Toddlers are not concerned about organization. They just aren’t. Toys are never put away without repeated prompting, and small tots are notorious for losing basic items that are actually hard to lose. Teaching them basic organization skills now can lead to long-term habits that last a lifetime.
So, how do you teach a toddler about organization when many have the attention span of a gnat? Start with something simple such as monitoring their backpack. Do regular backpack audits. Your child’s backpack is a crucial link between home and school—so it’s important to keep it neat. Schedule a time each week for your child to clean out and organize her backpack. This teaches them responsibility and gives them some control over their items. Hold them accountable for not keeping their bag tidy...at least what is reasonably tidy for a toddler.
A second way to teach organization is to have them cultivate an interest in collecting. If your child has an interest in particular items, encourage them to create and organize a collection. It can be something as simple as leaves or used stamps — anything that kids can sort, classify, and arrange. Arranging prized finds by color and size is a great way for kids to learn about organization basics.
A third way to introduce organization is to establish household routines. Choose a day of the week for household tasks like doing laundry, paying bills, and cleaning, and get your kids involved! If she knows that the clothes get washed on Thursday, your fashion plate can plan her ensembles accordingly. Engage your kids in setting the routine (it helps build their planning skills) and encourage them to follow yours or make their own. This does not mean that you let your little one be in charge of paying the bills, but it is okay to let them click the submit button. When it’s time to launder their bed linens, let them help you take the sheets off the bed and put in the washer. Kids love to pour the soap in. When the laundry is done, let them put the fresh pillowcase on their pillow. There are a lot of different chores they can help with. After all, chores are what big kids do.
Getting your child familiar with organizational tasks now will create in them a sense of pride in regards to their possessions. When they put possessions away in their correct place, they will find that their items don’t get lost. Having them assist with household chores also teaches them about time management, and that there is a balance between work and play.