How To Help Your Child Win At Life And Be More Organized


The other day, my ten year old son came home from school and he promptly asked to go outside and play with his friends. I asked the question I always ask, “Do you have any homework?” To which he replied, “Yes, but I have no idea where my math book is. I haven’t had it for a few days now.” My initial response was to get angry (because this isn’t the first time books have gone missing or he has misplaced something important) and tell him how irresponsible he is with his belongings, how he is just too forgetful or how he needs to be better at keeping track of where he puts his things…but then I saw myself.

I saw myself in him.

I knew that I needed to take part of the blame and help him find a solution. I can clearly remember being his age and being scared to come home and tell my mom that I had once again forgotten to look in the lost and found for my jacket, or once again had left my mittens on the playground, or once again had forgotten my homework assignment in my desk. I was a complete mess as a child and honestly, things have only gotten slightly better. Now it’s, “Where are my keys? Where is the diaper bag? I forgot to sign that permission slip!” Or, “Is today that doctor’s appointment?” But I have found that there are a few things that have helped me not completely lose track of my life. I want to help my kids keep better track of their life too by giving them some practical tips and being a good example. So, I have thought of a few ways to help my kids win at life. 

  1. Lead by example. Our kids are always watching us (and listening). They learn from us even when we don’t know they are soaking things in. It can be as simple as putting your purse on the hook instead of on the floor when you get home, or putting the dishes away when they have been cleaned. They see you being responsible and it just might rub off on them.
  2. Talk to them. Give them practical ways to be organized. Some things seem so easy and we may just assume they know how to live an organized life but are just choosing not to, but they aren’t born with the skill- it’s learned. Give them the tools they need to be successful. Tell them what it takes to be responsible and organized. Tell them what helps you. If that’s a calendar or planner, get them one. Kids love things they can write in.
  3. Make sure everything has it’s own space in your home. Putting bins or baskets in their room or around the house with labels like: sports gear, library books, video games, gloves…etc. could really help a lot when it comes to where they put things and where they go to look for things too. In the garage we have bins for each of our shoes, bags for our scarves and hats, baskets for balls, frisbees, sidewalk chalk and any other outdoor stuff. All our bikes have a place on hooks on the ceiling of the garage. This is all largely due to the fact that my husband is extremely organized. I am so happy that he is slowly rubbing off on me, and hopefully our children too. 
  4. Don’t do things for them. This one is hard for me because I am one to just do things on my own because it’s quicker and gets done when I want it to get done. I put everyone’s clothes away after laundry, I clean up their toy room when it’s a mess, I clean up their rooms when I can’t stand looking at the mess any longer. But for the most part, my children are very capable of doing these things on their own. My 10 year old certainly can take a pile of folded clean clothes and put them in the proper drawers. Cleaning up after themselves also teaches them to take responsibility for what they are doing. If they know they have to clean it up, maybe they won’t make such a huge mess. Let them learn and create good habits for themselves.
  5. Take away the clutter!! One of the easiest ways for me to get and stay organized is to not have too much in the first place. Help your child declutter their room. This doesn’t mean cleaning their room for them but instead, and with your child, go through toys, clothes and books and get rid of the things that aren’t being used. The less they have around, the easier it is to keep track of the things you have. I did this in my own life and cleaned out a good 50% off my clothes in order to make my mornings easier to get ready for the day and find my clothes. It has helped tremendously and something I need to do periodically. It’s not just a one time thing. 

All in all, I think disorganization, forgetfulness and irresponsibility are things we all deal with to some degree in our own lives or in the lives of our children. It’s not something that you should settle into and be okay with, but instead work on these deficiencies as a family. Creating the skills that will hopefully lead to a happy and successful life for everyone. Now, to find that math book!


  1. I was literally just talking to my husband about teaching our girls to be more organized. I’m so bad at it! What a great reminder that our kids watch and learn from what they see us do. Great post, Sarah!

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