15 Ways You Can Teach Your Kids to be Organized, Highly Functioning Little Beings

Keeping a clean house can be time-consuming, but when you add children to the mix, it’s practically a full-time job. And since few of us are blessed with a Downton Abbey-style household staff, that means everyone needs to pitch in. Teaching your kids how to be organized and pick up after themselves takes work, but start ’em young and you’ll reap the rewards of a tidy house… someday.

A Place for Everything

It’s unlikely that Benjamin Franklin actually coined the phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place”, but whoever did knew what they were talking about. Tidying up becomes infinitely easier when there’s an established spot for each item. Work with your kids to figure out what goes where and have them get in the habit of putting things back when they’re done using them. The end goal? Never stepping on stray pieces of Lego ever again. Ouch.

Photo Credit: HGTV Canada

Open and Shut

“I have too much storage space,” said no one ever. There’s simply no way to keep children’ rooms tidy without ample storage solutions, so squeeze them in wherever and however you can. The dream? Built-ins, like this clever unit with both open shelving (which provides easy access to books and toys) and closed cupboards and drawers (where you can stash clothing and clutter).

Photo Credit: HGTV Canada

Access is Everything

Your kids can’t pick up after themselves independently if the storage solutions aren’t accessible, so make sure hooks and shelves are height-appropriate. You’d be amazed at how efficiently toddlers can tidy up when everything is within reach.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Clear Solutions

Granted, they might not be as attractive as that designer wicker basket you’ve been eyeing, but clear storage boxes make it so much easier for little ones to stay organized. And not hearing, “mom – where are my markers?” a thousand times a day makes the aesthetic tradeoff all worth it. Trust us.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wardrobe Wonders

Some people consider it a parent’s job to give their kids everything they never had…and maybe that should start with an organized closet. Set up your child’s wardrobe with plenty of hangers, shoe racks, shelves and storage baskets, then teach them to put things away neatly. They’ll thank you later (much, much later).

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hang it Up

The solution to all your front-hall clutter woes might be hanging right before your eyes: hooks, hooks and more hooks. Install hooks for backpacks, coats and hats; and train your kids to hang up their personal belongings the moment they set foot inside the door. Provide storage baskets for anything that can’t be hung.

Photo Credit: Lauren Kolyn  Source: www.laurenkolyn.com

Donate, Donate, Donate

There’s no way to keep a house neat and tidy when it’s packed with clutter, so make regular playroom and closet clear-outs a priority. Get the kids involved: have the pack up toys they no longer play with and clothes they’ve outgrown and explain the donation process so that they understand their old items will find happy new homes. Win-win.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Plan it Out

Create a family calendar so that kids know what’s coming up when. This is the first step in teaching them to manage their own time and plan things out. Encourage them to write in their own activites, like swimming lessons and birthday parties and hang it in the kitchen or front hall – anywhere that’s easily accessibe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Routine Operation

Establish family routines so that household chores become regular, predictable activites: change the sheets every Saturday, laundry on Sundays, ironing on Mondays, etc. Giving children age-appropriate tasks means the whole family can (and should) participate. Kids will come to understand that keeping the house clean is everyone’s job.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Get Cooking

Having kids help out in the kitchen not only teaches them how to cook – a skill they’ll benefit from their entire lives – but it also helps with other organizational tools, like time managemet and following directions. Plus, the sooner they learn to make thier own breakfast, the sooner you can get back to sleeping in past 6 AM.

Photo Credit: Unsplash / Rustic Vegan

Wash and Learn

Like cooking, learning how to do laundry is a necessary life skill and you’re never too young to start. Toddlers can help sort dirty clothes into colour piles or match clean socks into pairs, while older kids can load up the machines and fold freshly laundered clothes. Teamwork makes the dream work (“the dream” being children who wash and put away their clothes all by themselves).

Photo Credit: HGTV Canada

A Desk of One’s Own

Many children hate doing homework; and while you can’t take that pain away from them, you can at least make the homework environment as pleasant as possible. Make sure your kids each have their own quiet, comfortable space dedicated to schoolwork and studying and encourage them to keep it tidy. A messy dest might be a sign of creativity, but “the clutter swallowed my homework!” is an excuse few teachers will accept.

Photo Credit: HGTV Canada

Box Set

To make the homework process more streamlined, help your kids create a “homework box” where they can keep all their afterschool essentials – paper, pens, ruler, calculator –  in one easily accessible spot. This will cut down on clutter AND procrastination time because we all know how easy it is for kids to waste 45 minutes looking for an eraser.

Photo Credit: HGTV Canada

Ring the Alarm

Teaching children to manage their own schedules is one of the most valuable organizational gifts you can give them – and anything that cuts down on nagging is a huge bonus. Present older children with an alarm clock and let them learn to wake up and get ready for school on time. You’ll desperately want to micromanage the situation; resist that urge and let your kids figure it out.

Photo Credit: Unsplash / Benjamin Voros

Reap the Rewards

We’ll be the first to admit that motivationg kids to get organized isn’t easy, so feel free to use any and all methods of bribery at your disposal. Reward sticker charts are a popular choice: give children a gold star for any task they complete or household chore accomplished and have them work towards a prize like screentime or a new bike. When they reach their goal, everyone wins.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Orginally posted on www.HGTV.ca

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