Organizational Skills Run In The Family
Kids make a mess – and if they don’t learn organization skills from their parents, they will likely continue to make a mess for their entire lives. From putting toys away as a toddler to using a planner as a teenager, teaching kids to get organized doesn’t have to be a chore.
Your Example is More Powerful Than Your Instructions
The single most important thing you can do if you want your kids to be organized is to teach them by example. If you put away tools right away after you finish a project, if you use lists and live an uncluttered life, that is the only example your children will have to follow. There is no practical way to explain to your children how to be organized and efficient when their life is surrounded by clutter and lack of structure.
Make it Fun to Put Toys Away
It’s important for kids to get in the habit of picking up after themselves when they’re finished with a game, a toy or an activity. But just because playtime is over, it doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. If everything has a place, then putting toys or game pieces back where they belong can be a game in and of itself. Keep playthings in brightly colored boxes labeled with pictures or designs. Encourage your kids to try to find the right place for the right toy and reward them when they get it right.
Create Routines to Bookend the Day
The article “5 Ways to Teach Your Child About Organization suggests creating a morning and evening routine. No matter how chaotic or hectic the day is, if it begins and ends with the same predictable rituals, it can ground your children and give them a sense of pattern and consistency, which are the basis of an organized life.
Cook and Do Laundry Together
Every great chef is organized. Cooking is about precision, timing and preparation. When your children cook with you, they bond and have fun. But they also absorb the importance of preparing ingredients, measuring out specific amounts, waiting until the right time to add the correct items and cleaning as you go. The same goes for laundry. Meticulous sorting, separating, cleaning, folding and putting away can be both fun for your child and good for his or her sense of organization.
Prepare for the Next Day the Night Before
One of the most basic and effective organizational tools for adults is to plan out the next day the night before. This tactic can be applied to children, as well. When you spend a few moments asking your child about his or her desires and hopes for the next day, you can bond with them while instilling a sense of continuity from one day to the next.
Use Different Strategies at Different Ages
HGTV recommends using one strategy for kids who are between two and four years old, another for 5-8 year olds and another still for kids between the ages of nine and 12.
Start young, but when your kids are younger than four, make cleaning fun. Give your toddler his or her own bag to pick up smaller items while you collect larger ones.
When your child is between the ages of five and eight, they will be naturally more creative and they can accept more responsibility and reach higher shelves and cabinets. Give them more complicated tasks and create zones for which they are responsible. This is the age where it is critical to challenge clutter, constantly reevaluating and asking if they still play with this or fit into that.
For older children, give even more responsibility. Give them tasks, but as long as they finish organizing their section on time, don’t micromanage the strategy they use to get it done.
Use bonding activities like cooking to pass on organizational skills, and make cleaning fun. Adjust your strategy as your kids grow, reward organizational success and always teach by example.
About Author: Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who writes about parenting and home childcare.