Wouldn't it be nice to have more help with the laundry?

How to Teach Children Organization Skills

by Jennifer Zimmerman

Organizational skills like reading and math fact recall are skills that will help kids in high school, college and beyond. Learning to create order and to remember tasks are skills that will help your preschoolers throughout their entire lives as well as help you keep your sanity on busy mornings. As with any other desired behavior, start by modelling organization skills for your children and then instruct them on how to organize independently.

Model Organization Skills

Create a family calendar. Use a large dry erase calendar to keep track of the family's activities, chores and appointments. Assign a specific color to each family member so even preschoolers can see when they have activities going on.

Make a place for everything. Have designated spots for library books, school bags, shoes, paperwork, sports equipment, toys, clothes and whatever else seems to wind up all over the house.

Label those designated places. Use small removable labels to label where things go. Not only will your preschoolers see everyone using those reminders, but no one can tell you she "forgot" where her library books go.

Cook together. Organizational skills like following directions, sorting ingredients and managing time are all part of cooking.

Get laundry help. Children can pair socks or sort lights and darks. Depending on their fine motor skills, they may even be able to help you put laundry away. These sorting and classifying skills are great for organization.

Teach Sorting Skills

Sort the toys. Go through toys together and remove any toys that can be donated. Then put the rest into groups: toy cars, dolls, blocks, and play food. Place each group in a bin.

Label the toy bins. Take a picture of each group and tape the picture to the front of each toy bin.

Practice clean up. Show them how to clean up their toys properly with every toy in the correct bin and all toys off the floor.

Organize clothing. You can also label where clothing items go so that children can help you put things away.

Teaching Time Management Skills

Create checklists. Use photos or simple drawings to illustrate routine tasks that children can do independently such as getting dressed in the morning or cleaning up their play areas.

Display checklists. Hang the checklists in places where children can see them regularly like the bedroom or bathroom.

Review checklists. Go over the checklists with the children and have them practice these skills as you supervise.

Items you will need

  • Dry erase calendar
  • Dry erase markers
  • Markers
  • Poster paper
  • Index cards
  • Tape
  • Reusable labels
  • Camera

Tip

  • Encourage children to do things for themselves as much as possible. Even toddlers can put their own clothes in the hamper and their own toys away. It's hard to be organized if you're not responsible.

Warning

  • You need to be consistent when teaching organization skills; they don't come easily or naturally to a lot of kids. You can't let them skip routines or putting toys in the right bins because you're in a hurry or they are whining about it.

About the Author

Jennifer Zimmerman is a former preschool and elementary teacher who has been writing professionally since 2007. She has written numerous articles for The Bump, Band Back Together, Prefab and other websites, and has edited scripts and reports for DWJ Television and Inversion Productions. She is a graduate of Boston University and Lewis and Clark College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images