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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Ages 9-12: Up the Responsibility
"This is the age where you need to give your children even more responsibility for their possessions, as well as their choices," Walsh explains. "More and more, they're making decisions about what they spend their money on, what's valuable to them and what can be given to charity or sold."
- Teach organizational life skills. Smallin suggests placing a two-drawer filing cabinet in your child's room so they can file graded tests and homework papers — whatever items they deem important enough to keep.
- Let them establish their own routines. Children need to be making more decisions at this age, but they also need to know there's still a time to play, and a time to clean up, a time to watch TV, and a time to do homework.
- Give the gift of a hamper with wheels. At this age, children are old enough to do their own laundry — start to finish. Smallin suggests making it easier on your kids with a hamper that has wheels for easy transport, or at least a removable bag.
- Let them choose. "Bring your kids with you to shop for organizing products that they'll actually use," Smallin suggests. "They're more likely to use what they pick out, not what you pick out for them."
- Sold! Let them sell things on eBay, with your approval. They may learn some harsh lessons about the real value of their "valuables," but they may also cash in on some of their collectible game cards they don't play with anymore.
- Stop nagging. "At some stage, you have to stop screaming at your child to clean his or her room," Walsh explains. "Ask your child, 'What do you want from your room? What dream do you have for your life?' See if, together, you can make his or her room a stepping-off point for their life."
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