It’s no secret that children make messes. Some argue it’s a part of their nature, others see it as a problem that needs to be fixed. However you look at it, the fact of the matter is, if it were up to the little ones, all of your home would be their personal closet with toys, clothes, books and shoes misplaced in every room. If you don’t address it now, your children will reach adulthood with the same messy habits and no parent would want that. But if we want our children to clean up after themselves, we will have to teach them to enjoy it. We can use a child’s innate qualities to get them to organize their area and take care of their belongings. For example, we know that:
- Children love fun things to do
- They respond well to responsibility and the feeling of being important
- Positive reinforcement goes a long way
So let’s take these qualities and use them to make the home a little bit more organized for everyone—and keep it that way.
Get Creative and Make Designing Fun
Does your closet need a child-friendly makeover? Children love fun things to do, so involve them in designing or (re-designing) their closet. This can be great fun as you have to work out how high they can reach (measure them with much tickling and teasing). After that, you have to work out what goes where. For example, pants, skirts and shirts need drawers. Shoes need a rack and clothes and dresses need hanging space. Let them think about what items they have the most of and what they would most like to organize. If they have a lot of jewelry, suggest a jewelry organizer like these from Get Organized, or maybe even a toy organizer like these from Target. Get them to use their visual and spatial skills to figure out what would be the best way to store and organize their favorite items.
Let them Designate the Space
Another way to get your children to organize is to let them decide not just how but where they want to store their belongings–they will be proud and excited to be making these decisions on their own. You may have to remind them of the “commitment” they have made to their newly organized room but continue to hold them accountable until they get the hang of it.
Fun Tip: Act as if you are mystified, pretending you don’t know where there things go. Get your child to think about how to label the drawers and hanging space. Pictures work best with younger children and words work better with older ones. So get them together and make a plan of what to put where. Get your children to help you label drawers and other compartments according to their contents. Then get them to put these stickers wherever they have decided to store the items. You can go online and make custom labels or buy them from your local office supply store.
Reward them for Keeping Their Space Organized
Has your child successfully kept their commitment to putting things away? Reward your child for a job well done. These “rewards” can be anything from extra playtime outside or the privilege of inviting a friend over. Remind them that they are doing a great job keeping their things together, and they will be motivated to do. Similarly, you can put limits on the things they enjoy if they are not following through with their commitment.
Staying organized as an adult is difficult, so it’s only natural that children struggle. These are some ways that your child can learn to enjoy cleaning and turn it into less of a chore. These tips may help sharpen your own organizational skills as well.