How to Train an Organized Child
Have you ever picked up a “to-be-assembled” product at the store, gotten home, pulled out the directions, started reading, and said, “If only I could see someone assembling it I would understand what they mean by . . .”
With YouTube and internet videos at our fingertips we can!
I cannot tell you how many times I go to the web to find how-to videos, because I learn and understand better in a visual learning environment.
Modeling is a way to create a physical example of how to do something.
When you are trying to teach your child a new skill, like organization, modeling the right way to do things is a great start. Show them how it’s done through your consistent actions.
When kids see and hear the importance of being organized and how that translates into getting positive attention and feedback, they’ll want to be a part of it too.
Set The Event
- Choose a time that will give you the best possible opportunity to gain their attention and cooperation.
- Show them where you want things to go by physically placing things in preplanned spots together.
- Let them “catch” you doing it, so they can observe your organized behavior and see how it’s done without being told to watch.
The number one way to get people to do what you want them to do time and again is to have a solid reinforcement in place that keeps things going.
A “reward” is something that’s earned outside of a normal reinforcement for a longer period of success. A “reinforcement” is going to be something that’s daily and frequent, like access to video games, extra time past bedtime, or your personal undivided attention.
Do not underestimate the power of personal attention! If your child knows that putting his backpack away and walking the dog each weekday without being told equals playing a round of hoops with you in the driveway after dinner each weekday, you may see a change in his attitude.
What are you modeling by using reinforcements?
You are modeling consistency. When a child sees that the plan you agreed to is followed, no matter what, he can trust it and then shape his actions around that.
Modeling By Room
- Have things set up before you start a new organization routine, give a tour of the new setup, put things away together, and fade your help and expectations as they take over.
- Call them back into a room each and every time (if possible) to self correct while asking them what happened. Do they need to see how it’s done again?
- Plan more family organizing days vs. solo organizing days, so they can be a part of how you do things, hear you talking about it, and see you doing it.
- Start small and build. If you have a clutter bug on your hands or a resistant teen, you need to start one task at a time and build off the success of that task. Rushing though a cluttered house as you point is not modeling.
- Create clearly defined zones within the rooms they are organizing in. If they’ve been shown where it is and they can see it, there will be less chance of an organization misunderstanding that leads to clutter.
Author Kristi Pelzel is a mom and an organizer at heart working in multimedia and television production who loves writing and illustrating. She currently lives in Washington D.C. with her organized, and sometimes clutter bug, family. Kid-Ganize is her 2nd book in The Get Organized Book Series.Share this: