Improving Organization with Video Games

Your son’s room looks like a deserted battleground, with dirty clothing strewn all over the floor, books and toys under the desk and falling out of his closet, and homework (both old and new) in various “piles” around the room. His backpack isn’t much different, except for the moldy fruit left at the bottom. He tells you he can’t find anything in his school locker as well.

You’ve tried to teach him about organizing his room better, especially so he won’t forget to take completed homework to school. While he listens and makes an attempt to pick things up and become more organized, he is unable to keep up with it. It’s not as if he doesn’t understand the importance of organization or even how to do it. His understanding of organization was illustrated one day when you were driving in the car and he told you about one of his favorite games.

Your son talked about how happy he was that he had finally overcome a major obstacle in a role-playing game he had played. He told you about how the enemy forces kept breaking through his defenses and that he hadn’t know what to do. He said he had had to go back and think about what he needed in order to deal with the enemy, including collecting enough material and gold to able to afford to rebuild the walls of the city. Once he had enough money to rebuild the walls, he needed to reorganize the layout of his soldiers so that he had his archers on the top of the wall, and his warriors waiting at the gate for an enemy attack. He also had to think back about having enough food to feed his soldiers, and organizing the layout by placing the the farms at the far reaches of the city where they were safe from enemy destruction.

How great would it be if you could get your son to apply the same organizational skills he used in the video game to his room, backpack, and keeping track of his schoolwork. Unfortunately, chances are that playing more video games that require organization won’t magically make your son’s homework find its way to school. However, you do have a good chance to help your son to think about applying his game-based organizational skills to his daily activities.

Kids love to talk about their video game exploits, often going into great detail about the “strategies” that lead to success. This type of conversation will give you an opportunity to connect what he is doing in his games to when and how organizational skills can be used in his daily activities.You might want to emphasize that organization is an ongoing process, rather than a one-time activity. Stress that it is sometimes important to stop and think about the materials you need to have before you begin organizing. Many children with organizational problems have limited skills and need to be taught how to organize themselves and their materials. If you can use your children’s interest in video games to help teach them that skill, they may be more apt to beat a level or two of home-based organizational challenges.

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