As parents, many time we wish that our kids were just magically organized.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic wand to make this happen! The good news is
that organizing skills can be taught. And, the start of a new school year is the perfect time to help your child improve his/her organizational skills.
Here are some tips and tools to get your kids started.
Reduce the stuff
As with adults, kids can be overwhelmed by the amount
of stuff they have to keep picked up. The more stuff a kid has, the more they have to maintain. This is true of a bedroom or a backpack. If you have a hard time minimizing the number of
toys in the house, consider rotating them by season. Pack up a bin of toys and bring it out for play in the spring.
Minimize Steps and Obstacles
This may sound a bit simplistic, but it is so true. The fewer steps and obstacles a child has in his organization set-up, the more likely he will be able to maintain it. Doors, lids, and distance could
all be considered obstacles for a child. Open shelving and containers near the point of use is the easiest system for a child to maintain. Consider this, let’s say you store all the kid games in a closet in the basement. The kids do a great job of getting the games and bringing them to the
upstairs dining area to play. But when the game is over, the box may tend to sit on the
table for a bit. If the game does make it back to the basement closet, the door may get
left open. Sound familiar?
Fly Away, Helicopter.
I am sure you have all heard of the helicopter parent that rescues their child and solves their problems. Try not to be a helicopter parent. This is huge when it come to teaching organizing skills. If your child loses something, the best thing you can do is reply, ” Wow, that’s a bummer. Where do you usually keep it?” Let them do the thinking, hunting, and finding of their
beloved item. This will help them realize that they are responsible for their stuff, not
Lost and Found Basket
On the occasion that your child leaves little belongings laying around the house, a lost and found basket can help. Place a big basket in the main living area and explain to the kids that whenever you find something laying around that the item will be placed in the basket. When the basket
gets full, let the family know that all items in the basket will be recycled or donated at a
specified time. This gives them time to claim what they want and the rest can go out the door. The lessons learned for the child from this process are amazing, but sometimes this can be hard on the parent. When you see a costly item sitting in the basket unclaimed at recycling time, use your
judgement but whatever you do…don’t give it back to your child. Maybe place it in your closet
as a re-gift for later after they have really missed that particular item. The whole point of the lost
and found basket is to teach them to be responsible for their stuff.