The formative years, till the child is around five years old, are best to develop habits and skills. Small children can be expected to be a little disorganised with their belongings such as books, toys, clothes and so on. But teaching them simple, everyday habits of putting stuff in their rightful place, will go a long way in your little ones learning to be responsible for their things.
De-cluttering is essential so that you can find things easily and do not have to spend precious minutes looking for certain objects. It also helps in maintaining cleanliness. Organised spaces translate to saving time, easier mopping and cleaning, and children adding value to their own belongings. Teaching room cleanliness habits are crucial for their overall development. They will be more responsible, alert, focussed, punctual and organised.
Here are some hacks to organise your pre-schooler’s room:
1. Well-defined storage space
Have well-defined storage space for your pre-schooler’s toys and other items. If necessary, mark them or label them. For example, let there be a sports locker so the child knows where the bats, balls, rackets and other sports essential’s go. Have a stationery drawer to keep away sundry little items. Organising trays neatly, arranged inside the drawers, will help further.
2. The Homework Caddy
Are your child’s markers in one place, crayons and pencils in another and glue sticks always missing when they need it? Then, you will love this simple idea of a portable caddy that stores all of the your kids’ homework supplies in one place.
3. Backpack Station
Creating an affordable backpack station can be a boon for parents, otherwise you will be picking up behind your child, every time she comes back from school. A backpack station will have a place for all the school basics in one fun organisation system. Kids can easily hang up their bags and jackets, and neatly keep their shoes in one place. Hang a dry erase calendar for each child to remind them of upcoming events and projects too.
4. Library Box
When the whole family loves to read, it is easy to lose track of which book came from which library and when it has to be returned. Some may come from school libraries, some are from the used book store and others could be from the public library. A great idea is to designate one box in the house for library books only. Ideally, the child can drop them in whenever he has finished reading, so that you always know where they are when it’s time to return them.
5. Over-the-Door Craft Supply
This is pure genius. All you need for keeping the craft supplies out of trouble’s way is an inexpensive over-the-door shoe hanger, which is easily available. Not only is it a great idea, it helps avoid clutter as you can hide it all away in the closet. Put it all neatly in the pockets and you are organised.
6. Tiered - Bin System
Do you sometimes feel buried under the never-ending stack of bills, school papers and slips around the house? Keep track with a tiered-bin system. Each bin can have three compartments: one for homework and slips that are due immediately, one for handbooks/reminders and one for extra notebook/copy paper. The bins can be personalised with each child’s name.
6. Hidden Spaces
A window seat or storage bench in the child’s room is a perfect hiding place for miscellaneous toys or storage for seasonal clothing.
7. Let It Go
When in doubt, throw it out or give it away for charity. You could also hand down gently-used toys and clothes to your friends’ children, if they are fine with using them. It is better to get rid of stuff than clutter the house.
Tips and tricks to help children tackle clutter:
- Making up songs for clean time with actions. This works really well with toddlers and preschoolers.
- Set a good example for your child - lead the way. This is the fastest and most effective way to inculcate habits.
- Turn cleaning time into a game - challenge your child to see how quickly both of you can clean his or her room. Set rules, play and have fun!
- Give your child a written list of chores that need to be done on a regular basis - post a colour-coded list in a prominent place so your child can see it and refer to it.
- Set up a reward system - Giving small things as reward for cleaning up a room.
- Avoid criticism of any kind - children will listen if you handle the situation with love and care.
The author is Director of Peekaboo Patterns.
Also read our article on organising your home before the arrival of your little one: