Summer is here and I bet you’re looking forward to vacations, day trips to the beach, barbeques, and more. But summer also means your kids are home and you need to keep them occupied.
Why not try organization?
Hear me out. It’s one thing to organize your life around kids. It’s another thing to teach your kids how to organize their own spaces. This can mean their bedroom or playroom if you have one.
When you teach your kids how to organize their own space, they’re more inclined to keep it that way. The key thing is to get them involved and not take the reins from them.
That’s why I’m sharing six ways you can teach your kids how to organize so you won’t have to do it anymore.
Let’s look at these 6 ways you can teach kids to organize their own spaces
#1 — Give them options
One of the first things you should teach any child when it comes to organization is the basics. This is stuff you hear all the time like storing like items together and using labels.
If there’s one thing kids love most is options. Have you ever seen a toddler start playing with one toy only to switch to another one a few minutes later? A child’s attention span changes rapidly. That’s why options are the best.
Teach them everything you know about organizing. Whether they use it or not will be up to them, but it doesn’t hurt to share. What works for you? Show them. Make it interactive and fun.
With options, your child will create their own Frankenstein version of tricks. A personalized system that works best for them.
To really make sure they understand what you’re teaching, have them help you organize something. A junk drawer, your shoes, or another small area of the house. If they’re hesitant, promise them a reward. You just want to get them practicing as this will make the rest of the steps easier.
#2 — Allow them to make their own decisions
Now that you’ve given your child options, it’s time to let them make their own decisions. If you swear by color coding, but they don’t, let them do their own thing. It might not make sense to you, but it does to them.
Have them start by organizing one area of their room. Clothes and closets are great starting points. You can also teach them the art of decluttering during this stage. Encourage them to declutter anything they don’t like or haven’t worn in a while.
Next, have them use what they learned to organize their clothes. Remind them of those options if they get stuck. Be there to offer advice and assistance, but don’t do it for them. You’re teaching them how to organize. Don’t fall back into old habits and do everything for them.
#3 — Make a game out of it
Children love games. It doesn’t matter how old they are. Even productivity experts say that adults who turn tasks into a game tend to get more done. Gamification is known to excite anyone so why not use it when teaching your kids how to organize.
What are some ways you can gamify organizing?
For starters, you can set a timer and tell your kid they have until the clock runs out to organize their closet. Neatly. If they do and it passes your inspection, they win a reward. What that reward is will vary.
You can also make a nightly clean-up game. Tell your kid(s) that whoever best tidies up their room will have five or ten extra minutes of screen time. Or reading time. A healthy dose of competition is a great way to teach kids. It’s used more often than you think.
But make sure you tell them that shoving everything in the closet or drawers won’t suffice. Make sure the rules of the game are clear: You expect neat and tidy, not quick fixes.
#4 — Create a chore schedule together
Once your kids have a handle on organizing their things, it’s time to create a chore schedule together. Yes, together. Chores are not well received by any age. Many adults loath cleaning and laundry, but it must be done.
Children are no different. Get them interested in getting involved. Tell them they can create the rewards system. Say they have first dibs on chores they actually like doing.
Why? Because when you give your kids chores they don’t mind doing, they'll get done. It might surprise you to learn that one child may not mind taking out the trash while another prefers emptying the dishwasher.
So take some time one afternoon or evening and sit down with the whole family. Disperse chores in a way that makes sense. Will they have to do something they don’t like? Yes, but if you promise an intriguing reward, they’ll do it.
#5 — Let them make mistakes
Organizing skills are like a muscle that keeps getting stronger. That’s why it’s important when teaching kids how to organize, to let them make mistakes. If they fail to tidy up one night, don’t punish them. Let them see that they’ll have more to clean up next time.
We all learn from mistakes. Especially mistakes that we acknowledge ourselves. So if your kids don’t keep their clothes as organized as when they first did it, don’t make a big deal out of it. Wait to see if they acknowledge it and fix it themselves. If they don’t, then say something.
Simply remind them how easier it was to find things when they had it organized. Show them that everyone makes mistakes — even you — and all it takes is a little extra effort to get back on track.
When you teach kids that mistakes are normal and can be fixed in time, they’ll learn more from them.
#6 — Assist, don’t boss
I saved this one for last because it’s one I know parents have a hard time following. When you begin teaching your kids how to organize, it’s important to remember that it will take them time.
If you weren’t naturally organized, remember how long it took you to figure things out. The trial and error you went through. And if you’ve always been an organized person, think about how often you have to adjust your systems.
When teaching your kids organizing skills, assist them, don’t boss them around. If you force them to use your systems and it doesn’t work, you’re going to get annoyed. But the truth is what works for you may not work for your kid(s).
That’s why giving them options is a good starting point. It will allow them to pick and choose their favorites. If you notice that what they choose isn’t working, instead of forcing your systems onto them, suggest they try something else.
Whenever you let them make their own decision, the more they'll learn.
So even if you’re itching to help them and teach them your specific ways, take a breath, step back, and let them figure it out. Always be there to assist, but allow them to be their own boss when it comes to organizing their personal space.
It might seem like your kids will never get organized. That’s okay! What’s important now is teaching them the basics. And remind them that what works now may not always work so they’ll need to adjust.
Once they know the basics, they can learn from there. And soon, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up their room because they’ll take care of it.
If you’re looking for more ways to help teach your kids organizing skills, don’t miss these other blog posts:
And don’t hesitate to contact me today for more tips and tricks for organizing with kids.