Kate is a homeschooling mom of four kids, ranging in age from six to 17.
Teaching Kids to Be Organized
Learning how to be organized is an important lesson for kids that will have lifelong benefits—both to themselves and to others around them.
The best way to teach kids how to be organized is to start from a very young age. Starting early helps instill good habits in them as they grow older and have more things to keep track of. And the sooner you can teach your kids organizational skills, the easier things will be for you as their parent as well. You will spend less time cleaning up after them, looking for missing items or getting frustrated with their messiness.
Teaching organizational skills to children can easily become a frustrating experience, but it doesn't have to be. Use these five tips to help your kids learn to keep their spaces and belongings organized and build important habits for their future years.
1. Make It Fun
First and foremost, find a way to make cleanup fun. Make it a game to pick up toys after you are finished playing. Cleanup can be a race to see who puts away the most toys, or it can be a sort of matching game where your child matches up like toys with like in assorted bins.
2. Provide Suitable Storage Solutions
Make a place for everything, and show your kids where everything goes. They should have a specific place for their toys, stuffed animals, books, games, and clothes.
Great storage solutions for toys are open shelving and clear storage bins. Children can clearly see through the bins to see where to put blocks, toys, and dolls separately. When they are ready to play with certain items, they can immediately go to the right bin instead of digging through a big toy box, resulting in toys thrown everywhere.
3. Be Consistent
Your children will emulate your behaviour. If you expect them to be organized and pick up after themselves, you must do the same. Try to consistently pick up after yourself and help your child to do the same thing.
Encourage them to put their toys away from one activity before moving on to the next. In time they will appreciate not having to clean up an even bigger mess later.
Consistency is the key to teaching a child any behaviour. The more you repeat the tasks, the easier it will be for them to pick up and repeat themselves.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
Make sure to give plenty of positive reinforcement when your children clean up after themselves or put something where it belongs. Make a big deal out of how well they did. Children inherently want your approval, and showing how happy you are when they’ve done something right is a sure way to get them to repeat the behaviour.
Try a reward system, such as a chart to track their “chores” where they can earn a sticker or gold star whenever they do a good job.
5. Be Patient
While children do have a great capacity for learning and will do things to seek your approval, learning organizational skills will not happen overnight. You must be patient and give your child space and time to learn.
Even after they learn the behaviour, there might be good days and bad days. Be firm and consistent, but also be patient. Reinforce the good behaviour and try not to lose your patience and give up.
Teaching kids how to be organized can be a challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience. You will be giving your children skills not only to help you manage but to grow with them into adulthood. Use these tips to teach your children to organize their spaces, and you are teaching them life management skills as well.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.