Keeping your kid's room in order can seem like an insurmountable task. You put things away, and they just end up in a pile on the floor again. You set up SYSTEMS, and they become unused over time. You create a neat environment, and it just gets torn apart. You could spend your life cleaning, straightening, and tidying your child's room -- and never see any improvement. What is a parent to do?
GET YOUR KIDS ON BOARD
The hard part for most parents is understanding that there is a difference between "neat" and "organized." Many people just want to be able to walk through the house without stepping on Barbie shoes, toy soldiers, and library books. But your children do not learn valuable organizing skills when you simply straighten their rooms for them. The trick to helping your kids get organized is to INVOLVE them in the process -- organizing WITH them rather than FOR them. This means working together, explaining the logic behind the systems you set up, and letting your kids have a hand in deciding where things should be stored.
WHAT INFLUENCES ORGANIZING
But, creating an orderly environment with your children is easier than ever -- thanks to Susan Isaacs's wonderful book entitled "How To Organize Your Kid's Room". She suggests that parents must look at kids' rooms in a new way -- one that matches their schedules, activities, and LIFESTYLES. Kids have more "stuff" than ever before, they play inside more than out, most have their own rooms, few have a stay-at-home parent, and they all live very fast-paced lives. It's important that you take these SOCIETAL FACTORS into account when designing the right systems for your kid's room. And Susan Isaacs can show you how -- it's like having your own personal "kid-friendly" Professional Organizer at your disposal!
CREATING A PROFILE
The first step to creating an organized environment for your child is understanding his or her NEEDS. Organizing is a very personal activity -- and if any system is going to work (for a child or an adult), it must be CUSTOMIZED. Children can learn to be organized, as long as the methods and materials suit their personalities and abilities. Susan Isaacs suggests asking the following questions about your child's habits before beginning:
One constant in organizing kids' rooms is the creation of CENTERS -- setting up distinct areas within a child's space for each kind of daily activity. If you've ever sent your child to a Montessori school, you will recognize this concept as a great way to teach kids how to CATEGORIZE objects, supplies, and activities. And this ability is the basis for developing good organizing skills later in life, as an adult.
Susan suggests breaking your child's room into four areas.
DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS
The final task in helping your child create develop good organizing skills is understanding his or her ABILITIES and SKILL LEVEL. Nothing frustrates a child more than being given a task or responsibility that is beyond what he or she can handle -- intellectually, emotionally, or physically. Susan Isaacs points out that you must design your systems that take your child's size, strength, and mental faculties into account if you ever hope for your organizing efforts to succeed.
And she illustrates her point beautifully with proven and appropriate organizing methods for each age group:
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