Fredericksburg Parent

March 2015

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16 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2015 MODEL BEHAVIOR Do you complain about after-dinner clean-up or moan about making your bed? Your toddler will pick up on your attitude about organization, says behavioral psychologist Richard Rende, Ph.D., asso- ciate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island. Model a posi- tive attitude about daily tidying up to foster cooperation in tiny tots. Children as young as 18 months can begin learning basic guidelines for organization (just don't expect a spot- less bedroom quite yet!) And because toddlers often enjoy clean-up, parents can take advantage of tots' enthusi- asm to begin instilling good habits. Start by setting a few simple family rules—for example, cleaning up one activity before starting another, or always putting dirty clothes in the ham- per—and follow through. Young children can learn and sing a "clean up song" when it's time to put toys away. Toddler/Preschool Years 2-5 Organization Skills for Kids Coming BY MALIA JACOBSON MODEL BEHAVIOR Do you complain about after-dinner clean-up or moan about making your bed? Your toddler will pick up on your attitude Toddler/Preschool Years 2-5 Clean SCHOOLWORK SHUFFLE Homework assignments, permission slips, and other school paperwork can pile up for grade-schoolers—and losing track of these school papers creates a hassle for both students and parents. Now's the time to begin teach- ing children how to keep school items organized. First, create a spot for school papers at home—a hanging file folder or wall file works well—as well as a special place for your child to put papers that need a parent's attention, like permission slips or class newsletters. Set a daily time for homework, and provide the tools your stu- dent needs to stay on track, like a timer and calendar. Help your child develop daily rou- tines that support organization: emptying his or her backpack at the end of the school day, writing assignment due dates on the calendar, and chunking up big projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Elementary Years 6-12 D oes your child's bedroom look like a tornado recently swept through? What about the back- pack or school locker? If your little pack rat can't seem to find homework projects, library books, or a favorite pair of shoes, it may be time to instill some basic organizational know-how. Research from the New York University Child Study Center shows that organizational skills training boosts school performance and reduces family squabbles in children with ADHD. Experts say that every child can learn to be more organized, beginning in toddlerhood. Here's how to get started, at any age.

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