high school and college but in their future workplace. The best time to start is right now! Check out these tips on how to help your teenager be more organized.
5 Tips for Helping Your Teen Get Organized
1. Start with a Planner
The older your child gets the busier their schedule often becomes. Many teens are juggling school, social activities, sports, extracurriculars, volunteering, and a job. It can be difficult to keep track of everything happening on a day to day basis. A planner is a great way to keep it all organized. A good planner will usually have a weekly view with columns for each day. You can help your teen write down all their activities and make a habit of checking their planner daily and weekly to stay on top of their schedule.
You can also help the whole family stay organized by placing a large monthly calendar for the family on your refrigerator or somewhere easily accessible by the entire family.
Your teen may suggest using their cell phone calendar to keep track of their schedule. This isn’t a bad idea for setting reminder alarms and having as a backup. But using your phone exclusively has some drawbacks. Your phone calendar often doesn’t allow you to see the entire week or even day at a glance. This can cause events to sneak up on you. And there’s something about writing everything down that helps it to really stick in your brain.
If being organized doesn’t come naturally to your teenager, a paper planner can really help your teenager be more organized.
2. Be Prepared and Set Up for Success
An important part of being organized is being prepared and setting priorities. Once you get your teen started using a planner, help them use it to set priorities and get prepared for upcoming events. For example, you can help your teen track when homework assignments are due. Then they can plan out the time to work on each assignment.
Another part of being organized is being prepared for the task at hand. Have a designated place in the house for homework. When the planned time for homework arrives, help your teen gather their pens, pencils, paper, calculator, schoolbooks, etc. before they sit down. This way they learn to focus on work during work time rather than spend their entire homework time searching the house for supplies, books, and other procrastinating tasks.
Help your teenager learn to be prepared for their day. Help them create a habit of packing their backpack for school the night before. And washing and packing their sports’ or work uniform the night before it will be needed.
3. Do a Daily, Weekly and Monthly Cleanout
Organization and cleanliness go hand in hand. It’s not uncommon for teens to have backpacks full of junk and bedrooms full of dishes, papers, and dirty laundry. It’s hard to be organized when you can’t find anything. Help your teen create a habit of cleaning out their bedroom AND their backpack on a weekly basis. You may need to have one massive decluttering at the beginning of this habit. But you and your teen will find that a little daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance of these easily cluttered areas makes a huge difference in their ability to stay organized.
4. Turn Off Technology to Focus
An important part of being organized is learning to focus on the task at hand. Help your teen learn to focus on school, work, in-person conversations, and everything else in their life. This means turning off the technology. Cell phones should be put away during homework time, school, and work time. And sometimes during social time too. If you want your teenager to be more organized they need to learn to prioritize, focus and to avoid procrastination. There are few things in life more conducive to procrastinating than cell phones.
You also want your teen to learn to prioritize work and school. This means when they are at school they are focused on school. Not on Snapchat or texting or social media. The same should be true of work. It can be hard at first, feeling disconnected from the ever-present phone. But it is such an important skill to learn for life in college and in the workforce. Put away the phone.
5. Set a Good Example
This can honestly be one of the hardest parts of teaching your teen to be more organized. As with most things we parents try to teach, the best way is to teach by example. It’s going to be hard to convince your teen how important organization is when your desk is a mess, you’re always running ten minutes late and you forget important appointments.
Take the time to become organized yourself. Get your own planner and family calendar. Plan out some daily, weekly, and monthly decluttering you can do around your house as needed. Turn off your phone at dinner with your family or when you’re helping your kids with homework. Show them your priorities and organizational skills so they learn from your example.