It’s never too early to get organized!

by Nicole Bloomberg, MBA
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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) they’ll be in the long run, and the more you’ll be able to actually see your home, rather than your clutter. Now, that’s not to say you enrol them in domestic obedience school. It’s more like, show them that being organized can be fun! Don’t laugh…
Here are some ideas on where to focus, what skills to build, and how to go about getting a little person on board:
Sing it!
There’s nothing better than “The Clean-Up Song” to get my 16-month old to clean up her toys. I’m 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 you’re 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!
Laundry Shoot!
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.

Pillow talk!

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 they’re 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 they’re not there to cuddle in it, but if they make the bed, it will be nice and warm while they’re gone. Or maybe have them “tuck in” their favourite stuffed animal while they’re 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, they’ll want to imitate.

Bubble time! 

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 it’s a great activity to keep them occupied.  WARNING—your children will get wet with this activity, but that’s 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 calendar—a great craft project. Or you can buy a ready-made one—there’s so many nice ones out there these days (MotherWord Family Fridge calendars—available 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 what’s already planned and if there’s time. Or if there’s an upcoming event they are really looking forward to, have them count how many days until that event.

organized3Now that you have a few ideas on how to get your kids on the organizational train, remember a few things:

1)    Lead by example—if mom and dad don’t 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! Don’t punish your little ones if they aren’t doing their “chores”, but rather make it fun when they do them and praise them, of course.  If it’s not seen as a “chore”, they’ll be more willing to do it.

3)    Don’t be afraid to use the cheesy “special helper” line—kids want to help, so encourage it!

4)    Rewarding good behaviour—Use  rewards, but with reason. You don’t 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 it’s an important part of their development.

Happy Organizing!

By: Erin Lazer, MBA, CSP—Home Stager and Professional Organizer

It 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 can’t 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, she’s 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.

www.SpaceStyle.ca

erin@SpaceStyle.ca

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