How Can I Help My Child Be More Organized?
It may be frustrating as a parent when our children aren’t as organized as we would like. I am a parent of three, and I completely understand.
I am not a parenting expert. I am a mom who loves sharing solutions that I have tried in our home. I can’t guarantee your experience will be the same, but who knows, your experience could be even better!
As adults, we understand the benefits to being organized. Whether it’s a bedroom, a backpack, or the kitchen counter, being consistently organized has its benefits. Children have different ideas of what it means to be organized. Everyone is different. Plus, it may take time to get to the point where their space is what they want it to be. It may not happen in a day, a week, or even a month. Small progress will still get the job done.
Here are five simple ways to help kids be organized without a battle.
1. SHARING ENCOURAGING WORDS
Sometimes this can be easier said than done! When there are piles all over their bedroom floor, their laundry is overflowing, or the family car they borrowed is littered with trash, encouraging words aren’t usually the first thing that come to mind.
However, sharing encouraging words can be a simple solution. (Note I said simple, not easy)
I learned that the nagging doesn’t work. At times nagging does fly out of my mouth. Quickly, I reign myself in and choose a better follow-up sentence.
It’s true, it would be so much easier to close their bedroom door or ignore it all. That is an option.
If you want to try to instill future habits that will effect many different areas of their life, giving them encouragement through soft suggestions can be useful.
Here are a few sentence starter examples:
- “Would you consider trying . . . .”
- “You have done a great job keeping you floor clear . . . .”
- “I bet you enjoy studying in such a cool space!”
What if their space isn’t organized yet? You could try:
- “How would it (or you) feel to have extra space in your room?”
- “How good would it feel to know where to find . . . .?”
- “It’s up to you, (it’s your choice) but maybe you could . . . .” (I use this one lots because it gives them the control, but at least I can give suggestion they may not have thought of)
Watching how we phrase things can help our teen to feel like they aren’t being told “what to do”, and that it is ultimately in their control.
That’s the key, if it is their idea and they feel in control, I believe you will have a better chance that your teen will want to do something different or take your gentle suggestions.
2. BE AN ORGANIZING ROLE MODEL
We know that our kids watch what we do.
They will watch our actions more than listen to our words and suggestions.
Being an organizing role model means that we do our best as parents to have our space organized. I know I can’t expect my kids to have their bedroom clean if mine isn’t. I never expect perfection, it’s not realistic.
Showing our kids how they can have an organized space helps them to see the benefits of being organized.
Of course, because they are still young people, their idea of being organized can be completely different from ours. Show them how being organized can create a relaxing environment, give us more space, save us time, and they may be more interested.
I have seen this happen in my home.
When my children SEE that I have cleaned, I can tell they appreciate it. (Not that they say that, but the deep breaths they take of the fresh cleaning smell and gliding on freshly vacuumed carpet tells me they like it!)
When they SEE me doing a big organizing project, sometimes they will go in their room and start making their own donation piles. (Depends on the child, some aren’t motivated this way)
When I get frustrated, I remind myself that I need to be a role model by my actions. Inspiring my kiddos by being consistent with my own space, my scheduling, papers and more, gives me WAY more pleasure than pointing out what isn’t working.
3. SHOW THEM AND LET GO
When they were younger, a few times I surprised my kids with a clean and organized room. I did not do this because I thought I could do it better, but because I wanted them to see the possibilities. It was fun, like a DIY show when they do the big reveal.
After the reveal, it is up to me to let go of the expectations of how they will maintain it. My job is to show them the possibilities, encourage them, and see how they do.
I read a while back where a mom talked about how she decided instead of complaining about the messes that her son left, she would just pick them up. She wanted to see what it would be like to have the feeling of appreciation for her son, however messy he was, then to tell him how messy he was.
This is a valuable this idea. After reading this, there are occasions where I will just pick up stuff that are left around the house. Instead of being frustrated or annoyed, I think of the gratitude I have for the child.
I am not saying to take over your child’s messes and not hold them accountable. Instead find a balance. Showing your love by caring for the home, shows you care about them, and possibly over time, they will want to do the same.
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4. HAVING LESS IN THEIR SPACE
The easiest way to help our children keep their space organized, whether it’s their room, closet or play area, is to have less.
It sounds like it is such a simple answer that it can’t be the solution, but it is.
Teaching our children to enjoy playtime, choosing clothes for school, or options for activities, less can be more.
How does this help to have less?
- Less to pick up
- Less to clean
- Less to hang up in closet
- Less time spent managing stuff
- More space to play and relax in room
- More space to see what we have in closet
- More joy appreciating what we have because we know what we have
5. CREATING A HAPPY PLACE
Children are drawn to a space that is warm and welcoming!
- Space to move
- Inspiring colors and decor
- Connection to what they love
I list these for our children, but don’t we feel this way as adults too? Do we want to feel overwhelmed by piles, or feel we have a fresh space? Do we want to smile when we walk into our home rather than run out the back door?
Our children want the same!
Help them to simplify their space that they can create a happy place that will inspire them to keep it picked up and clean!
I hope these FIVE simple ways to help kids be organized will give you some clear ideas to help your child, showing them life-long habits, and not lose your mind in the process!
To your success!
4 thoughts on “Five Simple Ways to Help Kids Be Organized”
I like your approach! Teaching kids organizing skills is a great investment of your time.
Thank you Janet! Not always an easy job, but you are right, it’s worth it!
I completely agree with all of these, especially being the role model. I think my commitment to keeping an organized space made a much bigger impression on my girls than anything I told them to do. Now that they are adults, I see the impression that various techniques made. I also believe that a tidy space attracts people, so if you keep your space clear, others will want to be there. They will subconsciously connect Mom’s efforts to restore order with her space being a nice place to be!
Having less in the first place certainly reaps benefits!! Whether it is clothes or shoes or toys or supplies or games or books–intentionally choosing what they really like & use makes the space easier to use & maintain. Asking the question, “who needs this more than I do?” creates an opportunity to develop compassion.