When I give talks on Organizational Zen, I’m often asked by frazzled parents if I have tips for helping kids stay organized. My best advice is to lead by example. If your stuff isn’t in order, your kids see it, so why should they get their own stuff in order? Right?
If you’ve got that down, then I’d add these seven guidelines to help your kids create their own Organizational Zen.
- Put things away when you’re done. Every time. Parent note: Make sure your kids are part of the decision-making for where things go. And help them label containers or shelves so sorting isn’t a new thought process each time they pick up.
- Organize your stuff by “type” – put similar things with similar things: short-sleeved shirts go in one drawer; markers all go together into one box or drawer; dishes belong with their similar friends in the kitchen; school work goes in a specific folder or place on the desk; special collections need a special place, etc.
- Get rid of stuff you aren’t using any more.
- Finish what you start; concentrate on one big project at a time.
- Stick to a routine and use a list: things to do before bed; what gets packed for school; what to take on a family vacation, etc.
- Keep track of deadlines on a family calendar. Parent note: Your calendar should be somewhere everyone can see it and add to it. If you have a super-organized kid, get them a planner! It’s never too early 🙂
- Get in the habit of getting ready prior to the two minutes before you run out the door! Parent note: This applies to you too.
All that being said, I think kids are kids, and while you don’t want to live in chaos, you also don’t want to live in a pristine palace. Kids are fun, and yes, it can be a little chaotic. It’s part of the deal!
You want a livable house.
You want a peaceful house.
You want to be kind.
You want rules, but not unbreakable rules.
And you want discussions, not dictates.
Happy solstice eve!