How to Raise Organized Kids

How to Raise Organized Kids

Help kids stay on track with tips like check it off, store stuff and other invaluable tools.

Get Organized
Moms usually end up being responsible for making the trains run on time. That takes serious organization when it covers work, home and kids, so it helps if the kids can take on some of this responsibility for themselves. Modeling how to stay organized teaches them tricks to keep life from spiraling into chaos, which will serve them well as adults. Atlanta-based Allison Carter, certified professional organizer, shares some ideas on how to help your kids stay ahead of the curve.

Even for very young children, a schedule adds structure to their day and organizes it for them. "You want to help children with some sort of schedule ... it takes away anxiety," Carter says. "[It tells] them what's going to be happening in the day." A regular, predictable — but not rigid — schedule is what's best for young children, such as always eating dinner at about 6 p.m., Carter says.

Checking It Off
If school-age kids are not good at structuring themselves, help them learn how to do this by giving them a checklist of what they need to do before they leave for school, suggests Carter. The tasks on the list do not need to be performed in any particular order as long as they get it all done, she says, adding that working with the child's own organizing style makes success more likely.

Keeping Things Corralled
Whether your children are at the age when they make mountains of artwork or bring notes and some small projects home from school, having a place to put this paperwork keeps it orderly. Carter calls these types of places corrals. "For little kids, a basket; for school-age kids, a backpack or book bag" serves this purpose well, says Carter. "Make a little inbox for notes ... older kids need a regular place to put them."


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Treasure Hunt
Artwork, photos and other keepsakes carry emotional baggage. "The fun is doing, not saving, so help them learn to get rid of things regularly by choosing favorites and tossing the rest," advises Carter. "You don't want to save every single rainbow they drew." Instead, make a big box for special things, she says. "This activity teaches them to be discerning and know what a favorite is ... teaches them how to make decisions that are emotional decisions."

Hang Ups
It would be hard to find a mom who has not been frustrated with tweens and teens using the bedroom floor as a clothing catchall. Carter's solution: supply them with enough space. "If they can get it all into the drawers neatly, if it fits in the closet, it's easier to put away." But the way to get more room is not to add more storage, Carter says. "Cut down on stuff if you run out of space. Most children have way too many clothes, and it is too much for them to handle."

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