Have you tried driving to work with a flat tire or empty gas tank? Children are often expected to straighten and clean their room facing similar obstacles. Picture a child trying to make a bed that is wedged between large pieces of furniture, or hang clothes on a rod twelve inches above their head. Make it easier for children to maintain their room by keeping things streamlined, right-sized, and compartmentalized.
Simplify clothing by making colors easy to mix and match and keeping only what is currently in use. Store or pass on anything that doesn’t fit or is rarely worn. Avoid morning chaos by helping your child pre-plan outfits for the entire week.
Decide how many toys and books your child can comfortably enjoy and keep the rest out of sight. Rotate once a month. If space in the child’s room is limited, create a play area in the basement or spare bedroom and keep just a few of their very favorite toys and books in their room.
Bottom line: Do not use your child’s room as extra storage space for you.Using your child’s closet to hold your out-of-season clothing, or stashing your luggage under their bed, does not foster a sense of “ownership” or encourage responsibility.
Inaccessibility to storage is a primary reason things don’t get put away. Lower closet rods and shelves so that children can reach them. Hooks hung low are easier than hangers for bulky coats and jackets. Utilize high spaces for out-of-season or rarely used items, or for toys and books on rotation.
Make sure furniture is the right height and size. Select a dresser low enough so that the child can reach the top. Provide a waste basket that is large enough for the amount of trash children typically generate.
Bottom line: Store small items in small containers, large items in big containers. Check out your local discount or home supply store for ideas.
Use small plastic bins or dishpans for loose items like socks and gloves. Keep school supplies and small toys together by storing them in lidded plastic shoe boxes. Nestle bins and boxes into drawers or on shelves to keep items separated and organized.Hanging shoe bags work well for various items that need organization. Small items kept in rolling carts with drawers can be wheeled into the closet when not in use.
Bottom line: Label everything. Items kept in drawers, shelves and storage
containers that are labeled are more likely to end up in their proper home.
Labels can be pictures or words depending on your child’s age.

by Mary Sigmann CPO ® | Categories: Teach Your Child To Be Organized | Tagged: | No Comments

Organized kids feel more in control and competent. The entire household is less stressful and runs more harmoniously. If your children establish habits which prevent tardiness, forgotten supplies, and lost homework assignments, they will be happier and so will you.

Teach your kids to plan ahead by encouraging them to ask, “What is my goal, what materials do I need, and what steps are necessary to complete the goal?” Teach the concept of “preparation” by discussing how to plan for future events, tasks or outings. Talk it through step-by-step. Have a planning session each evening to go over the next day’s activities.

Establish a practical routine for each task or responsibility that involves your child. There is security in consistency. Have a standard place and  time for doing homework, and a designated space for jackets, gloves, and backpacks. Set up a center for depositing school work and a regular time to go over it together. Allow your child to select a strategy that works well for them. If they habitually leave the house without their lunch sack or gym shoes, let them
decide the best way to remember.

Help children learn to make decisions by looking at the “who, what, when and where.” If the question is whether to go out for basketball, many things need to be considered. When and where are team practices? Are special shoes, clothes or equipment required, and how much do they cost? Who will pay for that? What about transportation? Are there conflicts with other activities or duties?
If the child develops a sense of how each decision impacts other aspects of their lives, they will make better choices as they grow older and life gets more complex.
Assign age-appropriate responsibilities. Give kids a role in the household which allows them to assist the family in operating efficiently. Explain how feeding the cat ensures the health of the family pet and helps out other family members who rely on them to do that job.
Help your child learn to anticipate the consequences of their actions. What happens if homework is not ready on the day it is due?  What are possible consequences of leaving a pair of shoes in the middle of the floor? Encourage kids to write down responsibilities on paper. A chore chart, or calendar showing what assignments are due and when, can instill respect for goals. Charting and list-making are skills that will have lasting benefits as the child grows older.

As your child begins to demonstrate behaviors that show pre-planning, consistency and responsibility, praise them. Let them know that they are capable, lovable and good. By all means set clear rules regarding behavior that will not be tolerated, but notice the good things too. You are instilling organizational and decisionmaking skills and building character – and doing it with love.

by Mary Sigmann CPO ® | Categories: Teach Your Child To Be Organized | No Comments