Dadsnet -Teaching 10 year olds to be more organised.

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  • Dadsnet -Teaching 10 year olds to be more organised.
  • 5plusn8

    My nearly 11 year old daughter has a major organisation problem, she forgets everything she needs for school, loses shit all the time and is a general mobile chaos machine. She is very charismatic and intelligent.. She got that from her mum.
    Skool have raised concerns about how she will cope with the change from junior to senior skool next Sept. They have mentioned perhaps we should see an ed psych.

    I am skeptikal in that I wonder – do they think she has a bigger problem .
    And I also wonder are Ed Psychs any good? I do not like labelling and am very wary.
    I feel that the root of her issue is that we do everything for her, helicopter parenting. She never has to worry about having that thing as it magically appears in her school bag, is tidied up for her or is repurchased when she loses it.

    I was thinking that we need home strategies like lists and giving her responsibility for own stuff etc etc might be all we need to do (which is a pretty big task)

    Any comments or tips…

    (I feel like I have answered my own question, but could really do with tips as to how to be less of a helicopter and encourage the wife to be the same, without being a total bastard to either of them which is how I normally end up, without wanting to , but I’m not that subtle.)

    Premier Icon nickc

    I think you know the answer by the sounds of it. It’ll be tough, and I’d suggest a limited bit by bit strategy so maybe telling her that her job is to get to breakfast by x time, than once she’s managing that, then introduce another task, say have school bag ready, and so on.

    Good luck

    Is she getting good skores in skience and mathematiks?


    She sounds exactly like me!

    Whilst it hasn’t massively harmed my life (that I’m aware of), it would be a little easier if I had learned a few tricks to help me along the way. If an Ed Psych can give that, great. But probably speak to them yourself – get them to give you the tools.

    To be honest, just letting the school know you are going to get her to deal with consequences of losing things by not replacing them for a bit will probably help.



    get to breakfast by x time

    Are you spying on me? Appearing for meals and at the front door on time is a major issue..


    Have a few more children and you won’t have the time to do anything for them?


    I had a son (now 13, year8) like this so I got him a unit with gratnell trays for each subject and also deeper trays for swimming/PE/scouts kit. They all got labelled up by him with my help setting them all up. It did take a bit of pressure to keep it organised but he soon saw the benefit.

    I also purchased A4 strong plastic wallets for each subject so they can easily pack their bag for the next days subject.

    Might seem extreme but it needed to work as he is one of 3.

    Also they need to be allowed to forget and take the consequences and you are doing no favours by repurchasing as there is no consequence to mislaying her/your stuff.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    Our two both went through a phase of this.

    It just genuinely seems to be the wiring in their brains going to pot for a few months as they grow.

    It passes, don’t fret, try to head off issues by organising them yourself rather than expecting them to do it – they can’t.


    Googles gratnell trays.

    Ahh we have these already! This is a great idea.

    In the case of my two older sons, who were extremely disorganized to put it mildly, I found the best solution was to let their forgetfulness get them into trouble at school. So if they forgot their sport kit/homework they had to face the repercussions themselves. It soon made them focused at secondary school.


    Sounds like you know what to do.
    If you have never had to organise stuff & have responsibility for things, then you don’t get the chance to learn.

    If it was me, I would start adding small things in:
    i.e. – for the next 2 weeks, we will continue to make sure your lunch is ready, but your job is to remember your games kit & pack it.
    Build up from there, gradually.

    Also, make sure as much as possible is done the night before so it’s not a major panic in the morning.

    You could also have a ‘leaving the house’ checklist for each day of the week near the front door.

    Mon – lunch, games kit, pencil case, exercise books
    Tues – lunch, pencil case, exercise books
    Wed – lunch, violin, pencil case, exercise books

    Those trays are a great idea, if you are organised. As a disorganised person, i can see myself forgetting what goes where, having stuff which is not easily categorised and ending up with well over half those trays becoming dumping grounds for ‘stuff’. The nature of being disorganised is in not being able to use exactly those kinds of trays


    I love the way this place has people that will give up their time to advise a stranger. Thank you all I feel more positive already.
    Liking the trays idea.

    Premier Icon wors

    In the case of my two older sons, who were extremely disorganized to put it mildly, I found the best solution was to let their forgetfulness get them into trouble at school. So if they forgot their sport kit/homework they had to face the repercussions themselves. It soon made them focused at secondary school.

    Ive thought about this too, my lad has just started in year 7 and has found it a bit overwhelming with all the extra stuff he’s got to remember, they have a school issued diary/journal for writing any homework or extra curricular stuff but doesn’t bother writing anything down opting to trying to remember everything, which he doesnt so were constantly nagging.


    Well the obvious answer is to remove pudding.

    Premier Icon pocpoc

    Have a few more children and you won’t have the time to do anything for them?

    Our eldest of three (7yrs) now get his own breakfast on a Morning. 5yo sister is now starting to get hers sometimes too. just cereal and milk – nothing hot and dangerous!
    I’m out at work before they wake most mornings and Mrs pp is trying to get everything and everyone ready.
    He sometimes empties the dishwasher too, which results in a fun game of guessing where his logic has put stiff when I can’t find it later!

    guessing where his logic has put stiff when I can’t find it later!


    Premier Icon GrahamS

    And I also wonder are Ed Psychs any good?

    Can’t speak for all of them, but our eldest daughter (7) has seen one at our school as she has some confidence issues (being very hard on herself for not being instantly perfect at things) and her sessions have been very helpful.

    As for advice: lists, responsibilities and having a place for things all sound good to me. I’d definitely agree with your hunch that magically fixing things for her means she doesn’t learn to do them herself or experience the consequences.

    Open-ended questions are good too. e.g. instead of “Have you got your costume, towel, goggles and shampoo?”, try “What do you need for swimming class today?”

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    I live with two extremely untidy women: one 39, the other 7.

    I’m forever compalining abiut their mess, but it’s not working. And so, I’m also open to suggestions to the OP as I want to make sure my daughter heads off on a better path than Mrs North who’s too far gone..!

    Time for a bit of nudge theory. I know that consequences with my daughter aren’t feared immediately: “I’ll just dance without my ballet shoes then” is the usual instant response, with only some sort of remorse (days or weeks) later.

    As always with kids, have a plan and be consistent..!

    Ideal time to address it really – it’s not going to be a problem until she gets to secondary school.

    The solution is simple – don’t pack her bag for her, just get her into the routine of packing her own bag for the next day at the same time every evening, supervise it to start with, and make sure everything she needs – sports kit etc – is ready to go – trays or baskets as above. Laminate her timetable, stick it on the wall, then get her to refer to it as she packs.

    If her room is a tip she’ll need to spend an additional 20 minutes or so tidying before she packs.

    In the morning allocate five minutes for her to think about what she needs and might have forgotten.

    Be consistent, everything else – tv, gaming, mates – works around things like homework, meals and prep which never move. Kids crave routine.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Kids crave routine.

    I must be doing something wrong then. Mine crave Haribo.

    Do you give them the Haribo at the same time every day?

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    PS worth seeing the Educational Psychologist as she may have some form of dyslexia.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou

    Do you give them the Haribo at the same time every day?

    Just ring a bell.


    yup, beat it into them you. must. be. the. same. as. everyone. else.


    For the OP, the horse has bolted a bit in terms of my suggestion, but it may help others. Our two are 8 yrs old and we have started to introduce more responsibility on them and rewarding positive results (extra pocket money etc).

    For example, they are asked to pack their bags in the morning for school and we leave it to them to work out what they need (PE kit, spelling book, drum sticks, whatever). Right now we aren’t at the ‘let them learn and be told off at school’ stage as clearly that would be unfair at their age – we simply double check before school by looking ourselves or simply asking ‘did you remember to pack your trainers as it’s running club today’.

    One of the two is very organised (borderline photographic memory at times from a very young age) whereas the other is a complete airhead when it comes to remembering this stuff – hopefully this ‘training’ will help her as she gets older when we/school will expect more personal responsibility.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Do you give them the Haribo at the same time every day?

    Just meal times.

    All good advice above on how to help her- pick one thing to try and do it consistently.
    I’m a SENCO at an outstanding primary in the ghetto so my thoughts are
    1. What are school doing to help before they jump on ed psych bus? Do they use task boards, Tick lists, daily checklists, visual prompts etc as suggested above? If not why not! They can’t tell you there’s a problem but not do anything
    2. If they have tried stuff and think there is an issue ie stuff that normally works isn’t then you want a person centred planning meeting with teacher, transition leader, kid, parents and SENCO- to discuss strategies together and develop a Provision map of what helps her (this should go to high school with her) and maybe a one page profile to help with transition
    3. A’s suggested a bit above- ask her what she thinks will help- “what helps you remember at school” etc
    4. Ask wether they plan to apply for extra time in her sats- they might just get away with blagging this if she’s undergoing SEnD support
    Until all that is done I wouldn’t worry about the ed psych.- they will only suggest the same sorts of strategies and are really a last resort where everything else has been tried. They can ultimately diagnose/ begin diagnosis of dyspraxia, dyslexia etc but their main role is to give advice to help schools, parents and pupils cope.

    If you want more info on dealing with the school email my username – always happy to make fellow union member’s lives harder!

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