Teaching Organization to Children

One of the most challenging areas to maintain organization is the space where toys live. Parents, amirite?! 

As an educator, I’m passionate about teaching very young children organizational habits that will serve them throughout their lives. The earlier we teach these skills, the better. But even if your children are older, it’s never too late to teach them the importance of organization. Having strong organizational skills will improve every aspect of their lives. Here are a few ways in which you can teach organizational skills at home.

1.     Have a place for everything. As simple as this sounds, it’s no easy feat. We live in a culture that values things. New items are constantly coming into our homes. Start by taking note of what comes into your home. Do you truly need it? Love it? Use it? If it makes the cut, find a permanent home for it.

2.     Establish routines throughout the day that incorporate tidying up as you go. For example, after a meal, have your child participate in cleaning up. Even toddlers can help push a chair in, carry a bowl to the sink, compost food, and even sweep the floor with a toy broom. They may not be able to do things perfectly, but they can participate. This fosters a sense of shared responsibility in the home. As they get older, their skills will improve and this will actually be helpful! Remember to take the long view and resist the temptation to do it for them (because you are faster and better at it). Children learn through repetition. Give them the opportunity to practice every single day!

3.     Tidy at the end of the day. Build this into your daily routine. Before you begin your bedtime ritual, spend 10-15 minutes with your child, simply putting things away. Music is a great way to make this a fun, positive activity. You can sing a “clean up” song. Or you could put on a cheerful (but not too rowdy before bed!) song and see how many items you can put away before the song ends. It’s important to keep the experience positive and for children to see that putting things away is fun and makes us feel better.

4.     Model putting things away. Remember, children are great observers! If they observe you putting things away as you move through your day, they are far more likely to model that behavior.

To learn more about how to organize a playroom, check out our blog, “Organized Play Spaces”

Happy organizing!

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