Organizational Skills for Teens

by Alice Drinkworth

    With growing independence, it is important for teens to learn organizational skills. Staying organized can help youth keep up with their busy lifestyles, perform better in school and prepare for college. There is more than one way to stay well-ordered. Teaching teens the basics gives them the opportunity to find a system that works for them.

    Organization System

    Teens deal with a lot of paperwork every day at school. Keep your teen organized with the right tools. Provide her with a three-ring, cloth binder with an accordion file, a pouch for pencils and pens, and an assignment notebook to keep track of homework, projects and upcoming tests. Help your teen get in the habit of removing unnecessary papers from the binder once a week to prevent it from becoming a wasteland.

    Study Space

    Designate a space in the house as a study area and encourage your teen to use it every day. It can be a desk in his room, a counter in the mud room, the kitchen table or a lap pad in a quiet corner of the living room. Wherever the study space, it should be free of distractions. Teens need a clear surface and good light for reading and working on assignments. Have supplies handy, such as pencils, paper, rulers and a calculator.

    Calendar

    Families with teenagers benefit by keeping a family calendar to track sports practices, appointments, meetings and project due dates. Use colored ink, with one color assigned to each family member, to keep track of who is going where. Encourage your teen to check the calendar daily. Talk about what steps she plans to take in the days before a project is due. Teens can stay further organized by planning their daily tasks in a weekly planner.

    Routines

    Encourage routines in the home. Have set mealtimes, bedtimes and wake times whenever possible, even on the weekends. Incorporate a study time in the routine, such as after dinner. Teens in the habit of doing homework at the same time every day are more likely to stay on top of the work. Encourage your teen to get adequate sleep. Being overtired affects concentration, making getting things done more of a challenge. According to TeensHealth, a teenager needs 8.5 to more than 9 hours of sleep each day.

    About the Author

    Alice Drinkworth has been a writer and journalist since 1995. She has written for community newspapers, college magazines and Salon.com. Drinkworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and won a media award for her in-depth coverage of local politics. She is also a certified master gardener.

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