8 ways to help your child to organize belongings
Just like every adult feels pressed for time as they do many activities during the day, so are our children. They have varied activities too like studies, hobby class, sports and games to play and many more. All these activities are supported by a host of items like stationery, sports equipments, learning toys, costumes, appliances etc. Given the growing space crunch in urban homes, it is very important for children to learn to organize their things and manage space intelligently.
Here are few points which can be useful to teach children how to keep their belongings organized:
- First and foremost, teach your child why organizing is important –
It may sound like a strange co-relation but behaviour analysts believe that condition of your shelves and drawers is very closely related to the condition of your mind. It could be quite challenging for your child to think clearly when things around him are not fashioned in a manner that promotes clear thought. For every item your child needs to use, he may be spending considerable time, even unknowingly, looking for it from among a heap of things. If everything is in its place, there is a state of orderliness which helps children to work and study well.
- Get away from the ‘short-cut method’ of cleaning –
When there is less time on our hands, it is difficult to not give in to the urge to put everything in the cupboard or drawer so as to keep the outer area like the living room, study area etc looking clean. Though others may like the orderliness, you would be very uneasy knowing that beneath the surface is all clutter and chaos! Therefore whenever you are cleaning, do so thoroughly. Clean the small areas too like drawers, shelves and even your wallet and bag.
- Assign a place –
Many times we expect children to keep their things in order without specifying an area for each of their varied belongings. To initiate the child into organized living you will need to actively participate at first showing him how to do it. If you want the sports items to be in one place, mark a shelf or a box where everything related – to the sport your child plays can be kept. Similarly, for his other belongings.
- Schedule a time –
Just as there is a specific time in your child’s schedule for studying, playing, reading, likewise dedicate a few minutes everyday as ‘clean- up time’. This would bring in discipline in your child to pick up things that he has used and to put them back in their right place. Also, once a week keep a little longer time to organize cupboards and drawers, or wherever your child’s belongings are stored. This will surely help the child during his busy week. It is very important that you do the same for your belongings too. When you are teaching something to your child, nothing works better than a live example.
- Decide promptly –
People generally stash items which they are not sure what to do with. At times it may be an uncomfortable decision, like whether they want to keep a certain thing or throw it away. The general rule is, if you have not used something in three months, it is very unlikely that you will use it any time later. Organizing needs decision-making at every step like – “do I need this?”, “will I use this?” And the sooner you arrive at the answer, the faster you can tackle the mess. It may take you and your child a little while, over time you will both learn to sort items fast. It will save so much of your space and time for things of real value.
- Allot the number of items –
If your child enjoys reading, it is natural that he would possess plenty of books and you may be buying every now and then as well to keep him going. As a result there would be a large number of books in your house, especially on the child’s study table in addition to the regular course books. You can embark on a method of using a permissible number, whether eight or ten, but no more should be on the table or shelf at a time. Each time your child gets a new book, have him give away one, or better still, two of his older books.
- Select what you put on display –
Let your child choose his best artwork created during the week which you can put on display. It may be a little tough for the enthusiastic artist to discard a large part of his work, but it is an important lesson in learning ‘quality work’. This way you can avoid the display area from getting overly crowded. As for the memories, you can take pictures of your child’s artwork and save it in a folder on your personal computer.
- Reduce ‘want’ purchases to ‘need’ purchases –
Take your child to donate books to under-privileged children. The experience can be an eye-opener. They begin to realize that they do not need so many toy cars, and also how much happiness they can give to another child by simply giving away an old toy. You will notice the change in your child’s approach to toys and ‘demands’ on the whole when they see there is a complete world outside their own privileged lives where children cope with challenging circumstances and make do with so little. It may hopefully reduce the number of things you must buy for your child. As a result, you can be sure to have attained considerable success in managing the overflow of things.
*Photo Courtesy – Getty Images
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