Organizing isn’t something that just comes to us; we learn and practice it. Therefore, it should be something that we teach our kids. Developing our children’s organizing skills will also benefit us! Over time, what we’re teaching them will become a habit and will ease daily stressors in our life. Sure, things won’t be perfect but I can guarantee the practice will help. Here are some ways to teach them to be organized…
- Develop Routines: Develop routines throughout the day — morning, afterschool, dinnertime, bedtime and so on. Children are comforted by routines and the more they are practiced, the more they will stick. For each routine, teach them where items belong and follow through with that practice. As part of their daily routines, consider designating one time each day to pick up items around the house. For example, have the kids’ pick up their toys before dinner or right before bed – whatever time works for your family. Make sure they know where items belong. It’s so important to repeat it daily and hold them accountable in order to develop the routine.
- Empower Them: From an early age get them involved with chores around the house and during errands. It may surprise you what tasks they are capable of starting at such a young age. Give them certain tasks like helping to put silverware away or getting laundry and allow them to make decisions about items. This will build their confidence, comfort, and sense of ownership.
- Categorize Items: One important skill of organizing is categorizing. Take a variety of objects and sort them together while discussing different aspects such as the type of toy, color, size, etc. This will help them decipher the difference between objects and learn to place similar items together.
- Make Lists: Kids love accomplishments and the simple task of checking off items on a list can be very rewarding. Teach them how to create and use different types of lists – lists with steps (4 steps in morning routine, recipes) or lists with items needed (grocery lists). This teaches them how to organize their thoughts and is an important skill in staying organized. For the younger ones, color-coding and using pictures helps.
- Level of Importance: Continually talk to them about the value of items. Do you need four of those? Do you love, use or need it? Teach them to only keep what they love, use or need. This may be very difficult for some especially the younger they are but keep the conversations going and it will develop.
- Prepare Ahead of Time: Before an outing, discuss what they will need and teach them how to prepare. Try having your child get ready for school the night before. Have them set out their clothes, prepare snack for lunches, place homework in their backpack. This will help you in the morning AND it will teach them to consider what they need and develop their time management skills.
- Create Space + Time for Homework: Designate one quiet space in the home as the homework station. Ideally, it should be an area with pencils and school materials handy. Also, establish the time of the day when homework should be complete. This will help build responsibility, taking care of their own space and developing their time management skills.
Teaching your children to be organized takes time. But the more they practice, the more they’ll grasp it. Just remember, they are kids and they will make messes but if they know how to clean it up, the more it will help you!