5 Ways To Teach Your Children Organizational Skills From A Young Age
The sooner you start teaching your little ones a bit of responsibility for their belongings and some basic organizational skills, the better off (and better behaved) theyll be in the long run, and the more youll be able to actually see your home, rather than your clutter. Now, thats not to say you enrol them in domestic obedience school. Its more like, show them that being organized can be fun! Dont laugh
Here are some ideas on where to focus, what skills to build, and how to go about getting a little person on board:
Theres nothing better than The Clean-Up Song to get my 16-month old to clean up her toys. Im not lying when I say she is not talking yet, but sings the melody to the clean up song. It all started in the bath where I would start singing it when bath time was over and start putting her toys in her bucket. Now she puts her toys in the bucket while singing along. And the song can be used whenever something needs to be tidied.
In case youre not familiar with the very complex and deep lyrics, here they are: Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere! Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share!Thanks Barney!
Ok this may work for kids, or maybe even husbands! Making a game of getting laundry into the hamper or chute can go a long way. They can learn organizational skills, and how to throw, aim, and the rewards that come with scoring. Every time your little one gets an article of clothing in, they get points! Maybe the points will get them an extra story at bedtime? The possibilities are endless. Also getting a hamper that is fun and playful may help clothing want to jump in. neatfreak! (www.neatfreak.com) has a few great options in their neatKids line, as well as an over-the-door chute that could be great even for a teenager. Their products are available at most major home retailers.
By the way, the Laundry Shoot idea can apply to throwing away garbage as well.
Getting your child to start making their bed at an early age is a great way to give them a small and very manageable responsibility. When theyre first moving into their big kid bed and still very young, you may have to give them a reason to make their bed. Try to explain that the bed will be cold while theyre not there to cuddle in it, but if they make the bed, it will be nice and warm while theyre gone. Or maybe have them tuck in their favourite stuffed animal while theyre gone for the day to pre-school, daycare, or wherever. Have them watch you make your bed, and even get them to help you. If they see you are doing it, theyll want to imitate.
Kids love the water (or at least mine does). Have them learn the responsibility of washing dishes. Fill up the sink or a large bin with very soapy, sudsy water and give them a (clean) sponge. Maybe even buy sponges in fun shapes or cut out your own. As they play, squishing bubbles and wringing out the sponge, have them wash the dishes they just ate off of. Sure, you have a dishwasher, but this is much more fun! Plus its a great activity to keep them occupied. WARNING—your children will get wet with this activity, but thats ok, because when they change their clothes, you can play laundry shoot!
Timing is everything!
Although it may seem early, time management is an important skill to have. You can start to teach your children all about it by creating a calendar that they can manage. They can even help make the calendara great craft project. Or you can buy a ready-made onetheres so many nice ones out there these days (MotherWord Family Fridge calendarsavailable at Staples). Post it on your fridge and get them to draw pictures or put stickers representing events on the calendar. For example, if they have a music class, draw some musical notes, or for soccer practice, draw a soccer ball. Use magnets to mark off what day it is and have your child move the magnet to the correct day each day. You can also have them cross off days as they pass. If they want to do something on a particular day, have them check the calendar to see whats already planned and if theres time. Or if theres an upcoming event they are really looking forward to, have them count how many days until that event.
1) Lead by exampleif mom and dad dont put their laundry in the basket, and leave dirty dishes everywhere, junior is going to follow.
2) Make it fun and it will get done! Dont punish your little ones if they arent doing their chores, but rather make it fun when they do them and praise them, of course. If its not seen as a chore, theyll be more willing to do it.
3) Dont be afraid to use the cheesy special helper linekids want to help, so encourage it!
4) Rewarding good behaviourUse rewards, but with reason. You dont want them to demand rewards in order to get the job done. And make the rewards constructive, like an extra story at bedtime, or let them tickle you, instead of offering things like treats, or more TV.
5) ABOVE ALL, REMEMBER they are just kids! They are going to get messy, they like to experiment, and its an important part of their development.
By: Erin Lazer, MBA, CSPHome Stager and Professional OrganizerIt all started out normally for Erin grow up, go to university, get a job, go back to university for some more letters, get a better job, get married, have a baby, etc., etc., and by etc., she means, OMG, I cant go back to the corporate world! And so, she followed a new path, and pursued a different passion that she always thought would just be a hobby a life in the world of home décor and organizing. Erin became a Certified Staging Professional (CSP), joined the fabulous Professional Organizers in Canada (POC), the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), and of course, the wonderful world of momtrepreneurs. She now dedicates herself to transforming houses and homes into stylish, well-functioning spaces. For Erin, there is no compromising between fashion and function. When Erin is not sorting and styling, shes a mom of a beautiful baby girl, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an Auntie, a friend, a baker, a cook, a reader, and a world traveller.