Mind-mapping and Organisational Skills
Spring has most definitely sprung! Traditionally a time to spring clean and declutter our lives with lots of ways to unburden your bookshelves and children’s bedrooms coming up*. In our household it is also a time to make plans for the Summer and possibly imbibe a tad too much chocolate.
Our plans for the Summer start with our family meetings where we review our weekly vision board (‘Kanban’) for homework in process and household things to be done. Then update out reward charts with stars and give out pocket money. We then take time to plan activities for the weekend or weeks ahead. We try to do this every Saturday morning, it’s not easy but as it is part of the family routine now, with a little patience we make it happen most weeks.
My favourite part of this process is when we get to plan an event like a birthday party or our summer holidays. I have been using the process of mind-mapping for a long time now. I find it works much better for me than linear lists to organize my thoughts and ideas. Also as a family we can discuss a subject and include everybody’s point of view on one map. We have even tackled some tricky problem solving using this technique. It’s fun and colourful and great for engaging the kids. Mind-mapping is an easy technique to learn and there are loads of resources for learning how to do them either using pen and paper or using interactive software. They are a fantastic tool when you need to pack a family into one car for two weeks!
We find that both these techniques have worked for our family mostly because they are so visual and can help children (and adults) understand how to manage their time better. Using them also comes with the added bonus that they can see how we as adults have to balance activities and chores as part of our everyday lives. The ‘Kanban Board’ was originally developed as a visual aid in industry. It is split into three columns entitled ‘to do’; ‘in process’ and ‘done’. Each task would be allocated a post –it note (or magnetic blank) and everyone involved in the process would be able to see where the task was. This is a very basic description of the process but enough to give you an idea of how it works – and it works wonders for teaching kids especially older children about prioritizing tasks , managing their ‘free’ time and getting homework done and handed in on time.
Most importantly for me is that these techniques are adaptable and something every member of the family can learn to use. As a parent I feel like I am giving my children some useful organisational tools that can help them as not only as study skills but also as ways to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
Enjoy the sunshine (and the chocolate)…
Further Information: Recommended Reading
Mind Mapping for Dummies by Florian Rustler (2012)
A really good all-round resource for adults and teenagers.
Mind Map for Kids: An Introduction by Tony Buzan (2005)
Great for younger kids to learn to introduce the technique.
Lynn Frank is a coordinator for Passage, the Parent Support Group for the English-speaking community in Luxembourg. If you would like to know more about our work contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org