Cleaning up after your kids all the time? Teach them to organise their things independently with these easy tips from Adeline Poh, marcom manager of Howards Storage World, and Georgina Wong, CEO of Asian Professional Organisers.
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2 / 9 Give them a choiceLoad more
Teach your kids to lay out their own uniforms and shoes the night before to avoid a morning rush. Work out a routine together for packing water bottles, snacks or hats, and where to return them.
If you want them to put away their school bags, ask them where and how they think would work best – on a hook in their room or under their desk?
“It’s hard to discipline kids if they haven’t agreed to your expectations in the first place,” Adeline says.
3 / 9 Let them have their own spaceLoad more
Designate an area and schedule a time for schoolwork. Keep supplies at arm’s reach.
Teaching kids to manage their own belongings builds a sense of responsibility. This also does away with time wasted searching for books and toys, and money spent in replacing lost items.
4 / 9 Make it easyLoad more
Use colour-coded containers to motivate your little ones to keep their toys after play time. Dolls can go into a yellow storage box, while building blocks go into a blue one.
Label them if they’re not transparent, so they can immediately identify what’s inside (they’ll love writing the labels themselves).
If you have toddlers, paste a picture of the toy outside the box so it’s easy to see at a glance what belongs inside.
Let them paint and decorate their toy chests or bookshelves, too. This gives them a sense of achievement, and they’ll be more motivated to store their belongings neatly.
5 / 9 Let them plan their bedroomsLoad more
Start a game of making new homes for their toys, such as a crafts corner, dressing-up chest and Lego shelf, so that they put the items to bed each night in their assigned places.
If you’re moving into a new home, determine with them how things should be stored, and tailor the storage system to their needs.
“By including them in the planning process, your young ones will feel more inclined to keep the system in good order,” Adeline says.
6 / 9 Buy fewer toysLoad more
Have you noticed how many toys are miniatures of the real thing, like play kitchens?
Give your little ones a sense of pride by entrusting them with grown-up belongings – within safety limits, of course.
Challenge your young child to line up his DVDs by size or ask him to help sort his books by colour.
7 / 9 Give each child a special box or bagLoad more
This would be where his favourite playthings can stay close (and cleaner) by his side.
Ask him to personalise it by selecting the colour, writing their initials or customising with a picture.
8 / 9 Ask your helper to stop doing everythingLoad more
Include her in the organising process so that she doesn’t unwittingly undermine your good intentions.
Have her place each person’s belongings (as she finds them) in their boxes or bags and leave them in the living room.
The responsibility lies with the owner to return the items to their correct place, while the helper keeps the house clean.
9 / 9 Avoid setting a time limitLoad more
Accept that changing behaviour isn’t going to happen immediately and everyone learns at a different pace.
Organise yourself first in order to set a good example for your kids to learn this important lifelong skill.
Remember to keep your children motivated by reminding them of the saved time and energy, which means they can enjoy their favourite activities earlier.
And while it may be faster sometimes to do everything yourself, they won’t learn independence and success if you swoop in every time there’s a challenging or complex task.