The importance of a growth mindset for students

Growth Mindset quote and why growth mindset is important for studentsThe importance of a growth mindset for students cannot be underestimated.  Students are more likely to succeed with their studies if they develop a growth mindset compared to having that of a fixed mindset.

So what is mindset?

Mindset is the established set of ideas and attitudes held by someone.  Someone’s mindset will determine the way they behave, their attitude and outlook on life and what’s going on around them.

The kind of mindset a student has can really alter the way they approach everyday life and study.  The good news is that ones mindset is not set in stone and there are things you can do or change to shift your mindset to ensure you get the most out of study and life.

Different mindsets – fixed v growth

There are two different mindsets often discussed and outlined below are the basic differences between them when it comes to students and their learning.

Fixed mindset

Those students with a fixed mindset often process a belief that their talent and intelligence is fixed and incapable of being changed or improved.  With a fixed mindset they often:

  • ignore constructive criticism
  • have a negative internal dialogue with themselves
  • they don’t like to ask questions in case it makes them look stupid
  • use the words ‘I can’t’ a lot
  • give up quickly and particularly if something is hard or challenging
  • avoid challenges
  • they don’t want to look like failures.

Growth mindset

Students with a growth mindset typically believe they can grow their intelligence, are motivated and keen to learn.  Those with a growth mindset usually:

  • see mistakes and feedback as an opportunity to learn
  • actively pursue difficult things
  • seek new challenges
  • use the phrase ‘I can’t yet’
  • have a positive internal dialogue with themselves
  • if something is challenging they persevere.

So which mindset would your rather your child have?

I’m sure you can now see why developing a growth mindset for students is the way to go and how it is important for not only their studies but life as well.

To begin the process of fostering a growth mindset with our children (no matter what age) we need to catch them when they are thinking or speaking with a fixed mindset and assist to revise those patterns more towards a growth mindset.

If you need assistance to assist your child with their mindset and ensuring it is a growth one please get in touch as this is something I regularly work with individual or groups of students on – get in touch amanda@organisingstudents.com.au

 

10 common organising challenges

Have you ever wondered what the 10 most common organising challenges are that people face in their everyday lives?  Maybe you too will be able to relate to some or all of these in your own life?

At my last few organising and decluttering workshops in 2016 I asked people to list their organising challenge that they struggle with or what annoys them the most.  All the 10 common organising challenges listed here, to be honest, are pretty much what I expected based on my experience as an organising expert and are the common organising challenges most of my clients face.

10 common organising challenges

The 10 most common organising challenges listed here are ranked from the most common to the least common for people who have attended my workshops.

  1. A pile of paper clutterdealing with paper clutter – this is by far most people’s biggest challenge with 1/4 of those surveyed noting it as the organising challenge that annoys them the most.  Many vary from having one pile to multiple piles of paper throughout the living space and home.
  2. wardrobes – this was also quite high with just under 1/4 indicating that they wish their wardrobes were more organised so that they could find the clothes they want to wear more easily.  Many people also admitted to having too many clothes for the actual wardrobe space.
  3. bedrooms – this was next on the list where people felt their bedrooms were too cluttered, with clothes and other items, and could do with better organisation.
  4. kitchen space – This too is quite a common organising challenge for many people and often the source of the problem is that the kitchen becomes a dumping ground for anything including school notes, mail and papers to wallets, keys and many other items which either don’t seem to have a home or people choose not to put away at the time.
  5. junk drawer – the junk drawer is also another common challenge that comes up time and time again.  All homes have that drawer in their kitchen that just seems to accumulate more items over time.  Click here for a blog on how to organise your junk drawer in 5 easy steps. An image of a junk drawer in a kitchen which can be an organising challenge
  6. home office – this was lower down the list than I thought it would be and probably because it is often a space that is removed from the rooms most used in people’s day to day lives.  In my experience home offices are often another dumping ground for things that either don’t get put away or don’t have a home. T his space can become a ‘junk drawer’ for the entire home.
  7. time management – several people indicated that rather than a physical space being their main organising challenge it was their inability to manage their time that was more of an issue.
  8. photos – this too is a common issue that many face in today’s day and age.  This issue can centre around the move from physical photos (of which people often have lots sitting unsorted in boxes) to digital photos (which are often not organised in any manner to allow quick access and review in terms of finding when needed).  I was only talking about this with a client recently and providing her with a solution going forward so she doesn’t add to the issue and then when she has time going back through and organising all those prior to now.
  9. too much stuff – many people admitted that thy feel overwhelmed by too much stuff and don’t know what to do about it and where to start.
  10. image of a young child's drawingmiscellaneous – this is a mixture of miscellaneous items that were included and that I grouped together just so I could list them in the top 10.  I believe many are common organising challenges people face – from how to deal with memorabilia including children’s school and art work; toys both inside and outside the home; the whole house; and the inability to throw things away.

So what about you, can you relate to any of these common organising challenges in your own life?

If you are feeling overwhelmed by any of these challenges or would just like a plan of attack to know how best to deal with them and feel more organised, then please get in touch – amanda@organsingyou.com.au or call 0419 967 166.

How to get more than a yes or no answer when asking children questions about their day

Can you relate to this when asking children questions about how they went at school and the only answers you get are short one word responses or no response at all?

How often have you asked the following questions to your child and have been frustrated with their response?

How was school today?  – ” Fine” or “okay” or “not good”

What do you do? – “nothing”

This is a topic that often comes up when conducting workshops so I want to share with you the following tips on asking children questions and getting better responses.

Asking children questions

As a parent I know I have often asked these same questions to my own children.  When your child is younger it isn’t too bad as you generally kept abreast of what was going on at primary school anyway.  However when your child start’s secondary school, and the communication from the school is usually less, it would be great to know more about what is happening in their daily lives.

Don’t despair it may be that you are just not asking the right questions, or not asking them at the right time, which then allows your child to give you the one word responses they give.IMAGE of a family eating dinner around the dining table asking children questions

Here are a couple of tips that you might want to consider when asking children questions:

  • Ask open-ended questions which will allow you to keep the conversation going longer rather than questions that can be answered by one word responses.
  • Children don’t often realise the type of answer you are wanting so it is a good idea to make sure you ask specific questions.
  • Try and ask positive questions which will give your child a chance to express concerns where as asking negative questions it might stop the conversation quicker.

Questions you might like to ask (apply to children of all ages)

Below are a few suggestions on questions you might like to try but feel free to alter so they are applicable to you, your children and circumstances:

  1. Tell me about the best thing that happened at school today.
  2. What was the best thing you learnt today?
  3. Was there something really interesting that you learnt?  I’d love to hear about it.
  4. What was challenging about your day? Why did you find it challenging?
  5. Did a classmate or friend have anything fun or interesting to say?
  6. What was the best thing your teacher asked you to do  in ____ today?
  7. What game did you play at recess/lunch?  Who played with you?
  8. Tell me about a moment in class when you felt confused.  Did you seek any assistance?
  9. Was there anytime today that someone wasn’t very nice to you?
  10. Were there any moments today when you were proud of yourself and something you did?
  11. What did you learn about yourself today?
  12. Is there anything that you are worried about?
  13. What are you looking forward to about tomorrow?
  14. Is there a question you’d like me to ask you about your day?

Give it a go

Why not give some of these questions a go when your child comes home from school today?

Before you do it might be an idea though to consider picking just one or two rather than starting to ask all of these at once.   Your child, particularly older children, will really start to wonder why the change and become suspicious about why you are now asking so many questions!  If it goes well, then next time why not throw in a couple of different ones.

If you want to encourage this to become an ongoing part of your communication with your child it is important that when they actually do talk and answer your question that you make sure you listen.  Teenagers in particular are vary wary of parents cutting in and not letting them speak.

Personally I usually find I have the most useful conversations, and get the best answers, when they are having an afternoon snack, in the car on the way to after school sport or at the dinner table.  These sort of questions are pretty much routine in our household these days and not only my way of taking an interest but also allowing me to find out more about what is happening in the day to day lives of my children.

It would be great to hear if your communication improves as a result of altering what you ask your child about their day – please let me know – amanda@organisingstudents.com.au

It is never too early (or late) to teach children organising skills

Children really are like little sponges from an early age and we need to start teaching them to pick up after themselves and be organised or they will never learn.  It really is up to us as parents to begin facilitating this and it is never too early or late to start! 

If you teach them from a young age, it will not only free up your time, but allow them to gain important life skills and it will assist them with self confidence by feeling capable of being able to do things themselves.quote on not doing things for your children but letting them learn by doing - teach children organising skills

Here are 8 tips to assist you to teach children organising skills:

  1. Developing and following routines – this is one thing that helps children right from an early age begin to learn the foundations of basic organisational and time management skills.  In the beginning it does require a bit of work from us as parents and in particular ensuring everything has a place to live and letting children know where things go.For younger children it can be useful to begin verbalising or making charts with the steps of a particular routine such as morning or evenings.  The clearer you make it for your children and develop regular routines the easier it usually is for everyone.Another example of this is to have toys and things in containers that are labeled or for younger children they could have pictures rather than words to assist them to know where things live.  When children are young and they ask you to find something it can be useful to remind them that they know where they live as that is why we put things back away so you can find them easily next time.
  2. Understanding what it means to be organised – children like to understand why it is important to be organised, how it helps to make life easier and why it can save time.  Be honest with them and naturally give them explanations that are age appropriate so they can understand.  Explain that getting organised isn’t always fun or quick but that it helps in the long run.For younger children you can keep it simple by teaching them things like stacking, matching, wiping, sweeping which are all developmental skills and often they won’t even realize or know that they are learning organising or cleaning up skills.
  3. Leading by example – One of the very first steps as a parent, in teaching your children organising skills, is to ensure you are leading by example.  We have all heard the term ‘monkey see monkey do’ and it really is true.It is really important that you create an environment that reflects organisation.  For instance you could have a family calendar in a central location that everyone, children included, put their information on.  It is also good to ensure that everything has a specific place to live so it is easier for you and your children to find.  It also encourages children to put things back and keeps the place more organised and with less clutter.Remember if you are expecting them to clean up their toys you also need to make sure you don’t leave your own clutter lying around either.Many mothers often get in touch as they are worried they might be passing on bad habits or skills to their children so they get me involved to assist in breaking the cycle, teaching them organisational and time management skills that they can then pass on to the rest of their families.
  4. Don’t just assume they understand what you mean – often we expect our children to know what we are trying to get them to do.  In most cases though they need to be shown first, and possibly several times before they are able to begin doing something themselves.  Usually I suggest you show the child and then be there providing support as they do it themselves a few times and then eventually they will get the hang of it and you no longer necessarily need to be involved in the process.As an example you can show children that when they play with something it needs to go away before the next thing comes out.  You can also involve them in picking up their toys and putting them away at the end of playtime or at the end of the day.  You can start teaching this at a very young and continue on as children get children.  If you struggle with getting your children to do this then a strategy could be to give toys or things time out so they soon get the picture.
  5. Give and teach them strategies – you can teach and use the simple 1-2-3 method to break down most tasks:

    Getting organised or ready – this is teaching your children where they need to be and that they have everything with them they need to complete a task.
    Staying focused/doing the task – this means teaching them they need to stay focused in order to complete the task at hand and learning to say ‘no’ to distractions along the way – this becomes an even more important skill as children get older with completing homework and technology.
    Getting it done/finishing the task – finally this involves teaching a child to complete a task and then checking it has all been finished or done.

    Once children understand this basic method they can then start tackling more tasks independently.

    Try these for simple tasks where you can use this method – brushing ones teeth, packing up a room, emptying the dishwasher or for older children completing their homework.

  6. Asking them for their help – this is another way of empowering children at a young age to help you and to learn organising skills.  Why not ask them how they might go about doing something and give them the opportunity to have a go.  Remember that this is a good way for children to learn and where you can support them rather than doing it for them.An example of a task could be asking them to do something like help you to fold and put the washing way – for younger children you could start by giving them socks to put away and then increasing this to folding them and other items like undies and continuing to progress with other items as they get older until they can do it all themselves.
  7. Making things fun – sometimes making things fun can be a good strategy to adopt in teaching organising skills without children even realising.  For instance at a young age you can make something like packing up toys or getting ready for school into a game of ‘beat the buzzer or the time’.
  8. Please don’t just do it for them – this doesn’t help anyone and if anything creates more work for us as parents.Sometimes we need to reinforce something with our children to ensure a task gets done and I encourage you to do this even though it can be tempting and easier to just do ourselves.  If we continue to pick up after our children then they never actually learn.  An example of this is that I have for some time been getting my children to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and if they leave it on the bench or near the sink, I ask them to come and do it rather than just doing it for them.  Another one is that I no longer pick up their dirty washing in their rooms and that it is their responsibility to put it in the wash or they run the risk of running out of an item or something they need to wear.

If you are still not sure on what you can do for what age group – a simple way to look at it is:

Age 2-4 – keep it simple and very easy without too many steps

Age 5-8 – get creative, give them a challenge and start teaching responsibility

Age 9+ – up the responsibility, give them choices to make and let them establish their own routines  

If you get children involved and start by making some of these things fun from an early age and they won’t even know they are decluttering and organising.  Remember these new skills won’t develop over night and might take time but it really will be worth it in the long run!

If you feel you need assistance to teach children organising skills please get in touch – I regularly work with children of all agesamanda@organisingyou.com.au

Top 2016 organising and decluttering posts

Organising and decluttering to some can be very daunting and overwhelming when it really doesn’t have to be.  As another year has passed I thought it would be useful to put together a summary of articles, quotes, blogs from 2016 that might assist you and others when it comes to getting organised. Maintenance is the key image - organising and decluttering

As I enter into my 6th year of business as an organising expert I can honestly say that I love making a difference to the lives of my clients and to thank them for having me part of their journey to become more organised.

I hope that you find something here that inspires or assists you in some way on your own organising and decluttering journey.

Trends/Articles of Interest

The 6 habits of highly organised people

How to live with a messy person (or a neat freak) and not go insane

What is the Konmari method of organising?

6 things I question about the Konmari method of organising

What is a digital estate?

Maintenance is the key to being organised

If you ever wondered what my life as an organiser is about

How writing to do lists helps your brain

Great Quotes

These are just some of the quotes people responded to in 2016:

text on a quote about not letting go of stuff - organising and declutteringquote about it's not a good deal if you don't need it - organising and decluttering

quote text on this being the beginning of anything you want

image and text of a child being able to focus on what they are good at

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogs

Making the most of vertical space

Do you suffer from procrastination?

Move from busy to balanced

10 common organising myths clarified

Tips on organising recipes in your kitchen

 

Please do get in touch if you’d like some further advice or any assistance to get better organised in 2017.

Top 2016 posts on student organisation, time management and study

Another year has past and I thought it would be useful to share with you articles of interest and blogs that I came across (or wrote) in 2016 that relate to student organisation, time management, study and of course parenting.Image of a student working at her desk - student organisation

I’ve had a great year working with students in schools (primary and secondary) as well as 1 on 1 and sharing my knowledge, skill and tips in all of the above mentioned areas.  I very much believe that these are skills that not only assist students whilst at school but throughout their lives.

Here’s to another great year with school about to start (at least in the southern hemisphere) and I look forward to continuing to make a difference to students lives of all ages.

Trends/Articles of Interest

Why our children are so bored at school, cannot wait, get easily frustrated and have no real friends?

Why I am choosing the local state school over private

How the education system is making our students stress and sick

When homework is useless

How do I control my child’s screen time

Why growth mindset isn’t working in schools as yet?

Parents outraged after private school allows girls to wear pants

Organisation

Why Goal Setting is important for students

5 student organising tips to staying organised

My top 5 organising student resources

Time management

Time Management Skills are vital for our teens

Study skills

Having an exam study plan is key

Re-reading is inefficient – 8 tips for studying smarter

Other

Tips for reading student reports

12 tips on making new friends at secondary school 

Tips and tools for parents from ABC Revolution School – a great read

Peer Pressure and Influence

Could you be ruining your kids?

I hope you find some of these student organisation articles useful and that they address some of your questions or challenges that you as parents might be facing in society today when it comes to your children and their education.

Please do get in touch if I can be of assistance to you our your child or if you believe it might be worth me getting in touch with their school to see if I can offer one of my many workshops.

Here’s to a great 2017 for everyone!

 

6 common concerns around transition to secondary school

Transition to secondary school is one of the biggest transitions a student will face in their lives. Whilst some children find the process very easy, many more can find this time quite daunting and stressful, and then you have others who are somewhere in between.

Common concerns

During my ‘Getting Organised for Transition Workshops’, usually in the later part of the school year, with Grade 6 students, I have found that these 6 common concerns around transition pop up time and time again during discussions.

  1. Will they be able to make friends? For some students, they are going off to secondary school on their own, and not with other students from their primary school and this in particularimage of 3 girls at school around transition to secondary school is a concern to them. Reassurance is needed that they are not the only ones and it is useful to remind them that they actually already know how to make friends and can do it again.  For other tips to assist them to make friends click here to read.
  2. Worried about the amount of the homework they will get. This comes up in nearly every discussion with grade 6 students. They are concerned that there will be a dramatic increase and that it will take up all their spare time.  The other concern they have is that it will be too hard for them as well.  They need to know that homework is going to increase and that it is good to begin developing a good homework routine early that will then allow them to have time for the other activities that are important to them.  Organisation and good time management is key!
  3. Going from being the oldest and biggest to the youngest and for some the smallest too.  The children are currently used to being the bigger ones at primary school usually in both age and size.  So thinking about going to secondary school this will be flipped on its head again.  Recently I had a boy stand up to demonstrate this concern to me by showing me how small he was now to his current classmates so he is feeling daunted by having even larger students towering over him.
  4. I won’t know my way around and will get lost easily.  Even though by now these children have often had one or two visits to the secondary school they will go to next year they are still concerned about not knowing where things are.  The size of the school will probably be double or triple in both size and numbers of students to what they are currently used to.  These concerns around new surroundings are normal even though it won’t take them long when they are there every day to become familiar.  Many schools will give the students maps they can familiarise themselves with too.
  5. Image of secondary school lockers for transitionThey have concerns around using lockers and forgetting their locker codes.  Whilst many students are excited about having the opportunity to have their own lockers they are often a little concerned at the same time.  They are currently used to having access to both their tubs and school bags inside their classrooms so having lockers is going to be quite a change for them.  They do not currently have locks and are often worried that they will forget their combination codes.  Fortunately, the school keeps record of them and has a master code (or bolt cutters) if needed.
  6. Getting detention. This is a common worry for students and gets raised time and time again.  I had one child ask me recently if he was going to get detention for making mistakes in his homework.  Naturally I reassured him that this was not the case and that by making mistakes that is actually how one learns.  I also usually tell them that if they continue to do the right things then detention won’t be an issue thy need to actually worry about.

What you can do now

The main messages that I give to students, teachers and parents at this time of year is to continue communicating and talking about all of these concerns and feelings they have.   Naturally any discussions should highlight they are not alone and that these feelings are very normal for this time of year. Where possible it also helps to be positive and encouraging to assist with the process.

For any assistance with transition, prior to or after, please don’t hesitate to get in touch as I offer a variety of workshops as well as 1:1 sessions with students.

 

Making the most of vertical space

Have you used vertical space well in your home?  Do you lack storage space in your home?  If the answer is yes or even if it isn’t you might like to consider utilising your vertical space.

image of jewellery hanging on the inside of a wardrobe cupboard using the vertical space

Image: pinterest

What is vertical space and why use it?

Vertical space is one of the best strategies you can use for storage and in particular for those living in small spaces.  When I work with clients there is always an opportunity to use vertical space better to store items.  By doing this you can increase the storage capacity in a wardrobe, kitchen cupboard, pantry, laundry cupboard, garage and the list goes on.  Most of the time vertical space has not even been considered as an option.

 

Ideas to maximise vertical space

There are many different places you can utilise vertical space including:

image of tiered shelf rack to store cans on In the kitchen

  • In the pantry you can use stacking shelves so you can create multiple layers of grocery items rather than wasting the space on a shelf by having one lot of tins for example.
  • On the inside door of a pantry you could have a spice rack or set up a variety of different shelves to house other items.

    image courtesy of ownerbuildernetwork

    image: courtesy of ownerbuildernetwork

  • Another idea on the inside of a door is to have hooks to hang your tea-towels, oven mitts and aprons too.
  • You can also use a magazine holder or something similar to store items on the inside of a cupboard.
image of shoe organiser to store shoes and clothes and scarves using the vertical space

source: pinterest

 

In the wardrobe

  • there are many ideas available on the internet to assist with wardrobes so check them out.
  • if you have a walk-in-robe then you can use all the spare wall space to gain extra storage space.  By adding a few hooks you can hang all sorts of different items like bathrobes, scarves, jewellery, hats, caps and the list goes on.
image of wire racks on the inside of the door storing hair dryers and hair straighteners using the vertical space

image: pinterest

Bathroom

  • using the inside cupboards to hang hairdryers or straighteners with hooks.
  • use the back of the doors to hang multiple towels.

    image of bathroom door with 3 towel rails using the vertical space

    image: courtesy of Martha Stewart

 

 

 

Shelving

One of the easiest ways to utilise any vertical space is to add more shelving. Work out what it is you need to store and adjust or build additional shelves in to the right height.

If you’d like some assistance to maximise storage and space in your home then please get in touch.  I regularly work with clients providing them with ideas to solve their storage dilemmas.

12 tips on how to make new friends at secondary school

image of 3 girls at schoolOne of the biggest fears for many Grade 6 students  about going to secondary school is wondering how they will make new friends.

Whether they are going with others they already know, or going off to a secondary school all by themselves, this can be a very daunting time for many.  Some children make friends really easily, while others can find it difficult.  As you know friendships don’t happen over night and are usually formed when children have common interests.  So how do you help your child and assist them through these worries they may have?

Tips on making friends

Here are 12 tips that you can discuss with them to alleviate any concerns or anxiousness they may be feeling around having to make new friends:

  1. remind them that they already know how to make friends as they have friends now.
  2. talk to them and remind them that they are not alone – many others will be also going to school without friends and in the same situation as them. Discuss that it is natural to feel nervous or scared about a new situation and that these are normal feelings they maybe experiencing.
  3. talk to them about being themselves and not trying to be someone else and who they are not.
  4. to try and be confident – that they should be a friend to themselves by avoiding negative self thoughts.  Use helpful self-talk that is encouraging and reminder to be patient as well won’t hurt.
  5. be approachable when starting at a new school by saying ‘hello’.
  6. to smile and acknowledge someone – it goes a long way to breaking down barriers.  Remind them not to walk into a room looking at the floor or not at anyone as this isn’t a welcoming behaviour.
  7. get them to look for someone else who may also seem shy and say hello – remind them that they might even be shyer than them.
  8. introduce yourself and ask what the other person’s name is
  9. ask questions like ‘what school did you go to last year?’, ‘where do you live?’, what’s your favourite sport or subject?’
  10. be a good listener when talking to others and try and remember what they tell you.  Sometimes if you are in a group look for an opening to join into a conversation.
  11. get involved in activities that the school will have during transition days and at the start of the year as this will assist you to get to know others in your class and at the same year level.
  12. join clubs and activities at the school as this is a good way to meet other people too.

If your child is going to a different secondary school to many of their current friends, another useful thing to do is to encourage them to stay in touch and spend time with them.   Talk to them about how it is okay to feel sad about the upcoming changes but it doesn’t mean that they will forget each other because they are not going to secondary school together.  Remind them that it will be exciting to share their new school adventures when they next catch up!

As a parent just keep the lines of communication going around how to make friends and continue to offer support and guidance – here’s to many more friendships for your children.

If you’d like any assistance with the transition process please do get in touch as I run workshops around this for groups and can conduct 1:1 sessions too.