How to teach organizational skills to your kids

How to teach organizational skills to your kids

Kids are introduced to highly organized environments when they go to daycare or school. However, it's very easy to get a head start by applying these same organizational systems at home and ensuring that your kids will use them. 

To get started, here are four steps to begin the organization process:

1. Divide your child's toys into categories.

2. Containerize each category into an appropriate bin or box.

3. Put the top 10 categories of toys within easy reach in your child's play area.

4. Have your child help make the decisions about what to call the different categories and where to keep the toys.

How do you get your child to maintain the system? It's actually fairly easy. Just like in school, allow for "cleanup time" at the end of each activity, before starting a new one. For example, if you're going to have lunch at noon, set your timer for fifteen minutes prior and help your child clean everything up before lunchtime. 

Help your kids get in the habit of tidying up the playroom and their bedrooms before they're allowed to play with anything electronic (watching television, getting on the computer, playing video games). This was my big secret for how to keep my three messy boys from utterly destroying my house on a daily basis. 

We had two simple rules: 

1. Ask for permission before turning on anything electronic. 

2. Make sure your room is tidied up and the toys are put away before you ask. 

A big problem is that parents do not limit the space allowed for their children's belongings. The kids start with their bedrooms, expand into one playroom, their toys then take over the living room, and before you know it, things are out of control. 

Sooner or later, your child will learn that space is limited. You will do them and yourself a big favor if you teach them that lesson at a young age. Allow them a certain amount of space for their toys. Teach them how to prioritize their belongings so they understand that if they get something new but are out of room, it will be time to let go of something old. 

About this Angie’s List Expert: Christa Mobley is the owner of InnerLift Organizing, providing home organization services in Washington. Since 1991, InnerLift has specialized in home and garage organizational services and training. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @InnerLift.

As of February 13, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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Should I downsize and organize my possessions?

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Downsizing and organizing your possessions can reduce clutter and help you decide where valuable and important items will end up, says Mobley. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Rebecca L. of Columbus, Ohio)
Downsizing and organizing your possessions can reduce clutter and help you decide where valuable and important items will end up, says Mobley. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Rebecca L. of Columbus, Ohio)

We all hold onto important items and possessions. However, it's always a good time to begin thinking about what you own and where you want it all to end up.

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