Get Organized: Kids

Get Your Kids Organized at All Ages

Toddlers, and even teens, can be good organizers. Follow these tips to teach your kids organizing skills that will last a lifetime.

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Getting Started

When it comes to organizing, my two sons couldn't be more different. Drew, 13, is a neat freak and Justin, 17, is, well, far from being the King of Clean. I have a relaxed attitude about clutter, but I'm not a slob. So how did I wind up living with Oscar and Felix from The Odd Couple?

"Kids may react to their parents' lack of organizational skills in two different ways: They'll either become super organizers to combat your shortcomings, or they'll try to be an even bigger slob than you are," says Marla Cilley, who offers online coaching to purge clutter and is the author of Sink Reflections: FlyLady's BabyStep Guide to Overcoming CHAOS.

"There's lots of research that suggests your child's behavioral patterns are set by age three, and organizational skills are no exception," says professional organizer and TV host Peter Walsh. "Children definitely follow your lead. You have to look at what behavior you are modeling for them from a very young age."

The best way to guarantee your children will develop organizational habits is to be consistent with them, from as early as age 2. As they grow older, from 5 to 8, then from 9 to 12, you can modify your strategies for getting kids organized.

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