If you have ever snapped angrily at your kids to clean their room, you are not alone. Almost all parents go through a similar daily ritual of repeatedly having to plead with their children to clean their bedrooms.
So what can parents do to encourage their kids to become better organized? Here are some tips:
Approach The Task From The Children’s Perspective
The bedroom must be designed with the child or children in mind. This means youth bedroom furniture is generally preferable to adult furniture. Furnishings or organization items designed for adults are often not suitable for children’s rooms. The sticky dresser may be too difficult for small hands to maneuver for example or closet rods may be too high to reach, or adult hangers may not fit their small clothing etc… It is therefore crucial that your organizational efforts fit the needs of your child or children.
Involve The Children In The Process
For your organizing effort to fully succeed, your children must view your efforts positively. This can only happen if you make them active participants in the entire organizing process from the initial design stage to completion.
Categorize, Store, And Simplify
Sort out everything into categories. Store any items that are rarely or never used such as out-of-season and outgrown clothing in a far away storage place. Use plastic shoebox containers for smaller toys, larger lidded bins for blocks, trucks and cars, light-weight cardboard records boxes for stuffed animals. For magazines, comic books, video games, CDS, and cassette tapes, use specialty organizers. If two or more children occupy the room, bunk beds or bunk beds with storage can be great as space savers and for extra storage. Additionally, some loft beds can store an item as large as a computer desk underneath. You can buy all these items at places that specialize in kids’ furniture such as Bolton Furniture that features a wide selection in a variety of styles and sizes.
Make It Easy To Put Away; Harder To Retrieve
The main idea here is that children will suffer slight discomfort patiently to get what they want but will quickly lose motivation to return an item once they had their fill of it. By making it difficult to retrieve, you are ensuring against impulsive retrieval. Conversely, by making it easy to put away, you are increasing the likelihood of the item being returned or put away.
Use a bottom-to-top approach when stacking storage items (or kids’ furniture in general), placing frequently accessed items at the very bottom and the rarely accessed item at the very top. Such a design is perfect for small children and their petite stature.
Make labeling an integral part of your organizing effort. Labels provide children with a visual cue or reminder on where things are or where they belong. Use hand drawn or computer generated pictures of socks, shirts, dolls, blocks etc… to facilitate quick identification and to remind them where these items belong.
Establish A Maintenance Routine
All your hard work will be in vain if you do not follow it up by establishing a clear maintenance routine for your children to follow. Simple routines such as straightening the comforter, returning pillows to the bed and putting yesterday’s clothing to the laundry hamper can be “morning pickup” routines for example while dressing for bed and putting away toys can be “evening pickup” routines. Insist on these routines in the early days of training until the children internalize the routines. Gradually, these routines will become established habits and the children will do them without being reminded.
If you follow the above tips faithfully, you will not only be successful in organizing your children’s bedroom but will also have ingrained in them lifelong habits that will serve them well far into the future.