Organization is a vital key in achieving a smooth and efficient lifestyle. We’ve all been there, losing our keys, forgetting where we parked, not remembering where we left that one important file! These “blips” in our minds stem from being disorganized. Though we may not think about it as adults, this disorganization can begin at a very early age starting with a child’s toys. Young toddlers are fully capable of putting their toys away into the toy box or toy organizer with mom or dad’s encouragement and guidance. Yes, it may take longer than just doing it yourself, but when a child is allowed to keep his toys scattered about he becomes frazzled, overwhelmed, and overstimulated.
Using a toy box or toy organizer not only keeps your home neat and tidy, it creates unique and teachable moments that form the foundation for your child to become an organized adult. Use the opportunity to not only spend time with your child, but show him that “cleaning up” can be FUN! One of the best ways to do this is to create your own clean up song. Something like, “Toys away. Toys away. Time to put the toys away!” An then you can count the toys as he puts them away. Notice the colors of each toy and point them out. Name the toys and spell the name. If it is a big, red, fire truck, then say it, “Big red FIRE TRUCK!” and make the noises a fire truck makes! Or even explain what a fire truck does and how it comes to the rescue!
As your child grows this “cleaning up” activity can become more advanced. Utilize some of the multi-bin toy organizers to allow for categorizing toys. Having your little guy put all the balls into the red bin and all the trucks into the green bin puts a smile on everyone’s face! This also helps when he wants to play with specific toys. We have all heard a time or two, “Mommy, where’s my blue, light-up, ball?” Another teachable moment can follow by reminding him that the red bin is where all the balls are kept…so it must be in there!
When a child is involved in “cleaning up” and it is not seen as a boring chore or barked as an order, there is a sense of accomplishment that builds confidence and self-esteem. He feels and knows he did a good job! And though he may not put the toys away into the toy box exactly as you would, there still should not be any criticism. If the toy gets into the toy box or toy organizer, then the goal has been met. Your expectations should be small.
Teaching organization to your child not only helps in the home, but will carry over into their schoolwork, activities, friendships, and eventually, their jobs and financial security. The simple task of putting his toys away into his toy organizer is the first step to achieving the sense of freedom that being organized establishes. Why not teach your child this valuable skill right out of the “toy box?”
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Author: Shirley L. Moore, mom, expert organizer