How to Teach Kids to Organize Their Rooms and Why it's Important
by Sherry Borsheim
Why does it matter if your children learn how to organize their room and keep it that way? How does that benefit you and them? Who even has the time to teach their children how to organize their room when you're so exhausted at the end of a long day of work and driving them from one place to another. Or maybe you think you're doing your children a favor by picking up after them to avoid the whining and complaining.
Adding one more task to an already hectic schedule can be overwhelming. Parents ultimately want their children to live a happy and fulfilling life. Teaching them healthy habits for life-long learning like organization benefits them in so many ways.
It's important to teach children to contribute at home and take care of their things. Giving them tasks to complete builds their confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. And if organization doesn't come natural to you, learn together with your children to create order and eliminate chaos at home.
I`ve organized a lot of children's room over the years and I always get them involved in the process. It's been my experience that kids love organization and they love to help you. When I'm organizing a children's room, I get them involved as early as two, like putting clothes they've outgrown into the donation bag. And give them things to carry when you're putting items away.
By age three they really want to get involved and help me out. They can easily pull items out of a closet and help group like things together. Give them tasks that keep them busy and part of the process. I even get them using my label maker by pointing to the letter for them to press and spelling out the word. Kids love this and think its fun to print labels.
At the age of four they know I'm there to organize and I get them to carry things for me, put things away and get them involved in organizing their toys, books and clothes. Yes, I could get it done faster on my own, but the skills they are learning are so important and the fun times we have together are priceless.
At age four they also know what toys they like to play with and what they don't use anymore. If they have too many toys, put some away and they'll be like new when you bring them out again three months later. Help them try on clothes that may not fit.
At age six ask them where they like to play with their toys and help them contain and label their organizing systems. At the age of 8 to 11 they have fewer toys and more electronic devices and more homework. Set up a homework area and help they organize their papers and school work. In their teenage years, their rooms will need to be organized based on their interests and study habits.
Build in a fun reward at the end of each organizing day to celebrate their accomplishments.
Don't assume that they will learn on their own to be organized. The good news is "Organization is a learnable skill and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting organized. There's only what works for you." So don't leave this to chance or put it off. Organization is a skill your children will take with them throughout their life.
Keeping their room organized teaches them the importance of chores and how it makes the home run smoother. It also teaches them the responsibility of doing their part, teamwork and contributing to the overall goal of keeping the entire home organized. It also teaches them the importance of starting and completing a task and the feeling of accomplishment and a job well done.
Be a Role Model
Children pick up your habits and behaviors. Don't just tell them to do something, show them how to organize their toys, books and where to put the dirty laundry. Show them how to make their bed and where to put their clothes away and make sure you do the same.
Establish a morning and evening routine. Use a checklist and chore chart to remind them what their responsibilities are like putting toys and clothes away, hanging up their coat and back pack and putting their shoes away when they come home from school. Responsibilities will change as they get older.
Schedule four clean-out days a year to help them declutter and organize their room. Good times to do this are just before school starts in September, after Christmas, after their Birthday and at the end of the school in June. Repeating this year after year creates a ritual and habit of clearing out the clutter and keeping their room organized. This will benefit them in their college years and continue into their life work. It also teaches them about consumption and how immediate gratification of always buying something new can pile up.
Teach them the Value of Donating and How Others Benefit
Help your children select a charity they'd like to support so when they are decluttering their room, they understand where their good quality used toys, books and clothes they've outgrown are going to. Take them with you when you drop off the items to a family in need or the charity they chose. This teaches them the value of giving back and how they can help others.
So They Can Find What They Need When They Need It
Just like adults, kids get frustrated when they can't find what they are looking for. Help them create zones in their bedroom by grouping like things together. Create a homework zone with all the supplies they will need, their schedule and a place for their books. Create a reading zone by their bed and one place for all their books. Contain their toys and games and label shelves and containers so they know where to put things back.
Kids love to display their artwork, awards, photos and things that inspire them. Hang a magnetic white board in their room to display items that inspire them, their school schedule and afterschool activities. A family calendar is great and mom typically is the keeper of all the schedules.
Take it a step further and teach your kids to prepare, plan and schedule for their own activities. Planning skills are essential to effectively manage their time for studying and completing homework and assignments. As they grow older show them how to use a paper or digital schedule like Google Calendar and sync it to their mobile devices.
About the Author:
Sherry Borsheim is the founder of Simply Productive, is an International organization expert, and has appeared on national media including HGTV. Sherry is an author and sought-after speaker who loves helping busy professionals, business owners and moms organize their chaos at home, at work and in their life. Sherry believes there's no one-size-fits-all solution to getting organized and that your organizing systems need to work for you and the people in your life. Contact Sherry to get organized today at www.simplyproductive.com.
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