In the recent school holidays, I got to help a very crafty little girl organise her bedroom. It was your typical kids room, a bit messy with a good mixture of toys, books, unfinished craft projects, and collected knick-knacks.
After moving house in the last few months, there were alot of things still in boxes which, once pulled out, had no real home to be put away, except for the already cluttered shelves or, of course on the floor.
Here are some tips for getting kids organised with more chance that it will stay that way.
Talk to them about what they want
Kids love to feel like they are being treated as a grown up. So asking about how they use their toys and the space can help them feel involved and more likely to take ownership of the end result. You can also help them to understand what's in it for them. No more losing your favourite toys all the time! No more hurting your feet when you step on stray lego pieces! Another interesting tip is that some kids leave things out just because they like to look at them, so having a special shelf where kids can display their favourite "thing" at the time can work really well.
Make it fun
This is a no-brainer! If it feels like a chore, kids will get bored in 10 seconds flat. Keep the mood light, put on some favourite music, and try making a game of it. When you're sorting things into groups, label some boxes or baskets (whatever you have handy) with categories (craft, books, figurines etc) as well as a bag for rubbish and another box for "things that belong somewhere else" to reduce the risk of getting side-tracked. Then as you're going through everything in the room, see how fast they can pick the right box or which box will fill up first. Plenty of positive encouragement here also helps. And this brings me to the next tip..
Have plenty of breaks
Boredom, short attention spans, tiredness, hunger can all lead to less cooperation from kids. Frequent breaks for snacks or a quick run around outside can help break the monotony for kids and pep them up for more. It also gives you a chance to assess where you're up to, decide on the next step and of course have a break yourself!
Give them easy access
Once you have everything sorted into groups and know how it all gets used, you can look at storage options! In our holiday project, we needed plenty of storage for craft supplies as well as unfinished projects. We repurposed some furniture from other parts of the house to create a workspace and some display shelves. Then we purchased some clear plastic boxes that would easily slide out from the shelves to get things out and put away. Labelling is the final touch to help kids remember where things go.
Create a routine
Once homes set up for all the things in a kids bedroom, start setting a regular part of the day when everything gets put back in that home. A great time to do this is part of the bedtime routine... "Tidy, Teeth, Toilet then bed!" This is another time when making it fun comes back into play. A prize for whoever can get their room tidy in ten minutes is an example of this.
We all know that kids bedrooms are never going to be neat and tidy all the time, but finding ways for them to WANT to get organised is so worthwhile. And teaching them how to be organised now will help them as they grow up and in the future.