I’d like to continue the discussion of kids and organizing that I started a couple of days ago. As you know I’m a huge advocate for getting kids involved in the organizing process. Organizing is a skill to be taught just like any other and a big component of that is learning how to make decisions. Clutter is often defined as decisions we’ve yet to make so giving kids the opportunity to practice this early when stakes aren’t as high will certainly help them in the future.
In her book, Growing-Up Organized: A Mom-to-Mom Guide, Professional Organizer, Lea Schneider of Organize Right Now, explains how to do this in detail. I just wanted to share a quick excerpt from her book here.
It’s a Matter of Control
We all want to be in control. Kids too! That is why we end up in a power struggle. One of the best organizing tips for working with children is to allow them input. Ask them all kinds of questions and really listen.
How did your room get this way?
What kind of room rules would help keep it more organized?
Where should you keep your books?
Allowing your child some say in their room layout really makes them feel in charge of their room. Once they feel in charge, they will feel empowered to take care of their room. Let them suggest a new arrangement for the furniture. It might not be as an interior decorator would do it but who cares! A decorator doesn’t live in the room. Let them rearrange the furniture, as long as the choice is safe and doesn’t block exits. Let them choose a wall color or a new comforter for the bed. Take into consideration their suggestions for how and where to store their toys. Remember that if that decision doesn’t work out, you can point that it didn’t work out and ask them to come up with a new idea. Part of getting and staying organized is accepting change. As things change, you must change with them. If something doesn’t work out, then try something new!
Empowering your kids with choices in their rooms, at the same time as giving them responsibility for that rooms’ cleaning and organization, is a win-win situation. Again you can’t sit back and order them to do it. Every step of teaching your child to be organized is a cooperative effort between parent and child.
I know it’s hard, believe me I know. It’s often so much easier to just go in and do it for them. But the fact of the matter is we are responsible for training up our kids in all sorts of areas and organizing is definitely an area that shouldn’t be ignored.
Over the next couple of weeks I hope to expand on this topic even more. It’s a huge passion of mine. I’d also like to carry it through to talk about kids and chores. Another biggie for me. For now though I’ll leave you with this question.
Do your kids have assigned daily and weekly chores that they are responsible for?