By: Bonnie Joy Dewkett
Getting your kids organized is one of the greatest challenges for most families. However, teaching them early on how to get and stay organized builds the foundation and skills they will need to be successful in life. The more responsibility they take on themselves, the easier your life will be as a parent.
- Kids can do more chores than you think. Divide their age in half and that is the number of chores appropriate for them to handle.
- Determine if you are going to offer a reward for chores completed. Some families use a chore chart and offer an incentive for a job well done. However, other families feel that children should help out as part of the household.
- If there are chores that no one wants to do, use a fish bowl lottery system. Write down all of the chores, and drop them in the fish bowl or suitable alternative. Draw the appropriate number of chores for each family member, and it is their responsibility to complete the ones they draw at random. This mixes up the chores every week, and no one is stuck doing a chore they don’t like for very long.
- If you want to use chore charts, we have a free printable option on The Joyful Organizer website.
- When you start organizing a kid’s room, the first thing you should do is get down to their eye level. Seeing what they see can really help you understand their unique challenges. For example, small kids typically cannot reach adult height closet rods. Therefore they won’t be able to access their clothes easily, and will have a hard time putting them away. Also look for things that are just out of reach and may be tempting to climb on furniture and gain access.
- Label everything! If your child is too young to read, have them draw pictures of the items. This will ensure that they know where things are, and will ensure that things can go back where they came from.
- Kids aren’t going to pick up every thing, every day. Give them a place in their room, or play space to keep items out overnight, such as a Lego castle or a puzzle. However, insist the rest of the room be picked up.
- Use containers in colors that your child likes. This will increase their likelihood of using them. Also, for younger children, use soft-sided containers in case they trip and fall onto them.
- If your child has a ton of collections, like rocks, shells, or coins, purchase jars and small shelves. Put the collection into the jars and then onto the shelves. They actually create a cute display, and your child can enjoy them all of the time.
- Children are often reluctant to let go of toys and clothing. When asking your child to make some donations, don’t just ask them what they want to get rid of. Explain that the toys that they no longer use are going to help another boy or girl that may not have toys of their own to play with. Rather than making the donation open ended, give them a container, such as a laundry basket, and ask them to fill it. They won’t feel as though they have to donate all of their toys, and it will go much quicker and easier for all parties involved.
About the Author
Bonnie Joy Dewkett, CPO® is an organizing expert, author, and motivational speaker. Her company, The Joyful Organizer®, creates and implements organizational systems for the home or office. Bonnie has achieved the designation of Certified Professional Organizer, CPO®, from The Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. She is a member of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and has published The Joyful Organizer’s Guide to a Joyful Move, which is available on her website: www.thejoyfulorganizer.com.