Amongst the piles of toys, the seasonal churn of too-small clothes and the constant influx of school paperwork, teaching your kids to stay organized can be a challenge. Still, whether they need help finishing their homework on time or corralling their extensive toy collections, with a little guidance and practice, even the most seemingly disorganized kids can learn the fine art of organization.
Put Everything in Its Place
Helping your child stay organized begins with establishing designated spaces for everything from toys to homework. Find kid-friendly storage, and teach your child what belongings go where. For younger children who don’t yet know how to read, place removable pictures on the storage bins to help them sort their playthings. Have a specific space, such as a bookshelf or even a basket, to contain books. Keep track of school papers by using separate folders in a binder, and set up a quiet study space, complete with school supplies, where your child can read and do homework.
Teaching children the concept of organization starts from a very early age. Even children as young as 1 can learn to put their toys away once playtime is over. The key is to make the process fun. To lighten the mood and make it seem like less of a chore, sing a few fun or silly clean-up songs while your child is putting his toys away. Challenge older kids to a race to see who can put the toys away faster.
Routines are an essential component of mastering organization. Not only can routines help children feel secure in their daily habits, but they can also help them learn the concept of self-discipline. Simple rituals, such as those related to bedtime or basic chores, can start from an early age. As your child inches into their school years, routines will help them stay on top of their homework assignments and extracurricular projects.
Keep a Calendar
Keep a family calendar in an easily accessible spot in your home that you can use to keep track of important dates. If you have more than one child, you can color code the calendar by assigning each child a specific color. Encourage your child to add to the calendar as necessary. Give school-age children a portable planner that they can take with them to school to write down the dates of assignments, tests and activities.
Be a Role Model
If you want your child to learn to value the importance of being organized, then you must set a good example. Keep your own possessions organized and your living spaces neat and tidy. Involve your child in keeping the main living areas clean. Let them see you completing routine tasks, and engage them. Ask them to help you fold and put away laundry or unload the dishwasher, and explain to them why cleaning up is necessary.
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