Your child’s room often resembles a tsunami hit seashore. All kinds of things lie around, including books, notebooks, drawing materials, school bag, toys etc. The child is blissfully unaware of the chaos as he/she happily plays with friends, unmindful of your shouts for the umpteenth time. You go about picking things and organizing, all the time scolding your child for not listening to your instructions repeatedly given, day in and day out. The next day dawns and the story is repeated. You feel exhausted. You wonder how to make your child follow the discipline of keeping things, especially school items like books and notebooks in a neat and proper manner.
“A place for everything and everything in its place.” This mantra sums up the essence of organized living. The earlier the child imbibes it, the better because it will stand by your child throughout his/her life and help in achieving successes and happiness.
How to impart this important skill to your child?
1) The child is in the learning phase. The child learns by doing what you do, not what you say. So, the responsibility is on you to practice organized living at home yourself. Declutter by getting rid of all unwanted and unused things at home. Keep all things nicely tucked up in appropriate places. Let a neat and tidy ambience prevail at home all the time.
2) Instead of shouting at your child and proceeding to tidy up your child’s room in frustration, calmly and lovingly invite your child to join with you and participate in tidying things up in his/her room. Patiently explain to your child about the need for keeping things at appropriate places. Help your child to keep the books, notebooks and other school materials neatly in the shelf. Let your child have his/her own book shelf. Periodically, help your child to declutter the book shelf by removing anything other than your child’s school materials lying there; also, help your child to periodically empty the book shelf and clear off all dusts, at least once a week.
Let there be a separate bin to keep your child’s toys. You may keep away most of the toys and only take out some at a time, for your child to play with. Rotate these toys to let the child feel as though they are new. Dispose off broken toys. Go out with your child to give away unused toys to charities.
3) Never allow the child to deface the books by scribbling or tearing away covers and pages. We have a tradition of treating the books as sacred. Teach the child early on to treat the books and notebooks with respect and reverence. Help your child to maintain the books and notebooks neatly by replacing the covers, pasting or stitching loose sheets etc.
4) Do not restrict your child from freely using all the materials in the name of keeping up the cleanliness. The child, after all, learns by playing and experimenting with all things lying around. However, be firm but kind to get the child to put the things back in their appropriate places after completing the work. Don’t let the child go out to play or watch TV without tidying up his/her room after work.
Remember, patience is the key. Let your child gradually learn and imbibe the disciplined and organized way of living and become habituated. Be ready to accept a little waywardness as part of the child’s growth process. Intervene to correct at the appropriate time and help your child put things in order.
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