Does your child have trouble getting started on homework, projects or assignments? He or she may be lacking the tools and organizational skills needed to accomplish these tasks. The time you put in now to teach your child important time-management and organization strategies will pay off in the long run. These skills are essential to success.
When your child comes home with a large project or big test, teach him or her to get in the habit of following the steps below:
Get a calendar. This could be a paper calendar or an electronic calendar. Paper calendars work well for the visual learner. Electronic calendars work well for the busy, older student.(iCal and Google Cal are great if you and your child both have electronic devices because you can share the calendar you create and be in sync each day.)
Go straight to the day the project is due.
Go back one day and set your mind that the project is due on that day. Unforeseen events can, and will, occur. It is best to build in extra time.
Count the number of days and/or free hours there are between the day the project is assigned and the due date.
Break the task down into small parts.
Create a list of small steps that need to be completed in order to complete the larger project.
Write the list down in small, simple steps.
Circle any steps that are difficult or require parental involvement. If parental involvement is required, sync days when you can work with your child or take him or her shopping for the necessary supplies.
Determine the step that is most challenging and figure it out first.
Help your child through the difficult step or provide suggestions for how to get through this step. (See the teacher, ask a friend, perform a google search, go to the library or book store…)
Check tasks as they are completed. This visual is both rewarding and motivating.
Once a plan is in place and there is a visible solution to an overwhelming assignment, the brain is able relax, then snap back in gear and get going.
These documents are available for download to assist you and your child in this organizational strategy:
Big Picture Planning Template (a blank planning chart template that you can fill in)
Big Picture Planning Sample Document (a completed planning chart to use for reference)
- Most children up to middle school age will need to be taught this strategy and given assistance implementing it.
- Most students middle school age and above should be able to use this strategy independently the majority of the time.
- Students in college and beyond need to be experts at this. Time management is essential to success in college.
- This strategy can, and should, be applied to the college application process. Looked at as a whole, it is overwhelming. Broken down into pieces, it is manageable. Remember, start early.
- Three Ways to Stop Procrastination (business.time.com)
- Multitasking Tips for Parents (myiesolutions.wordpress.com)
Assistant Director, Informed Educational Solutions