How to Involve your Children in Organizing your Home
Many parents that I’ve come across have a hard time organizing when children are involved, and rightly so! As soon as you put something away, it mysteriously ends up on the floor. However, there are ways that you can involve your children in the organizing process to make it easier for you to keep things organized, but also to help them on their organizational journey!
If organization is taught from a young age, it is easier to learn and maintain those life skills, like with swimming and riding a bike.
Here are some tips for including your children in the organizational process:
Make “tidying up” a part of the activity
The easy part is pulling everything out and crafting magical creations. The hard part is putting everything away again! Unless you make it part of the activity, and don’t approach is as a chore at the end of playtime.
If you are playing with cars and trucks, make sure they go back to the “parking lot” so that they can get gassed up so they are ready to be played with the next time! Or, if you are making art with markers or paint, put them back in their container or canister so that they can get “refilled” with colour so that are usable the next time!
If you approach the cleanup process as a crucial part of playtime, and as something that can be fun, children will be more likely to want to be involved.
Create a rewards system
Instead of making organizing and cleaning up a chore and punishing your children for not doing it, positively reinforce their actions! Reward them for taking the initiative to “clean up their room” with two stickers, or folding laundry with three stickers - and use those stickers towards something big that they want like a movie night, or a trip somewhere.
Approach minimalism as something that benefits others
Help your children disconnect from their possessions. If they have accumulated too many toys, have them select which ones they no longer want to play with and have them give those toys to other children to enjoy!
Don’t pick through their toys yourself and select which ones they don’t need anymore, as that can create a sense of distrust when they realize what you have done. Instead, put out a bin and have them fill it with toys they love, and whatever doesn’t fit gets donated to other children.
Make it about helping others, rather than them getting rid of things.
Create a routine
Creating a schedule of times for certain activities allows for less resistance when something less fun comes along. For example, have homework be something they do for an hour right after a snack, but before playtime, that way it is surrounded by things they enjoy.
Even when they don’t have homework to do, keep with that schedule and have them do something academic in that time, like reading or doing a puzzle.
By keeping things consistent and in a routine, there will be less push-back because it becomes engrained in their minds.
Involve them in meal planning
Children can often be picky eaters – I remember being terrible with this as a child – but by involving them in meal planning and even prep it will allow the meals themselves to resonate more with them.
Studies have indicated that when children are involved in gardening they are more likely to eat vegetables because they saw all the effort that went into them. The same goes with meal prepping! If you allow them to pick one “fun” meal per week, or have them pick which vegetable they want for certain meals, they will feel more in control and less like the decisions are being made for them.