Getting organized (and staying organized) can be extra challenging when you add kids to the mix. They don’t seem to understand the peace that a clear floor can bring. When I say “I can’t see my floor” my son tells me “I can, in between all the toys”. And as for how to get across a room of toys, he tells me to “step carefully between them”. Thanks! I have to say, it’s terrible, but I smile inside when one of them steps on a toy and gets frustrated. Karma!
So what can we do to help teach our kids to be part of the team and help keep the house organized?
Be a good example – Kids learn by watching. If they hear you tell them to put their things away when they’re done, but they see YOU leave your things lying around, they will do what you do, not what you say. So start teaching them by watching yourself and that you follow the rules.
Motivate them – Try to find ways to make cleaning up fun. My son likes to play the Zoopity Zoo clean-up game he saw on the Little Bill show. Go figure. They also think it’s fun when we set the timer to 5 minutes to see just how much we can all get done in such a short time.
Reward them – I know that not every family believes in an allowance. We’re working with chore charts right now and they seem to be helping to keep the kids on track. Find something that your kids want to work toward. Maybe a special trip to the Jamba Juice with you when they reach a certain goal.
Organizing the kids can be a pretty big mission, so I suggest you pick some of your more urgent areas, the ones that really bother you every time you look at them and start there. Here are some areas you can focus on.
Organizing Toys – Help them to declutter old or broken toys. Then help them to find a place for everything to go when they’re not using them. Make sure they’re easily accessible for your kids. Click here to read more.
Kids Rooms – Use kid friendly ideas for getting organized in their bedrooms. Make sure things are at your child’s level so they can put things away easily. Click here to read more.
Kids Artwork – If your kids are in school, they can bring home a lot of great artwork. But what to do with it all? You simply can’t keep every single thing they do, no matter how proud you are of them. To learn more about what to do with their artwork, click here.
Routines – Having a general routine in place helps to make those crazy mornings and evenings a little easier. If kids know where to put their school work and their lunch box and have clothes ready for the school day, etc. they will spend less time yelling “Mommy, where is (insert object here).” Ahhh… wouldn’t that be nice?! For ideas on routines, click here.
Family Calendar – To help keep track of the kids appointments and events along with your own, it’s best to keep a central calendar for everyone to work from. A big grid wall calendar is what works best for me. Click here here to read more about a family wall calendar.
One important rule to follow…
Don’t try to change your own or your kids organizing habits overnight. Work with them to put together a system and routine that works for everyone. Give them plenty of positive reminders. Be consistent with the new routine until it becomes more natural. And remember to be a good example by putting your things away when you’re done with them and following routines.
Put your things away!
Put your things away when you’re done with them. Encourage your kids to put their things away when they’re done with them. Remind each other to pick up after yourselves. This one little habit goes a long way in terms of keeping things organized, and being able to see a clear space on your living room or bedroom floor!
September’s summary for getting organized
So let’s review… for September, we’ll
See the links above to go directly to more information regarding a particular area of organizing with your kids.