Amidst the hustle and bustle of the school term, it can be a tall order for the children to keep their corner of the home spick and span. But now that the school holidays have descended, they no longer have an excuse to not clean up what looks like the aftermath of a Category 5 hurricane.
The truth is, it is not that difficult for the young ones to get organised – they simply need a little motivation and some creative ideas to get going.
Before you launch into another wave of nagging and drive yourself up the wall in the process, try these tips first.
1. Pencil it in
Just like you would schedule tuition or enrichment classes, do the same for cleaning up. Set aside an hour or two (or three) a week for organising their belongings. Ensure that they finish the task before moving to the next item on the timetable.
2. Get your message across clearly
When asking your children to clean up, make sure you establish eye contact and convey your expectations clearly. Be specific about the most pressing priorities so they know what to do first.
3. Make it fun
Set a timer and introduce a reward system (e.g. one task completed will allow them to have more time at the playground). The more they accomplish in a single clean-up session, the bigger the prize.
4. Assign every item a “home”
Stationery goes here; toys strictly belong in that box; and completed worksheets should be filed and stored. Get them to give each object a specific spot in their room, and the organising process can be executed quicker and easier.
5. Get a clear jar for random stuff
See these items lying around the house: tiny figurines, origami, key chains? If your kids often come home with random trinkets, get them to keep these out-of-place items in a large clear jar. This is so they can know at a glance where they are. When the jar becomes full, displace old and unwanted items to make space for new ones.
6. Do the backpack audit
Cleaning and decluttering should extend to their school bags too. Remove and file old worksheets, replace worn stationery cases and shake out the scraps into a dustbin.
7. Help them sell their pre-loved items (for older kids)
If your pre-teens are faced with overflowing art supplies, clothes, bags or toys in good condition, you can seek their permission to sell these items online or give them away.
8. Lead by example
If you want your kids to be neat and organised, don’t forget to model those qualities yourself! In fact, you can make home organising a family activity by doing it all together and encouraging each other to do better each time.