6 Ways to Teach Children to Be More Organised
Like most behaviours, being organized is also a habit that can be encouraged and/or taught. For some, being meticulous and tidy is their second nature. As adults, they can’t help but straighten a crooked picture in the hallway they pass or reorganize the pens on their desk while speaking on the phone with a client. The first glimpses of this might be of them as a child always having to help pack up their toys or lining up the hot wheels car on the shelf. Then there are those that grow up with a more functional disorganization. Everything looks everywhere, but they seem to know where everything is….sort of. They often have more of a free spirit, and even as children it was probably very difficult to get them to keep their rooms livable! Obviously, many people live somewhere in the middle…they can keep certain things tidy and other things not so well. A lot of how we are as children can be evidenced by where we are now as adults. So, if you have children, start early and start simple.
Teaching children to be organized not only saves the parents mental state, but also develops in the kids a level of respect for those who also live under the same roof. Here are 5 ways to help teach kids to be organized.
#1 Use Clearly Labelled Containers:
Even very young children can understand if the box has a picture of blocks on it, that’s where the blocks go. And if you help them put the blocks away in the same box, after awhile they will be able to know right where the blocks go on their own. You can also use this for their drawers and closets with clothing, shoes, backpacks, etc. by printing out pictures and attaching them.
#2 Pack Up One Type of Toy Before Moving to the Next:
You can teach your children that we need to pack up whatever they are playing with before they move on to the next item. This gets them into a habit of not just dumping everything into one pile. Also, for a child packing up will become second nature after awhile instead of leaving a mess and moving on to the next activity.
#3 Create “Homes” for Each Item
Whether it be toys or craft items, clothing or shoes, a child can be taught where each item “lives.” Firstly, as a parent we have to make sure that each item does indeed have a place where it is supposed to be. Any item that has a place or a home will more often be put back versus if there is no clear place that it lives.
#4 Encourage Kids to Donate Unused Toys & Clothes
Our homes can quickly become clutter filled, especially when we have children. From birthday parties, holidays and family passing on their hand me downs, often people end up with far more toys and clothes than they need or want. Also, as our children age, they outgrow toys that end up just taking up much valuable space. In order to help with this encourage your children from a young age to donate their old clothes and toys that they no longer need or want. Maybe every year have the kids go through their things and see what could be passed on to bless someone else. It also helps kids not hold on so tightly to everything they own. This is a valuable skill to have for the rest of their lives.
#5 Have the Children Help Create Organising Systems
If your kids are old enough to help, let them also have a say in where things get put away and even how they do. For example, my boys have lots and lots of building blocks and so we have been trying out the different colour boxes system. at their suggestion (see the blog on organising Lego here). It creates a great sense of ownership for the items if the child helps in determining how things are organized.
#6 Make Organising Fun!!!
If your kids don’t like putting their toys & clothes away, try making it more fun. Add challenges like a “beat the clock” or whoever finishes first gets reward or even if they can finish before the parent in different tasks. The body actually creates Dopamine as a “happy” drug with the completion of tasks or for us adults when we check something off of our to-do lists. So why not take advantage of that with our children by making cleaning up fun, as well creating a more calming space!
Use a few of these hints and tips consistently and it will help train up your children as they grow. If you are feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, please contact us at Blue Lilac to help! We can come to your home and get the ball rolling to jump start your organising dreams.