view of organizational tools on a desk - help kids stay organized

If your kids struggle with organization, it could just be time management issues or their current stage of development. Other culprits could point to lack of sleep or issues with ADHD or focus. Your child may also exhibit different types of organizational challenges than you're expecting, like forgetting their homework or not being able to gather up materials for a project without several attempts.

The good news is you can help kids with organizational challenges and turn it into an empowering experience for the whole family. Here's how to get started.

Make It Fun

It's not just common sense, studies show that having fun while learning improves kids' ability to retain the information and helps create more positive attitudes. Of course, every child's idea of having fun is different and requires some brainstorming to accommodate different interests:

  • Turn organizing a room into a game with incentives. 
  • Invest in colorful pens, planners, and organizational tools that kids love using.
  • Let kids color and fill in printables to make organizing more fun.

You can also let kids take an active part in their organizational efforts by asking what would make it fun for them. Your kids may not have an answer right away, but as time goes on, let them choose how to make the most of their own organizational routine.

Break Bigger Tasks Into Chunks

Sometimes tasks feel too big to overcome. Simply telling a kid to clean their room may feel daunting or not make sense. Your idea of cleaning may be a totally orderly an immaculate room while a child may think it means the ability to walk to their bed and no dirty clothes on the floor.

Chart out what you want your kids to do and break it out into manageable tasks. You may want to list out picking up clothes and taking them to the laundry room, putting away clean laundry, picking up books, and placing smaller toys into bins. Each task should have its own step-by-step plan to ensure clarity and prevent overwhelm.

Model Good Behavior

Kids learn and imitate adult behavior, both the good and bad. If you want your kids to practice good organization, make sure you're doing it yourself. Get busy organizing messy cupboards, drawers, paperwork, and desktops when your children are hanging around. Although lecturing them on how well you organize probably won't do much good, you can periodically mention how organizing helps in every day life. 

Tell them how keeping their rooms clean helps them at school by building skills to keep their supplies and backpacks organize. Point out how much easier it is to find things and more relaxed everyone feels when they can access their things and stay on top of the clutter. The more kids connect the dots with why organization is important and watching you do it, the easier it becomes.

Teach Calendar Skills

Despite how straightforward calendars may seem, using them to your advantage takes some nuancing. Part of calendar management is also learning executive functioning, which includes learning to plan, focusing, paying  attention, remembering different steps, and multi-tasking. Show kids how to use a calendar to keep track of important events, including play dates and important events at school. For more detailed days, show them how to combine the power of calendars and a planner or to-do lists to breakdown bigger tasks.

Use To-Do Lists

Breaking down an entire day's worth of tasks isn't usually appropriate for a calendar. It's harder to see everything and work through different aspects of the day. A to-do list organizes the entire day from start to finish, or a larger task, like cleaning out the garage. Here are a few tools to help you get started:

  • Task Pad - A simple pad for your child to keep track of their ongoing tasks.
  • Keep It Organized - Perfect for the is an ideal home and office companion to provide a date, get it done, checklist, email list, and a make a note section.
  • Priorities, Needs, and Wants - Pair this pad with a daily planner to stay on task and help your kids categorize their priorities, needs, and wants for the week.

Remember to throw in some pens and colorful tabs to let your kids accessorize their organizational efforts.

Establish Routines

Kids thrive on routine and knowing what's expected of them. Beyond creating mealtime and bedtime routines, you can also turn organization into a routine. Set aside five or ten minutes a day to work through the day's tasks and prioritize what needs to be done. Or talk about tasks for the next day and chart out everything in advance. However you approach it, keep it consistent and give your kids ownership over their organizational routine.

Create a Clutter-Free Zone

Set aside an area of your home that is clutter-free. Whether it's the den or a corner of the kitchen, show your kids how to maintain the clutter free area and set up a small work space. Decide together how it will be used, whether as a place to work on their to-do list or read a book. The area will give kids a sense of order, no matter how chaotic the rest of the day feels. 

Next Steps

Ready to make organization a regular part of your kids life? Pick and choose your favorite ideas from our list and grab some of our organizational tools to get started. Start browsing our entire selection of organizational tools here. 

April 06, 2023