Teach Your Children to Organize: A Lifelong Gift
As a professional organizer, I’ve met many a frustrated parent who feels they are swimming in their children’s toys and upset that their children can’t seem to pick up after themselves.
Teaching a child to organize their bedroom and playroom is a skill they will use for the rest of their lives – and it will help keep peace in the home.
www.HomeFaithFamily.com would like to welcome our guest blogger and contributor, Daria Harvey.
Daria is the Owner of Your Organized Life, LLC. She is passionate about helping others achieve peaceful lives through organization.
You can learn more about Daria at her website HERE.
Toys, Toys Everywhere
Most often disorganization in a playroom or bedroom is due to the presence of too many toys, stuffed animals, and games.
Faced with visual clutter and an overwhelming amount of choices, children often just shut down. They’ll move from toy to toy, getting out the pieces, but never really settling on what to do.
As with any organization project, first, start with a purge. Ask yourself:
- Is this toy age appropriate?
- Does the toy have missing pieces or is broken?
- Has my child played with this toy in the last six months?
- Do I need to keep this toy for other, younger children in my family?
- Do I want to keep this toy for posterity?
- e., save it for your grandchildren. I advise against this unless you have the room and ability to store the toy safely. Only save toys which stand the test of time – trains, Legos, dolls, for instance.
- Was the toy special to my child? Would a picture of the toy be enough to trigger the happy memories associated with it?
After you have decluttered the toys if you still have an overwhelming amount I suggest starting a toy library.
A toy library is a place where you keep extra toys. Designate a set time to rotate toys.
For instance, I have a walk up attic and I placed two shelving units to hold extra toys when my children were little. Every 3 months I packed up all but my children’s lovey’s and rotated toys.
This was done while they were at school, of course, but I had told them in advance of the plan.
Having the “new” toys was like Christmas! It really helps children settle down and entertain themselves when they have an appropriate number of toys.
Teach Them Well
Most of us are not born with an organizing gene. If you tell your kids to “clean up your room!” they may actually not know how to do that.
As a preschool teacher, I took the first week of classes and each day I would focus on one area of the room. When in the home living section, I would show the kids which basket the pretend bread went in.
I was very detailed.
Now older children might balk at this a little.
Simply say “I think mom has a different idea of cleaning up than you do. Let me show you how I think the games should be put away.”
For young children, take pictures of the toys. If you have a laminator, it’s great to use to make the pictures a little sturdier.
In addition, you don’t have to take a picture of the actual toy. You can find a picture of doll clothes or blocks online and just use that. The point is to help pre-readers know where to put away their toys.
When you teach a child to put away their toys they will grow into teenagers who (hopefully) put away their clothes.
Whittling down your child’s toys to a manageable number can seem very un-American. America has 3.1% of the world’s children and we buy 40% of all the toys. Wow.
However, having fewer toys means your child learns to be imaginative.
You will ultimately teach them to be content with less. These are the adults with time to pursue their passions because they don’t spend the weekend at the mall.
That same child will grow into an adult who is peaceful because they know where their belongings are. Teaching your child to organize really is a gift that will last a lifetime.
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