Tidiness, Taught

Some people took our last post – espousing the merits and benefits of being untidy – a little more seriously than was intended. So to reset the scales and bring some common sense perspective to our humble corner of the internet, we decided in this blog entry to focus on bringing kids up properly.

No – not the whole of bringing kids up properly – that would be far too much to cover in one blog – and our servers probably wouldn’t cope with the strain. Just the bit about how to get your DD or DS to keep a tidy room and treat their stuff with care – because, believe it or not – if you catch them young enough, you really can instil a sense of pride and responsibility for their environment. As they say… Tidy room, Tidy mind…

Tidy really isn’t a dirty word. Being tidy and ordered is a good thing to do. It’s also easier than you think to get your children to see the world through tidy eyes. It begins at home, it begins at a young age, and it begins by introducing organisational skills in a structured and measured way. Here then are 6 ABC Selfstore pointers to help you help them to keep everything shipshape and Bristol fashion…

1. Make time

As with lots of things involving children, if you’re too busy to spend quality time with them you can’t expect them to learn the right way to do things. Make it part of your routine to spend 30 minutes a day of playtime. Include in that 5 minutes of packing away time at the end – if you haven’t quite managed to pack everything up leave them to it to complete the task – that way you’ll not only be teaching them how to keep tidy – but how to take responsibility for it too.

2. Start with play

If your Son is a Lego fanatic purchase a drawer storage tower and get them to sort their blocks into categories. It could be by colour, or it could be by shape – flats, blocks, wings, hinges, people, so on and so forth. Likewise – if Barbie’s Wardrobe is the focus of your daughter’s attention then that could be a good place to start. One minute she’ll be packing her doll’s winter wardrobe into the glamour camper and before you know it it will be her own clothes going in the right drawers, shelves and wardrobes of her bedroom.

3. Make it a game

How quickly can you tidy your room? How well can you tidy your room? How many T-shirts can you fit in the t-shirt drawer if you fold them this way? Can you put your books on the held in alphabetical order? There are plenty of ways of making tidiness a game for them. Setting some form of challenge as part of that game will ensure they have something to aim for and a sense of achievement when they succeed or find the answer.

4. Give them the tools to be tidy

A room with no storage facilities will almost certainly be messy. Ensure your child has enough cupboards, drawers, shelves and boxes to be able to put everything away. There are some really clever storage solutions out there that don’t cost the earth.

5. Reward (but not too much)

If your child is into clothes and they’ve kept their room immaculately for 2 months, then a Saturday morning shopping trip for a new outfit could be a great form of encouragement and reward. If music is their thing and their collection of children’s 1/2 size musical instruments are always put away neatly and cared for, then they might like to go to a concert (you’ll be encouraging their hobby and showing them what they could achieve.

6. Clear out periodically 

If they’ve got too much stuff you might discuss having a clear out with them. Learning that they don’t have to hoard everything (including the pre-school toys they no longer play with) should begin from a young age. For example – if you’ve got a local NCT group you could explain that you might make some money by selling your unwanted toys at one of their sales. Explain the benefits too – that the NCT generate much needed funds to help parents, that you make some money on your toys (which can be spent on new ones), and – just like in Toy Story 3 – another child will have fun with what you’ve sold.

Finally – if you’ve got a growing brood and are limited on space – you may need to find somewhere to store toys that your youngest will grow into.  If that’s the case then one of our storage lockers could well be just what you are after.