Time and time again people ask me “when is a good time for me to teach my children to be neat and organized?” I always figured the age when they begin brushing their teeth on their own or start dressing themselves. However, I decided to ask Jennifer Arroyo M.S. Ed, a child psychologist who also works with autistic children, and children with learning disabilities.
Now remember that organizing is a process of having the right system in a given space for that person’s, or in this case, the child's lifestyle, space, and how they learn so they can get what they need, when they need it. According to Ms. Arroyo, the first step is to come up with a good time to begin. Usually while school is out is perfect, but things being as they are with online school at home, this weekend works just as well.
You have to do it with them, but let them decide which type of toys go where. This is a lesson for your child to not only learn to be organized, but also so they can begin thinking for themselves and take ownership of their space. You have to allow children to learn little by little. Teach them to do one thing, let them master it, then teach them something new.
Here are a few more points on how to teach your children to be organized from child psychologist, Jennifer Arroyo M.S. Ed
1. Start around 5 or 6 years old with sorting and sequencing with simple things like toys, which also helps at school. Just as schools will teach children to be organized, these skills must also be taught at home.
2. Having designated areas for their belongings alleviates anxiety of the morning and after-school routine. This gets rid of wasting time looking for the "I can't find it" items, and decreases tardiness.
3. Ten years old is a good age for them to make their own decisions on what they want to keep or purge.
As an Organizer, I would also suggest to declutter while going through the process. If the child is under 10 years old, you will help them through the process. Just as in regular organizing, categorize items so the child can see what they own and how many. For example, if there is 10 of an item, ask them to pick 5.
Make organizing a routine with their chores. Include organization, as a monthly, seasonal, and yearly routine for your children... and the whole family!
Go ahead and share this with someone who can use these helpful suggestions for their children's organization!
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