5 Tips for Getting Kids Organized
Do you ever have one of those days where you send your child off to school with her homework folder, a perfectly packed lunch box, and a brand new sweatshirt and she comes home empty-handed? You’re not alone. Young children tend to lack organizational skills.
The good news is that organizational skills can be taught. The more organized you are at home, the more your child will internalize the steps toward organization.
There are many benefits to teaching your children organizational skills. Kids feel more secure when they have some control over their lives. Organization also fosters independence, improves self-confidence, decreases anxiety, and decreases clutter.
Bottom line: External clutter causes internal clutter. It’s time to get organized!
Organize the wardrobe:
Are you still choosing outfits for your kids? It’s time to let them take over. Getting dressed without external input is a huge step toward independence. Kids feel confident when they take control of their wardrobes. They just need a little help making their closets kid friendly.
· Only hang clothes within reach. If they can’t reach it, they won’t wear it.
· Use drawer separators to keep drawers organized. Specific places for leggings, t-shirts, underwear, long sleeve shirts, pants, skirts, and accessories make it easy to put an outfit together quickly.
· Take the time to teach your child how to sort and fold her clothes so that she can keep her drawers in order.
· Use space under the bed for storage of out of season clothes.
Organize the front of the house:
For a busy house, coat and backpack hooks at kid height are essential. Kids love to run through the front door through the house, leaving a trail of items behind them. The easier the system, the more likely they are to use it.
Even in a small space, chances are you can find a corner to fit some simple organizational needs. Teach your kids to hang their coats and backpacks the minute they walk through the door. Individual bins for shoes and socks for each kid are great for coming and going. Small baskets for things like keys, phones, permission slips, and homework folders can reduce time spent searching for missing items.
Verbal cues are a great way to teach organizational skills. Sometimes the simple act of saying something out loud helps you retain the information. It’s all about focus.
Songs and rhymes are fun for little kids when it comes to remembering to put things away, but for older kids it can be as simple as stating, “I put my homework folder in the basket”.
There’s nothing like a list to keep things organized! I’m known to have lists taped to my front door at all times. Lists help me remember the permission slips, the appointments to make, or the errands to run.
Lists work well for kids, too. Using picture lists for pre-readers helps with everything from getting dressed to bedtime routines. You can even tape lists with picture cues around the playroom to help with cleanup. When they know what to do, they are more likely to do it.
Laminated lists pinned to backpacks are great tools for helping kids bring everything home at the end of the day!
Break it down:
Getting organized can feel like an impossible task when you’re living in a state of chaos. Have you ever stared at a sink full of dishes and just tried to will them clean? Kids experience that same feeling when a task seems overwhelming.
Teach your kids to approach overwhelming tasks one step at a time. Instead of asking them to clean their rooms, for example, ask them to put dirty laundry in the hamper and then move on once that’s complete.
Organizational skills are learned through instruction and by watching others. As always, model the skills that you want your child to internalize.
How do you help your kids stay organized?