Some people tell me that it is impossible for them to be organized because of their kids. While it can be a challenge to organize all the stuff that seems to just appear when you have kids, it is not impossible. Here are some ways that you, and your children, can get organized – together.
- Less is More. There are several studies and articles that show the benefits of children owning fewer toys. Consider doing a deep clean of your children’s toys, keeping only what they actively play with and use daily.
- Get them in the giving spirit. When organizing your children’s things, and your own, take your children with you to donate the items. Explain to them the purpose of a donation, who will benefit, and why this is important. Once your children understand that you aren’t just throwing away their things, they may decide to give away more.
- Make it a game. Being organized is challenging, but not impossible. Instead of telling them to go clean their room and then off they go for an indeterminate amount of time (and possibly little to show for it), set a timer for 10 minutes and tell them if they can get their items picked up and put back where they belong, they will get a prize! Prizes could be anything that is important to them, from watching their favorite movie (again) or going to the park, etc. You could develop a system where they get star stickers on a chart or money in a jar and after they get so many stars or so much money, they can go to the movies or go skating or go get ice cream. This helps them to watch their stars or money accumulate and know they are actually working toward a goal.
- Treat them like an adult. Kids want their parents to be happy and for their parents to be proud of them. Sit down and explain to your children how important it is to you for things to be organized and neat. Explain to them that things last longer and will be more fun to play with if they are stored properly—less likely to be accidentally stepped on or run over by a car. (Side note: this conversation will not work on anyone under the age of three, but you could give it a try.)
- Get them involved from the beginning. Help your children build problem-solving skills by allowing them input into how their items are stored. If they are part of the planning, it will make it much easier to get them to follow through with the process in the long term. This doesn’t just mean their bedroom or playroom. Kids love to take their things with them-even if they are just going to the living room. Have a special spot in the living room for them to keep a few things there instead of insisting all things must stay in their rooms.
- One in, one out. Just like adults trying to get more organized, children, too, should follow this policy. Instituting a one thing in means one thing out policy keeps your children from havi
ng an overload – of toys, clothes, shoes, etc. It also makes them value what they have more. If they have to give something up in order to get something new, they will learn to prioritize and may even stop asking for new things just because they see something at the store.
Not all of these things will work with every child. Some of these things may not work for your children at all. The biggest goal is to include them and teach them. You may discover that there are other methods that work for you, but the point is you can be organized – with kids.