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How can I help my child with organizational skills?

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Parents often reach out to us asking how to get their kids more involved in organizing and household tasks, short of bribing them.

They want to know why their kids aren't into it, and the answer always surprises them. We mean this with love, but the problem is us.

Adults usually bring our past experiences and preconceived notions to the table, and our Littles are picking up on it.

What's your biggest struggle around organizing in your home?

  • Finding the help

  • Finding the time

  • Dreading the task

  • Not knowing what to do/Where to start

So our number one tip for parents is: stop thinking like an adult! Start thinking like your Little instead. Have a hard time doing this?

Ask your Little for inspiration. Get curious with them. Ask them how a monkey would organize the books.

Or how a pirate would fold the laundry. When you make it fun - you both win and actually want to get the task done.

Organization coach helping child organize bins in playroom
Helping our littles get organized!

When it comes to younger kids - you don't actually have to bribe them to help with tidying and household tasks.

You may not believe us, but they really do WANT to help you, because they want to be with you.

And to them, this is not a task or a chore - this is play. And play is exactly how they learn. They also learn when you model the behavior, so it's important that they see YOU doing it too, not just expecting them to do it.

Have them hold you accountable, and help them be accountable, too. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.

Organized closet full of games and toys.

When it comes to organizing and household chores - just like everything else they're learning - repetition is key. They'll need exposure to it dozens of times while they become confident in their own skills and abilities.

It's hard for us as adults to remember, but we didn't learn these things overnight either.

Heck, the majority of my organizing clients hire me because they were never taught these skills when they were younger.

And what we've discovered is that in teaching Littles as young as 6-months old basic organizing language, you are helping them build organizing and motor skills that translate into greater life skills that will last with them the rest of their lives.

Young boy next to his toys organized in colored buckets.

So don't just think of it as a chore or getting something done because you have to - think of helping to set your kids up from the start with great skills that will carry them through life with more ease and grace.

Speaking of grace - when toddlers have big feelings around donating or seem too distracted to assist with a task, try to have more grace with them.

We aren't always ready or willing to do the things that need to be done (ahhem, "adulting" - we're all guilty of doing everything we can to distract us from those tasks we dread).

Again, learn from your Little - reframe and find a way to make it fun. Can't? Then find a buddy to work with you. Sometimes we just need a friend to help us get the task done.

Want to learn more brilliant ways of making organizing fun for everyone in the family? Or how to set your house and family unit up for organizing success? Check out our Calm Your Chaos course, or follow us on Patreon or Instagram for more tips and tricks!

Two moms and two young kids in front of their organized toys with smiling faces.

by Mary Beth McMann and Lauren Mang All images Get Littles Organized, LLC

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About 👋

EFS started with one teacher deciding that kids with ADHD needed better access to quality executive function coaching services. Since then, we have grown to a team of specialists working both private students and public schools to enhance executive function skills for all students. 

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