Kids and Getting Them Organized
Teaching your child organization skills and responsibility at a young age is a lesson that they will use for their entire life. It is very easy to pick up you 3 year olds toys after they have played with them, rather than have a battle. Yet ask yourself is that the right thing to do? When your teenager leaves their clothes all over their room and you go in and pick up after them what are they learning? So why not start at a early age to teach your child to get organized and be responsible for their personal belongings and their room. There are a variety of creative ways listed below to help you to get your kids motivated. You must remember that with children there needs to be some type of simple reward system set up for their hard work.
Of course the easiest way to keep organized is to place items in bins. Purchase colored bins for each category of items. It could be used for toys: red=cars, blue=books, green=puzzles, orange=dolls. Put the word as well as a picture on the front of the bin so that they learn how to spell the word and if they forget they can use the associated picture. This strategy can also be used in an older child's room to help keep items such as makeup, hair ribbons, baseball cards, books, CDs, and DVDs organized.
Games to get them to fill the bins
Alphabet Soup: Have them put the toys away in alphabetic order. Call out a letter and have them fill the bins with items that start with that letter. Offer a small reward at the end of clean up time.
Race the Clock: Set a timer and have a race to beat the clock. Offer a small reward at the end of clean up time.
Color Time: Have them put the toys away based on color. Call out a color and have them fill the bins with items that start with that color. Offer a small reward at the end of clean up time.
Telephone Time: Pick something that you want them to learn like their phone number (ex: 215-329-4762). Call out the first number (2) and have them find and put away 2 cars. Then move on to the second number (1) and have them find and put away 1 book and continue through the whole number. Offer a small reward at the end of clean up time.
I Spy: This all time favorite game can easily be adapted to clean up time. "I Spy something red" and have them find it and put it away. Offer a small reward at the end of clean up time.
Old Item Purge
This is a great way to clean up house, eliminate items that the kids have outgrown and keep the clutter down. Put a basket out for each child and the first to fill it with items that they want to donate is the winner. Offer a small reward at the end of clean up time.
It is important to teach the kids to help out at dinner with clearing the table, washing dinner dishes or loading the dishwasher.
Each night before setting the table take a dinner plate and place the word "Winner" on the bottom. Before you start to fill your plate each family member checks their plate to see who the "Winner" for the night happens to be. The winner clears the table after dinner and brings the dishes to the sink. So what is the incentive to be the winner? They of course get a reward for their hard work.
Set up a list and keep it near the dishwasher: 1 point each for glasses, lids and small dishes, 2 points each for dinner plates, 3 points for pots/pans and serving bowls/trays, 5 points for all of the utensils used for dinner. Each night one the kids takes a turn loading the dishwasher or washing dishes and they keep track of their score. Have a chart set up with each child's name where they can log the date and their score. When they reach 100 points they win a prize.
It is often difficult to get the kids to pick up their dirty clothes. So why not make it fun for them. Put a basket in their room and place a basketball hoop over the top. Let them shoot the clothes into the basket. In your laundry area set up 3 bins, one each for whites, light color and dark. On laundry day or when the basket is full have the kids take their basket into the laundry room and separate their clothes into the color bins. Each time their basket is unloaded they get 10 points. When they reach 100 points they win a prize.
Many times it is difficult to get the kids to stop what they are doing and sit still long enough to get dressed in the morning. So avoid a fight and make a game out of it. Pick the first item (ex. underwear) and tell them you will count to see how fast it will take for them to get the item on. Then select the next item and have them select a number and see if they can put that item on before you count to the number. This is great for 3-5 year olds who need some help with the dressing process.
It always seems that there are items in every house that never seem to find their way back to their designated "home". Kids leave books, shoes, and sporting items around all of the time. So why not set up a game to help put these homeless items away. As you find items around the house place them into a basket and at a designated time the mailman delivers the items. You select one child to be the mailman. It is his/her job to deliver the items to the person who owns them and it is then their job to make sure they put them away. Of course the mailman gets a reward for his/her hard work.
Incentives for Hard Work
It is important to select items for incentives that will motivate your child. Items should not be expensive and should be something simple. Some winner ideas that you can use are as follows:
Story time with Mom or Dad