Teaching Kids Organization Skills
Difficulties of an Unorganized Home
One of the most difficult situations that parents face is trying to keep their home organized.
Most of us are familiar with these types of situations...Your son doesn't want to go to sleep for the night because his favorite bear is missing, or while trying to rush your daughter out the door for school and she realizes she can't find her report that is due today. Each of these cenarios come down to poor organization in the home.
It is unrealistic to think that with children of any age will have all of their stuff completely organized and that they won't ever forget something, but we can definitely help curb this problem so that it isn't a daily struggle in the home.
How to Teach Organizational Skills at a Young Age
One of the most important things you can do is to start teaching organizational skills to your children at an early age. This will help to instill this behavior in them early on, without conflict or struggle. They will seamlessly move into being organized adults if organization has always been a part of their daily routines.
1. Make a Designated Area for Everything - This is one of the most simple things that you can do to make organization effective in the home. Use bins, drawers, toy boxes, under bed storage and any other means possible to provide toys, clothes and school supplies with their designated spot. Separate toys so that stuffed animals, race cars, barbies, ect. all have their special storage spot. Teach your children that this will prevent them from losing their favorite toys and will make finding those little toys a cinch!
2. Make Organization Age Appropriate - if your child is 4 years old, don't expect her to fold her clothes perfectly and to know exactly where they should go. Instead, simplify things so that she feels confident in cleaning and finding what she needs. For example, store underwear, socks, play clothes and pajamas in easy to reach bins so that your child can have a hand in putting clothes aways in the appropriate bin and can feel confident in finding what she needs for the day.
3. Put Away Items When They Are Not Being Used - A simple rule that we all know...when you are done with what you are using put it away before you get something else out. This should not only apply to toys, but also to school supplies, clothes, etc. This keeps all areas of your house clean and organized and ensures that your children will be able to find what they are looking for.
How to Keep Your Family Organized for School
One of the most difficult areas of the home to organize is school projects, assignments and supplies.
1. Keep a Central Location for Each Child's School Information - Choose a location such as the mud room, kitchen, or office where you can provide a spot for your child to leave his papers, books and backpack. The more specific and detailed this area the better. You can provide a bin for papers that need to be reviewed or signed by the parents, one bin for homework and a spot to hang his backpack. This is also a good spot to display a family calendar with important dates such as sport schedules, school performances, homework due dates and family obligations.
2. Establish a Homework Routine - The children should be aware of the schedule when they arrive home from school. Set a time for homework, free time, chores and family time. This will save you from many arguments and struggles. Life runs much smoother when everyone knows what is expected from them.
3. Make Kids Accountable for their Assignments - Each child should be given age appropriate responsibility for their own assignments. Make sure your child is aware that it is her job to keep track of due dates and school responsibilities.
Work Together as a Family Toward Organization
However elaborate you choose to be with your organizational efforts, the most important thing you can do is set a good example. Your children will follow your lead. Put away your paperwork when you get home so it is not laying on the kitchen counter, be prepared for meals and activities and help your children succeed.
The wonderful part about having a plan for organization is that you can remind your children what is expected of them without nagging. Be patient while starting this process. If you are trying to go from a house of chaos to a house of organization, remember that bad habits will not be changed overnight.
Someday you might find your house looks like this...