I love this! I once heard that the number one way to guarantee a child’s success later in life is to give them age appropriate responsibilities/chores starting very early in life. This advice has stuck with me and I strongly believe in it. As you know, I have twin 3 year old girls. They have had chores since they were able to walk! It started with them picking up their toys before bedtime. We made up a clean-up song and they would just “sing” away while putting all their toys in the basket. They still do this…don’t get me wrong…they are 3! so we have good days and bad days! Fortunately because this routine was established at a very young age most days they just automatically start picking up their toys when mom and dad start singing the clean-up song.
As they get older, we have added to their responsibilities. They now are responsible for clearing their plate off the table after dinner, letting the dog go in and out to go potty and opening the new trash bag when the trash is being taken out. And generally, they LOVE helping out! In fact, their favorite phrase right now is “I do it, I do it!” Which sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out! HA!
It’s a great time to teach a child to get organized! Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, friend, or neighbor, the skills you share will remain with kids for a lifetime. Here are some tips that can be used with your favorite kids of all ages.
• Make organizing a part of each day. It’s important to teach kids that every item they own has a “home” where it needs to return when they’re done using it. Let kids know that they need to be responsible for their own possessions. Establish simple routines like making their own beds and keeping the floor clear. Have a ten-minute clean-up every night before bedtime.
• Sort and containerize. Teach kids to group similar items together, and then find appropriate-sized containers that hold them. With colorful markers, write the name of what’s inside. This makes it easy for retrieval, and, even more importantly, for clean-up! For kids who can’t yet read, let them glue photos or drawings of the objects on the front of the containers.
• Help them downsize. Often, the sheer volume of “stuff” in a kid’s life — toys, sporting equipment, books, collections, clothes — is overwhelming. Help kids downsize every six months by donating seldom-used toys and outgrown clothing. Establish a “new toy in, old toy out” system where some purging takes place before shopping. Talk to them about how it feels — and how important it is — to donate to local charities.
• Establish a great homework routine. Use an “in” and “out” box system for school papers that need to be seen by caregivers. Have a designated study area. Keep it well-stocked with supplies so kids don’t have an excuse to leave the area. Caregivers should learn that they don’t have to save every single project made by the child. Post them temporarily, then take them down and store in a drawer, tote, or even an unused pizza box. At year’s end, help kids select their “Top 10” favorite to save. And if you’re overwhelmed or desire more tips, find out if your professional organizer has experience working with kids! © 2011 Articles on Demand™
What do you do in your homes to establish routines for your kids? Please join us on Facebook or comment below to share your tips/tricks on raising organized, responsible kids!
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Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer
Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System
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