Teachers know that children are happier and more engaged when their classroom feels calm and they can find materials. But organized classrooms don’t just happen: experienced teachers have routines and systems for keeping chaos at bay. Here are a few tips from the classroom for busy moms and dads that you can try at home.
HOME ORGANIZATION TIPS FOR YOUR FAMILY
- Find a place for everything. Kids are more willing to help when they know what to expect and can feel successful. Designate a space for shoes, coats, books, toys, etc. Label storage containers with words and icons and use low bookshelves, hooks, and boxes that children can easily reach.
- Develop a cleaning routine. Build time for cleaning up into the daily routine, even if it’s just 10 minutes before bedtime. Kids are a lot less overwhelmed by cleaning up a small mess than a big one. Stay on top of the mess before it becomes unmanageable.
- Assign clear tasks. Kids have a hard time following vague instructions like “clean your room.” Break down tasks into step-by-step instructions instead. “Put the blocks on the shelf.” “Put the dirty clothes in the hamper.”
- Teach skills. In a Bright Horizons classroom, teachers teach children how to wash paintbrushes, wipe a table, or sweep a floor. At home, teach your child how to make a bed or put away clothes. Children love the feeling of competency and accomplishment that comes when they learn a new skill.
- Make a “save” space. Sometimes, your child might not be ready to put away an engaging project, such as a painting or puzzle. Set aside a corner or table where your child’s play can continue for more than one day.
- Divide your child’s room into areas. Classrooms have areas for writing and coloring, reading, and more active play. Bins are available in each area for storage. Try this system at home, too.
- Simplify and keep expectations reasonable. Place a laundry basket, trashcan, shoe basket, and toy box in their room or closet. Toddlers and preschoolers may not line up shoes in a closet or toys on a shelf until they are older, but even little ones will toss things in a basket. For easier bed making, use a comforter instead of a bedspread on your child’s bed.
Talk as a family about how you want your home to feel – organized, calm, efficient – and how it’s easier to achieve that when everyone pitches in. Be patient and encouraging and express appreciation for your child’s efforts.