Creating order in a home can have many different benefits. From a shallow perspective, it might seem like an orderly home is something only done for appearances. It’s not real and it’s certainly not sustainable for a family. It’s almost as if an orderly home is the done-up, make-up version of the house. Something you do before guests come or before you take a picture. But having order is also something deeper than that, and maybe even highly important.
What if an orderly home, where everything has a place and things feel certain, could actually make for more successful children and stronger family bonds? It might seem that making your bed every day or putting away your puzzle in the spot it always goes can’t possibly be a solution for becoming successful employees, students, and stewards of the world. Maybe you’ve heard quotes like “a cleans space is a clear mind?” There might actually be something to that.
It’s all good to read about but what are the practical things you can do right now for the success of you, and your family?
Four Practices for Creating Order
These practices can help children and adults with focus, creative thinking, problem-solving, forecasting, planning, memory, logic, reason, and so many other highly important cognitive skills. By creating order we create certainty for children so they feel safe and have the ability to create order for themselves.
Ditch the “toy box/junk drawer" situation. If you create order in your home, your children will begin to learn that order is a priority. When creating order, put 'like with like' everywhere you can so when your family is looking for something, they know exactly where to go. Of course, there can still be a box of toys and a drawer of miscellaneous things, just put them in categories or collections. Pens with pens, blocks with blocks, paper with paper. As you build order into your life, it helps children build recall, which is a skill they will need all throughout their lives.
Start sorting activities. For little kids, 19 months - 5 yrs, you can create sorting activities (your older children can begin this kind of sorting in their own rooms with your guidance). There are tons of ideas on Pinterest, we’ve even gathered a few here. These shouldn’t take long for you to put together and they make a great activity to pull out on a rainy day. The idea with sorting activities is they teach your children how to create categories and how to put like with like. And as a bonus, depending on the activity, they can even help develop fine motor skills! Keep an eye on your child as they begin to master one activity so you know when to try a new one.
Put it away when you are done. For children, playing is a typical task they engage with throughout their day. Studies show that uninterrupted play (where a child is able to use one activity like blocks) can help a child learn and through the focus, find joy. Every task: books, blocks, dolls, dress up, etc, has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning of playing, where a child decides to get out an activity, and middle, where the child engages with the activity are very simple to understand. The end, where the activity is put away, often gets missed. Leaving it for the end of day whole room clean up or leaving it out and cluttered. To help children build the skill of focus the goal is to have them pay attention to the end of their play too. By engaging with an activity from the beginning, when they decide to use something, though to the end when they decide they are finished, children have the opportunity to extend their learning 15-20 additional minutes. This gives them a larger span of time to develop cognitive skills like concentration, decision making, and order which in turn will support their academic learning in the future. It's a win-win, they get more learning and you get less clean up! This same practice is helpful for every member of the house. The task is complete once it's cleaned up and put away.
Rotate toys. Too much choice is overwhelming and too little is stifling. When children have too many toys they tend to have less engagement. They bounce from toy to toy so concentration isn't happening and as we discussed in practice 3, focused play is an important part of learning. Lack of physical order can create cognitive stress for your children so if you don't have enough space to have all your toys neatly and beautifully organized, rotating toys becomes a great way to keep your children engaged. Maybe your child is really into legos, lincoln logs, and train tracks but having them all out at once is a never-ending mess. For one week, or however long they stay engaged, keep the legos out and accessible. When they start to seem disengaged, (shorter focus, no longer using as intend, bored) it’s time for a rotation. Ask them if they would like to rotate out their legos for trains or lincoln logs. Here is where the honesty comes in, DO NOT throw out the toys that are in storage. Build trust with rotating toys so your kiddos know that gone for now isn’t gone forever.
Want to know what we love about our Home Reserve pieces? They are an easy way to keep order, beauty, and comfort in your home. Maybe your puzzles and blankets always go in your ottoman and under your seat cushions, your toys for rotation. Creating order in a home is about having space for everyone that lives there so each member can be successful. It means parents get a beautiful living room and the children get a space to be kids and that is what we are here for.
Do you have any favorite organizing tips that work for your family?
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