It’s never too early to begin teaching important life skills to your children, especially those that revolve around cleanliness and organization. While kids can be the biggest mess-makers, they also come with tons of toys and trinkets that can create colossal clutter in the home. Don’t mess around! Get a head start on your child’s bad habits to better prepare them for adulthood and save your sanity in the process!
Holding onto items your child is no longer using or playing with is an easy way to accumulate unnecessary clutter. Some children are able to let go of old toys and keepsakes easier than others. Create a system that limits what they can and cannot keep using a box, bin or shelf. Explain to them that they can keep whatever they want as long as it fits in the space you designated. This is also the perfect opportunity to explain to them that there are less fortunate children who would be very happy and appreciative to receive toys and other items children are no longer playing with. Once the designated space is filled, get your child to re-evaluate what they want to still keep or not. They need to understand that to make room for new things, old things need to be donated or discarded.
Most children operate and function best on a strict schedule or routine to help them develop good, healthy everyday habits. Create a checklist and hang it in a prominent space like the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom for daily chores and rituals like packing a lunch, putting clothes in the laundry basket, cleaning up schoolwork, getting dressed, etc.
When heading out for groceries or a shopping trip, let your kids help with errands and planning to help them feel empowered and like your little assistant. A good way to do this is by either letting them help you create your shopping list by writing down what you need or let them hold the grocery list and have them check off or scratch out each item as you gather it. This way they’ll feel helpful and you’ll make sure not to forget anything on your list!
Use the ABCs
Use the alphabet as a teaching tool in more ways than one! The ABCD rule is a tool for teaching prioritization and organization. The letter “A” stands for a toy or keepsake that gets used or played with often, as often as we should eat an Apple a day to keep the doctor away. Letter “B” toys are ones that get played with often but take a Backseat to the “A” toys. “C” stands for items that get used every so often, almost as many times as we have a Celebration like a holiday or birthday. “D” toys are not being used or played with at all, which means it’s time to Donate them!
Everything has a home
Lesson number one in getting any area organized is the idea that everything has a home. Explain to your children that much like they have a home, toys and things each have their own home too. Use labels and pictures to help kids understand where everything goes so when they ask you for something, they will know exactly where to find it. Remember to explain to them that’s why we have to put things back in their place after using them, so we can find them again when we want or need them.