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.
Please know that I am not a parenting expert, instead I am a mom who loves sharing solutions that I have tried. 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 it’s benefits. Most teens, as you probably know, have a different filter.
Here are three simple ways to help kids be organized without a battle.
1. SHARING ENCOURAGING WORDS
Oh boy . . . this can be easier said than done! When there is crap all over their bedroom floor, or 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.
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 do big organizing project, I have seen them 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, than 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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My prayer is that these three simple ways to help kids be organized will give you some clear ideas to connect with your teen, show them life-long habits, and not lose your mind in the process!
To your success!