William and Kate have made no secret that they want to be hands-on parents to their new royal baby George Alexander Louis. As any parent can attest, children and messes go hand-in-hand – and so, Prince George is sure to disrupt the tidiness of Kensington Palace a time or two! Here are five ways the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can instill the best of organizing into George over the course of his formative years, and how you can do the same with your children.
- Younger children will have a completely different perspective of their living space than their parents. When organizing an area for your children, it’s important to get in touch with this perspective. Sit on the floor to see the space from your children’s point of view. Then hang hooks, place containers, and situate closet rods at a height that works well for them, not you.
- Automatically include “student planner” on the back-to-school shopping list, when it becomes age-appropriate to do so. Take the time to show your children how to use their planner, emphasizing how it will help them to remember tasks and balance time. Then encourage your children to use and actively engage with their planner. After all, time management is a significant life skill to pass on!
- For families with more than one child, allow each to pick a color. When it comes to organizing, keep to the color selected – so if Bobby prefers orange, all his containers are orange, and if Susie wants purple, then all her containers are purple. This is a great organizing tactic for kids of all ages because it allows for a quick I.D. of what’s theirs and what’s not. Additionally, if children are still learning to read, they will always recognize their respective color – no label necessary!
- For an organized start to the day, ensure that there is an assigned to-go zone, where – just as the name implies – everything is ready to go quickly. Before bed, have your children prep their individual backpacks for the next day and place them in the zone. Ensure there is an outlet in this area, so that any electrical gadgets can charge overnight. For things that tend to be forgotten during the morning rush, like lunches, include a “don’t forget” list that remains within line-of-sight each day.
- Encourage your children to help tidy up by disguising it as a game. For example, place a basket in the middle of the room, set a timer for one minute, and race to see who can put the most toys in the basket before the buzzer. Another idea: make pick-up a game of “I Spy,” asking each child to locate and dunk a specific toy in the basket. Games of this nature not only teach children about the importance of organization, but also save parents the time and effort associated with cleaning up alone.
Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.