Ready for some practical organizing tips on how to teach your kids to organize? Here it is. TEN practical organizing tips just for you.
Read over all ten tips and then pick just ONE to implement this week.
Decide and commit to implement one. It might be easy or it may be more challenging but you CAN do it if you make the decision to do it and if you keep going in the midst of challenges or obstacles.
1) Teach by example.
Kids learn by watching your behavior.
- If you drop things where you are, they will drop their things wherever they want.
- Keeping things “just in case?” You’re teaching them to do the same.
- If you stuff something just anywhere instead of finding the home for it, they will.
- Always bringing things home? That’ll be normal and they’ll bring every paper, free tchotchke, giveaway, and more home, too.
What’s the saying? Monkey see, monkey do? Or is there another one?
Start with yourself and teach by example. Spend the time, invest in help, do the work.
2) Involve them.
Teach them the cycle of life. Things flow through the house verses landing in the house and never leaving.
This means all the paper they bring in has to leave. Have them pick paper to keep AND paper to put in the recycle bin. This process is normal and needed.
It is impossible to hide this from them. They need to take part and see that enjoying and living in the present MUST include the past flowing on and out.
3) Teach them limits.
I created a memory tub for the kids to save their special things. They chose what papers to save in there. But, the thing was, the folder for each year was only 1 inch deep. They could naturally see that only so much paper could fit in there. There was a limit. Ask them what they will do now that it is full. See what they say and how they will figure out the problem. (Hint: Use #6 to solve this.)
4) Tie organizing to things you already do.
A daycare stays clean because they have routines in place. Every day before lunch, they play the Barney clean up song. Every child knows this is the time to clean up. They associate lunch with cleaning up. Every time before
My client purchased matching gray buckets from Home Depot for her kids to walk through the house every night together to pick up all toys. Then, they put them in their own toy tub. The house is clean and they’re ready for bed. They made it fun!
Each spring and fall, organize and clean out the clothing – every drawer and closet and piece of laundry.
At the end of the school year go through all backpacks and school papers (if you’ve gotten behind.)
At the beginning of the school year, before going school supply shopping, go through and purge and organize the school supplies.
5) Ask smart questions
Always be challenging your child’s brain around organizing. Ask,
- “Where does that item live?”
- “What do we do when this bin is full?” (When a bin is full it should trigger you to purge through the stuff.)
6) Always focus on KEEPING favorites
Never start out by saying, “We gotta get rid of all this crap!”
No! Your child will immediately want to seize hold of everything with a tight grip.
Instead, focus on the favorites. Say, “Honey, what are your most favorite toys here? Which five do you play with the most?”
You can even ask them to pick four more they love.
Then, bring up the fact that there is only so much space. There are kids that would love these other things.
7) Organize by color and size.
If they’re young you can teach them colors while you’re doing this.
What you might find is that they really get into this. I did this with my kids hanging clothes (hung them in color order) and I think they all have kept up with it. They like it. I also helped them find a home for everything so it was possible for them to put the rest of the clothes away.
8) Sort everything you find.
Teach them that sorting is the first step to organizing.
Sort writing utensils by colors, pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters.
Toys can be sorted by babies, trucks, rattles, games.
Sort laundry by colors or categories or person.
9) Talk about organizing a lot.
When you’re organized you know what you have and you can find it when you need it!
Yaaaasssss! It’s AMAZING!
If you’re organized it’s easy to quickly clean up because you know exactly where things go and you only have what you love and use.
It feels great…
You have freedom…
There is less stress…
You can have friends over to play whenever you want…
You’re not scrambling…
There is less crying and yelling when things are not lost and stress levels are not through the roof.
10) Have fun!
Don’t get too serious. The key is to have some fun with it. Make it something they aren’t afraid of. It’s just a normal part of life. Play some fun music. Laugh. Enjoy the memories. Talk about the future and what is next for them so they can let go of something they used to enjoy.
And, for sure, if they say they want to get rid of something, don’t question their decision and resist them getting rid of their own things. 🙂
Which one will you pick to implement this week?
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