functional space. It’s an exciting process
that is full of possibilities. Keep the atmosphere light and hopeful. If “getting
organized” is talked about as a dreaded task, your children will inherit that
mood, which will only serve to make
organizing more difficult.
5. Think of yourself as a consultant.
Remember, your goal is to turn over
control and maintenance of your child’s
space to him, so you’ve got to get him
to think about how he uses his space
and the stuff in it. Like a good consultant, ask him questions about how he
uses things, where he keeps things, and
why certain areas are the way they are,
in a non-accusatory way, of course. Your
goal here is to observe what’s happening in the space and then ask your child
questions that will help him get to the
bottom of the problem. Often, the answers will reveal an underlying obstacle
to organization that can be fixed with
some organizing tools (bins, tubs, caddies, etc.), moving furniture around to
better suit the way the space gets used,
or getting rid of some belongings.
For instance, my super creative and
artistic daughter has a wonderful desk
Teaching your kids to
be organized isn’t a one-
shot lesson but rather a
lifelong process . . . .
with a hutch in her bedroom, yet it was
always covered with a mess of unrelated
stuff, keeping her from using it to draw
and create. After talking with her about
what she’d like to do there, she realized
that she’d need to move some things off
the shelves and out of the drawers so
that she could keep all of her art supplies
nearby, where she wanted to use them. It
also helped her to envision what she’d like
to see happening in that space and ultimately gave her inspiration to keep the
space free of clutter in the future.
Tapping Into Your Child’s
Now that you understand your role and
have the right perspective, it’s time to
impart that to your child. Instead of organizing the whole bedroom, start with a
small area, such as a dresser, a bookshelf,
or the closet. Then move on to another
Questions a Wise
Consultant Should Ask
your room that you’d like help
desk? Or in your closet?
keep your board games? Socks?
make your space work better?
small spot the next time. It can be overwhelming to a child when Mom says,
“We’re going to clean your room today,”
but it’s a bit less intimidating to hear her
say, “We’re going to organize your desk
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