The art of being organized is a skill that can make or break us as we move through life, so teaching our children how to be organized from an early age will enhance their ability to get things done, feel confident and capable as well as make life a little more easy. However, while organization is a basic life skill, it is easier for your child to maintain a system if it is in line with their dominant sense. Rather than making tidying up and organizing a chore, have fun learning about your child’s way of thinking through setting up an organizational system that works for both you and your child.
Tactile children do best with category- and utility-based organization stations. For a tactile child, unless the things they need are right in front of them at the time they need it, they will tend to rush past and forget. The toothbrush and toothpaste will need to be at the sink rather than in the cabinet, their school bag will need to be at the door, their clothes out and ready to put on from their bath or from when they wake. Organization should consist of quick cleaning storage such as tubs, boxes and hooks, even for clothing and school items. Shoes are easily placed in a large tub at the door, school books can be organized into colored boxes based on subject and sports gear is easy to find when kept hanging on hooks in netted bags.
Visual children will do best when things have a place and home outside of view. This may seem counterintuitive for a visual child, but they take great joy in organizing their items neatly and knowing exactly where everything is. They will also like a visual list to remind them, neatly written and placed discreetly. When organizing their wardrobes or drawers, pick a theme based in color, size or utility, and allow them to fit their things to that classification or organization pattern. Most importantly, allow them plenty of display space on wall shelves to show off their many collections.
Auditory children can appear to be on the untidy side, but there will be a pattern to their madness. Think organized chaos, so it’s important to work with your auditory child rather than stepping in and tidying yourself. This doesn’t mean they can be untidy, but rather allow them the freedom to organize and keep tidy in their own way. They will prefer open cupboards and shelves for clothes and toys, and this is actually a direct link to deadening the sound in their room. If your child is habitually lining their floor with stuffed toys and clothes, invest in some basic sound deadening items like rugs, padded headboards, curtains and chairs to soak up the sound. You will be surprised at the difference this unusual step will make to your child’s natural organization skills.
Taste and smell children tend to be collectors. They will want to keep every ticket from every theme park, every gift, toy or item of clothing that was given to them and every card, memento and book to remind them of the tiniest things. This is when a journal and a camera will come in handy. Rather than keeping the too-small sweater or the very ugly doll, take a picture and have them write a detailed caption. This will preserve the memory and satisfy your taste and smell child’s need for personal connection with the added benefit of using up a lot less space. Expect them to have a lot of photos that they will want to display, so allocating a dresser, shelf or even hanging frames on the walls will help to keep things tidy.
Use children’s dominant senses to make the process easier and the clean up system more personalized. Even when small, they can learn how to put away their toys, pack their bags and help with keeping their space organized.
Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at childsense.com.
© 2013, Priscilla Dunstan
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