Every parent I meet wants help teaching their kids to pick up after themselves. Kids will be kids, but it’s never too early to teach them good habits, including organizing!
Lead by Example
Kids learn by example. If they see you putting things away after you use them, they are much more likely to follow suit. Yes, this means you want to make a habit of being organized yourself. 😊
Teach Your Kids How To Organize
A shouted “go clean up your room” is not going to cut it. Kids need to be taught how to organize. The best way to help your kids is to organize their spaces with them when they’re young. You can use the change of seasons as a great excuse to tackle their closets, donating clothes and shoes that no longer fit (or won’t fit by next year), and toys and books they’ve outgrown. After doing this for a few seasons, you’ll eventually be able to step back and let your kids do this on their own.
When your kids are having a tough time letting go of a stuffed animal or toy, explain to them that they are helping provide wonderful gifts for kids who can’t afford to buy new toys. But don’t force them. They’ll let go when they’re ready. The generosity of your kids will astound you!
Make It Fun
Don’t make organizing a chore for your kids to dread. Turn it into a game. Each night, about an hour before bedtime, have everyone, mom and dad included, race around the house putting everything where it belongs. The kiddo who finishes first wins. You can set up a chart and at the end of each week or month, the child with the most “wins” gets to pick a fun activity for the family to do or choose dinner one night. This way you make the reward experience-based instead of thing-based. I guarantee you, they will figure out very quickly that if they just put things away once they are finished with them, they are more likely to win this game. 😊 And just like that, you’ve created a habit.
Like With Like
You can play a sorting game with your kids to teach them to keep “like with like.” All the stuffed animals live here. All your books go here. This drawer holds all of your t-shirts and this drawer is full of socks. This sorting process is crucial for the next step, which is making sure everything has a home.
Make Sure Everything Has A Home
Whether it’s drawers, bins, toy boxes or shelves, everything your children use should have a home. How can you expect your kids to be organized if they don’t know where their stuff belongs? Every child is different and learns differently so find what works best. For very young kids, using pictures as labels can teach them where things go. As they get older and start reading and writing, you can swap out those labels and even get the kids involved in making them.
Just remember…keep it fun. When your kids learn to organize, you’ll enjoy going to bed with a tidy home.
And as always, if you need help getting started, give me a call. I love teaching adults and kids how to be organized!