Organizing Fun for Kids Jacksonville NC
You have opportunities to teach your children organizational skills that will last a lifetime. Don't waste those moments by picking up after them. Help them find a place for everything, and train them to put everything in its place.
Starting the Day Off Right
Establish a morning pick-up routine that might include making beds, hanging up towels in the bathroom, and putting away pajamas. The evening pick-up routine might include putting toys away and clothes in the hamper. Kids want some privacy. Let them know that if they keep their rooms picked up, you will not have to enter except for periodic, pre-announced inspections.
Making It Less of a Chore
Picking up is even more boring for children than it is for adults. Make it fun for children to help. Following are a few ways to make picking up after themselves more like a game than work:
Play clutter tag. To make other family members more aware of their clutter trails, get a roll of peel-off stickers, preferably the easily removable kind, and tag each item that's left out for a week. Just making them aware may make them think twice about leaving things out. Children may enjoy helping you tag items, and the act of tagging will make them more likely to put away their own belongings.
Establish a "penalty box." If Mom or Dad has to pick up something one of the kids left out, it will be forfeited until Saturday morning. To reclaim the item, its owner must pay a penalty of one extra chore. If anyone chooses not to do the chore, you know that the item isn't important to him or her. Give it away or throw it away without guilt.
Beat the clock! This is a good way to make cleaning up a messy bedroom or playroom more fun. Assign a "put away" basket or pillowcase to each child. Set a timer for 30 seconds and see who can pick up the most stuff. Repeat as necessary and keep score. Reward the winner with a couple of quarters, or allow him or her to stay up a few minutes later that night.
"You be the boss." Let your children take turns being boss for 10 minutes. Their job is to supervise the other children as they pick up their belongings and straighten up their rooms. In learning to be a good supervisor, children also learn to pay more attention to details.
Blow the whistle on clutter. Plan a 15 minute family pick-up time with a special reward at the end, such as a bowl of popcorn and a movie. Have everyone start in the same room. Blow a whistle as the signal for family members to start putting things away. When that room looks good, blow the whistle again and yell out a room name. "Players" run to the next room and start picking up in that room. Wrap up the game with praise for a job well done.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
Sometimes you have to get tough. If family members leave their belongings where they don't belong, gather them up in a large garbage bag and take it out to the garage. When they ask if you've seen a particular item you picked up, tell them it's out in the garage. When they ask why, tell them you found it lying around and thought it was garbage. They should get the idea pretty fast.
Another "hard love" idea is to let your kids know that whatever you find lying on the floor at such-and-such a time will go into the garbage. Then carry through. Throw out or donate the first thing that gets left out. A variation that works well with younger children who can't yet tell time is to tell them that whatever the vacuum cleaner touches gets vacuumed up or goes in the garbage. Once they see that you mean business, they'll scramble to pick up their things when you get out the vacuum cleaner.
Establish playtime rules. Teach very young children to take out only a few toys at a time. If they've already got two or three toys out, they must put one away. Consider restricting toys to one room of the house.
It's Never Too Late to Start
Starting these practices while your children are young certainly will yield the best results. However, it's never too late to teach a child organizational skills so don't throw in the towel with your tough teenager. You'd be surprised how quickly they turnaround when they find their favorite pile of CDs or electronic gaming cartridges in a garbage bag.
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