Huffpost Living Canada
You're Never Too Young to Get Organized: 4 Skills for Kids
Most parents often find themselves frustrated at the mess in their home because of their child's disorganization. To eliminate the frustration and teach children, it's time to encourage them to join in on the clean up routine!
In order to make clean-up simple and fun, the Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) provides four quick and easy tips to practice with your children:
1) Keep the clothes and jackets off the floor
Start with the basics and encourage your children to keep their clothes and jackets off the floor! POC member Cindy Browning suggests that if the child can dress himself, he can learn to pick up his own clothes. Use laundry hampers or baskets that are low to the floor and hooks on the wall that are close to your child's height so she can reach them. Shelves or hooks that are higher in the closet can be used for items not used as often i.e. dress clothes. The lower shelves can be used for everyday items. This makes it easier for them to put the clothes away or hang up coats. Make it part of their daily routine.
2) Tucking away the toys
Teach your children that putting away their toys is part of play time. Browning offers ideas on how to make the toy clean up easier and fun for children and to keep your house clutter-free. Purchase shallow containers, divide up toys in categories. Create a label for each container with a picture of the items to go in the container (i.e. with clip art or take a photo). This makes it easier for your children to see where the toy goes back to. After play time comes tidy time! Add music or sing a song with them to help make clean up time just as fun. This is a valuable practice because this teaches organization at an earlier age -- translating into good lessons for homework time or desk clean up at the office later in life.
3) Keep the bedroom clean and tidy
The bedroom is a space where your child begins and ends each day. To help keep the bedroom organized; Browning suggests a few ways to upkeep the room each day. Incorporate making their bed into their morning routine -- a made bed really sets the tone for a clean space. Make sure your children have 10 minutes each day to quickly tidy their room. It only takes a few minutes a day to keep things tidy. This helps your children to learn how to schedule themselves and introduces them to time management as well.
4) Teach them to let go
As we learn in life, nothing lasts forever. Clothes and toys are items that children grow out of and are things that are worn down after years of use. Involve them in the process and use this concept to teach your child the idea of letting go at an early age. Browning recommends that as seasons change or after birthdays or holidays, go through the toys and clothes with your child and have him pick out the ones he doesn't play with any longer, or clothes that he has either outgrown or does not wear anymore. Explain to your child that she can donate them to other children in need or incorporate them into your next garage sale. Practice the "One in, One Out" principle. It teaches them a valuable lesson -- both about letting go and donating items to charities and others in need.