Teaching tidiness through praise
The best time to start encouraging the habit of tidying is as early as possible. Even a toddler can pick up and put away a toy, and with patience and repetition from you, they will learn that everything has its place.
Children from a very young age are eager for acceptance and praise, and will often mimic adult behaviors, particularly those of their parents. So if a child sees their parents letting the family home be cluttered and unorganized, then they will often take it as acceptable and do the same. Setting a good example for your children is the majority of the battle, as they follow your lead.
It is important to remember a child’s attachment to various objects. It can often mean that they are attached to things such as broken toys, worn out clothes or soft toys and dolls, stickers and papers, and rocks and stones. It is natural for children to instinctively want to collect pretty much everything that lands within their grasp. To combat this, you can set out some simple guidelines to help your child understand what constitutes rubbish and what an actual personal belonging is, what should be kept and treasured, and what should be discarded.
Rules with responsibility
A good way to help kids learn tidy habits is to set daily rules to be followed by both the children and yourself. They should be easy for the child to understand and follow, and you should aim to follow them as well to set a good example to be followed by your child. Also letting the child have some say in the organization of their room, for example which box they designate for their soft toys and what color their new toy box is, can help engage them more in the tidying as they feel more responsibility towards their own environment and want to keep it tidy.
This article was written by Delia Shaw. She is a mother to 3 children, and works for a kids room wallpaper company.