Any Advice About How ToMotivate Children To Want To Be Organized?

cupofkindnessJanuary 22, 2005

Okay, I know that I need to model organization, and I'm trying to do so. But how do I motivate my children to keep their possessions organized? Any advice? Thanks in advance for your replies!

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Bribery! Hee hee...just kidding. Every time they say, "Well where is my __?____? Maybe they'll get more organized. I always tell my 4-yr old...."If you'd put your things away and where they belong, you'd know!" Then DO NOT LOOK FOR WHAT THEY LOST...Let them.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 8:13PM
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Bribery works wonders. Also helping them get organized in the first place and then pointing out to them when it is not organized how it feels- stressful, hard to find things, frustrating etc.

Also it a matter of maturity. As children age they will learn to organize.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 8:18PM
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I agree with Ginger. You need to help them organize to begin with. I do this about every 6 months with my 2 kids. We'll spend the day decluttering, going through clothes that no longer fit, etc. The end result is that the bedrooms/closets are neat and tidy and they like it so much that they keep it clean. I have to admit that my daughter is much better at keeping things tidy than my son!

We also have a rule at our house that if your bed isn't made in the morning you can't get on the computer when you come home from school - this is a huge motivator for my kids!

Oh, thought of one more thing - every month or so I help them organize their backpacks and binders - we throw out old papers and make sure everything is in it's correct place/folder/etc. This helps keep them organized for school. We also have a designated cabinet in our den for school supplies. In August I stock up on everything I think they'll need for school (pencils, paper, notebooks) and the kids always know where they can find school supplies.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 12:55PM
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My friend's three children have been doing beautifully since they all decluttered together and togetehr with their mother each made a "control journal" (like flylady's) with their morning, afternoon and evening routines in it. There are special incentives for getting their routines finished early, like extra computer time and special outings. Her kids are 9, 11, and 12 and their whole house is so peaceful and organized now, even though they are all creative/messy types by nature. They took a couple of years to build up to this point-- and I would never have believed it possible. Her kids are doing better at balancing schoolwork and sports and drama and dance, too-- they are al into different things. I am nowehere nearly as organized as they are, and I am the one who INTRODUCED them to flylady. Sigh. They are an inpsriration to me!!!! Oh, she also sticks to the "bring something in, get rid of something else" rule. (i.e., new shoes? old ones to the trash, etc.) the kids are learning such great organizational and coping skills. I want to try to be more like them!!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 2:25PM
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I agree with everything said. Especially with showing them how. Repetitive lessons is a good thing. Bravo to those mothers who have some type of monthly family routine that provides an opportunity for the learning.

Also, modeling, modeling and more modeling. Even if they don't seem to be paying attention, modeling pays off big time for the long haul. Also, modeling is good at showing them in another way rather then having a direct tutorial.

(Unfortunately, bad habits such as yelling and watching too much TV also get passed down very easily this way.)


    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 1:03PM
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You know, I just read a really good article that relates to this in the latest Real Simple - it is about a couple with three kids in a NYC loft. They had lots of great ideas for set ups, strategies, attitude/principles. I recommend it. I made my husband read it, too. :) He also thought it was good.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 1:55PM
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Can you post any of ideas here? Thanks!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 2:56PM
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Let's see what I can remember...

Overall, they kept things that kids needed/wanted where kids could easily get them, organized in a way that kids could easily see/understand, thus making it possible for them to put them away. (They could see it, they could reach it, they could comprehend the system for putting it away.)

Storage tools included groups of clear acrylic containers for containing a variety of types/shapes of personal grooming items (girls ribbons and clips, etc.) or arts and craft supplies (crayons, markers, etc.). Also relied upon were cubes or cubbies (which, as the mother interviewed was quoted, "imply an organizational system to kids"). Kids can put things away in the way that makes sense to them, and everything is easy to see and to reach. Another great setup they had was a set of four tall built-in particle board cabinets. The door of each one looked different on the outside - some had things hanging on them, like whiteboard or corkboard, or had a different surface. Evidently, having each one look different helped the kids remember what goes inside each one (visually differentiate).

Other clever things: no towel bars. Just towel hooks, where kids can reach them, and and extra hook for the bath mat, down low.
clear bins for breakfast cereal (like you see in school cafeterias) with stacks of bowls underneath, so kids can get their own breakfast.
Each child had their own binders for each year, containing all art and school stuff. Kids helped edit regularly ("do you want to keep this?") and saved things go in clear sleeves. Stored where kids can get them down and look at them, and put them back.
Keeping "collections" in clear glass jars with screw on lids, with labels (description, date, possibly child's name). Kids can revisit any of these, take everything out, look at it, play, then put back and put away.

I am sure there is also some training of the kids involved in all this, of course. But I really enjoyed reading the article. I think this issue is still on the newsstands, so you could pick it up and peruse.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2005 at 4:13PM
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Thank you, Casey!

(Five years later....)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:21PM
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My mother threatened to throw anything she found lying on the floor out the second story window of my bedroom. She only had to actually follow through once! Message received. Six kids, no time for debate.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 3:47AM
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John Rosemond (child-rearing "guru") talks about small children having too many toys/possessions and I think that has got to be a big part of it. We have "adultified" our kids with stuff. I've done this myself, so no expert here!
Simplify, simplify and yes, I was too "soft" and didn't follow through on expectations and am reaping some of the consequences with young adults. I think you have to get into the mindset of, this is good for our family/home and take no prisoners. I wish my husband and I had done more of that.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 11:10AM
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Oh, Frankie, me too!

And one down side is that I ended up w/ nothing left to buy them as a present, bcs they had it all.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 2:08PM
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I didn't read all these answers. My dd is a slob. Always has been. I never have been. No matter how easy I make it, she can't manage her things. Doesn't matter if it's one toybox, or multiple totes, it's just on the floor.
First and foremost. Less. Start tossing.

But here's one thing that somewhat worked. She always wants us to come tuck her in at night, but if the floor isn't clear to the bed, then she has to put herself to bed. The passage to the bed has to be clear.

Flylady has kids' cleaning routines. One day may be the floor, one day pick up garbage, one day throw out broken things, one day, dirty clothes, etc.

Motivation isn't really here, except her nightly routine. Some kids just feel better admist all their junk.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 5:43PM
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Let me add that I love the lady's mom who threw the toys out the 2nd story window.

Seriously that wouldn't take long to fix the issue. I just don't have the guts to do it. LOL! Oh and it's not for lack of wishing.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 5:46PM
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