Kids today are busy, far more than many of us were at their age. The biggest positive in this is the opportunity it offers parents to teach kids to be organized, and that is a life skill everyone benefits from.
Start with stuff
The simplest way to start kids thinking about being organized is by starting with a tangible – their stuff. There are lots of products available from a variety of sources that offer cubbies, drawers, compartments, and bins.
Start by sorting through things, putting everything into piles such as keep, give to younger sibling, donate to charity or discard. Then, use the compartment storage to find a specific place for everything in the keep pile. Kids will find it much easier to stay organized, and to find where things are, with smaller compartments, rather than a big junk drawer or massive toy shelf set up.
Make this a twice a year event – perhaps to coincide with birthday or Christmas gift season to help stay on top of new acquisitions and clutter.
Create activity areas
Kids, and adults, have an easier time finding things, and knowing where to put things, when they have designated areas. Think sewing room, workshop, library. For kids, those areas might be a homework area, reading corner, or craft table. Separating out these activity areas ensures the clutter from one activity doesn’t invade the space of another. It also means when kids sit down to do homework, they can both find what they need and avoid being distracted by something that doesn’t belong.
When children are young, they need reminders of time and future events so they aren’t caught off guard when they have to move from one activity to the next. That same principle, on a grander scale, can help kids understand time management and scheduling, and therefore, organization.
A family calendar, or organizer app such as Picniic, is a great way to start. At the beginning of each school year, parents can record school and national holidays, family birthdays and events, and any activities the kids are involved with. It is also useful to add your own personal activities to the calendar, especially when you have older kids, so they know when mom and dad are or are not around.
On a weekly basis, work with your child to add in project deadlines, test dates, or their own social activities while they get the hang of it. Soon enough they should be able to make these updates on their own, and understand that, if they want to go to Suzie’s party on Saturday, they had better have most of Monday’s assignment completed before then.
List, list and list again
There is no underestimating the value in lists, both in tracking what needs to be done, and in the feeling of accomplishment derived from checking off completed items. Again, apps like Picniic can be useful, especially for kids who prefer a virtual recording over an old fashioned paper list.
Use lists for chores, for homework, even for daily to-dos like brushing teeth, making the bed, and feeding the dog. Whether you use a daily, weekly or monthly list, kids will feel a sense of accomplishment when they are able to check things off, and they’ll see the value in knowing what needs to be done when and getting it done. You might, as an extra incentive, even add in a reward such as a family fun night or a take-out night to be awarded once the month’s to-dos are completed. Teach kids now to organize and you will prepare them for life.
Picniic is the family assistant that helps families become more organized, productive, and connected than ever before. Featured as the best family organizer by: CBS, Forbes, USA Today, Time Magazine, Product Hunt, and The Boston Globe. Picniic simplifies family life so you can spend more time doing what you love, and less time organizing it. All family members (mom, dad, kids, caregivers, etc.) can easily access Picniic via iPhone, iPad, and web to keep everyone organized and on the same page, with features such as: family locator, shared family calendar, shopping lists, grocery lists, recipe tips, meal planners, information lockers, and more. The friendly Picniic user interface is easy to navigate and fun to use for every kind of family. Sign up today! http://picniic.com/