Most parents often find themselves frustrated with the mess in their homes because of their child’s disorganization. To eliminate the frustration and teach kids an important life skill, it’s time to encourage them to join in on the cleanup routine.
In order to make cleanup 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 pick their clothes up off the floor. If the child can dress themselves, they can learn to pick up their 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 they 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, such as school clothes. This makes it easier for them to put the clothes away or hang up coats. Make it part of their daily routine.
2. Tuck away the toys
Teach your children that putting away their toys is all part of playtime. Purchase shallow containers and divide up toys into categories. Create a label for each container with a picture of the items to go in the container (i.e. with a drawing or take a photo). This makes it easier for your children to see where the toy goes. After playtime comes tidy time! Add music or sing a song with them to help make cleanup time just as fun. This is a valuable practice because this teaches organization at an earlier age and translates into good lessons for homework time or desk clean up at the office later in life.
3. Tidy bedrooms regularly
The bedroom is a space where your child begins and ends each day. To help keep the bedroom organized, 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, not everything 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. As seasons change or after birthdays or holidays, go through the toys and clothes with your child and have them pick out the ones they don’t play with any longer, or clothes that they have either outgrown or don’t wear anymore. Explain to your child that they 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.