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, 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, 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!
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Donna LaRoche, M.Ed., Professional Organizer Serving Cape Cod, MetroWest and Eastern Massachusetts Contact: 617.640.2366, www.energizeandorganize.com
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