In the lieu of back to school season, I thought it’d be helpful to share some tips in how to help your child be more organized. Anyone who knows my Jay, knows that organization is not his forte. And of course, he has an organizer for a mom who can’t help but to help him! Now that he has his own room, I have definitely seen improvement in how he will independently put things away in their proper home. I’d be lying if I said that he is a super organized child now, but he has definitely made huge strides. Baby steps people!
First things first, make sure everything has a home and that you have a system in place for items that your child is responsible for. Things at the top of my head that I’d say fall into this category would be clothing, shoes, toys, books, backpack, school supplies, etc. You get the idea. Now, get to organizing those systems and designating the areas for each system. For example, the system that I have created for his caps are command hooks on the wall. He knows to put his caps there when he takes them off and guess what? HE DOES IT! WITHOUT ME TELLING HIM TO! Amazing right?
While creating your systems, make sure that they’re FUNCTIONAL. What does that mean? It means that you wouldn’t place things where your child can’t independently reach or has no access to. Literally that the systems function to meet your child’s needs and capabilities. For example, if you have a 4 year old, you wouldn’t expect him to be able to put away his clothes in the top drawer of a 5 ft dresser (unless your 4 yr old is a giant, then go for it!). That is just setting your child up for failure.
Now, that you have all the systems in place, LABEL THEM! Most kids are visual learners and it will help them immensely, at least to learn the homes for their items at first. Heck, not just kids, adults too! Visuals are my jam! (cue the music). Now, let’s know our limits when labeling! You wouldn’t label the bed ‘BED’. Or from my previous example, the hooks for the caps as ‘CAPS’. I would recommend to label things that are not as obvious or that you know your child might forget. For example, for Jay and Cam, I have labeled their dresser in sections, that way they can put away their own clean laundry and know exactly where to put each item and vice versa when getting dressed. (Picture Below) I have also labeled Jay’s toy bins because each toy bin contains something different and this I can confidently say has been such a huge game changer for him. Before, (dark ages) he would dump out all the bins to find one toy and now he knows exactly where each toy is because he put it away in the correct home. TA-DA.
Now, if you have itty bitty ones who don’t read yet, you can still create labels in the form of picture labels.
Below are some pictures of the items/systems that I have for Jay and feel are necessary to label because it helps him.
Now that you have created a home for each item and have labeled the necessary systems, please don’t forget to go over it with your child. I can guarantee you that if you simply clean and organize your child’s room and expect him/her to keep it that way without explaining it to him/her, you have just wasted your precious time and will have to do it all over again in a couple of days. This step is essential in helping your child be more organized. Let’s say you have cleaned, organized and labeled your child’s room. Now let’s go over it with your child. For example, something I would say to Jay when explaining a system would be something like this:
Me: Jay I want you to come check something out. I have put your shoes in this bin under your bed. When you take off your shoes, I want you to put them away here. Also, I have this magazine rack for your library books. Please keep them in here when you’re not reading them, that way we don’t lose them.
It’s as simple as that.
Make sure your child understands the systems
So you explained the systems, now what? Well did your child understand? This is also crucial. I know this from experience. I will tell Jay something and he will say ‘okay’ and walk away, but he has already forgotten what I told him by the time he makes it out the door. Something that has helped A LOT is to have your child repeat what you just said. In other words, have your child explain the systems to you! I often ask Jay, “Okay, what did I just say?” And then he will repeat/explain it back to me. I also go the extra mile and mini quiz him on what I just said to assure myself that he actually understands what I expect of him. My mini quiz would go something like this: “So where do your library books go?” “Where did I say your shoes go again?”. Now that your child understand the systems, now you can set the expectation of them organized their own items. It will take some time and some repeating at first if your child is not used to putting away their belongings and that’s okay, be patient. If you are consistent in telling your child to put away their belongings, then they will start doing it on their own with time.
Review & Fix if needed
What if a system is not working? Or if a system is not meeting your or your child’s needs? Review why it isn’t working and fix it by making a small adjustment or finding a whole new system that is functional.
I hope this helps and will motivate you in helping your child be more organized!