Feeling frustrated with your kid's messy room? You might be part of the problem. How? In the US, we purchase 40% of all the toys in the world but we're home to only 3% of all the kids on the planet.
Even if the toys are educational, too much stuff can have a negative impact on your child's mental health. And it can lead to you and your child arguing about keeping their room clean.
And that's no fun for anyone. Keep reading to learn about the effects of clutter on kids and how to help your kids get organized.
How Clutter Affects the Mind
Sometimes, a messy room isn't just about a kid not wanting to pick up after themselves. It can be a sign that something else is going on with their mental health.
Here are some of the negative effects clutter can have on someone:
Struggles with relationships and isolation
Feeling overly stimulated
Before you begin panicking, a messy room doesn't necessarily mean your child is doomed to struggle in life. Sometimes, clutter is just a normal part of being a kid and there's nothing to worry about. You know your kid best, but it's always good to educate yourself.
How to Declutter and Organize with Kids
I've often found that when I work with kids, they're more willing to let go of their unwanted and unused stuff than adults. They're also more willing to learn new skills.
Also, the skills that decluttering and organizing teach can help them in myriad other ways for the rest of their lives. Here's how to work with your kids to teach them how to declutter and organize.
Have them pick one category like toys or clothes to start with
Set a timer for anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on their age and abilities
Let them be in control of choosing what they want to keep
Every item they keep should then receive a designated spot where it belongs when not being used
Make it fun!
Help choose organizational products to help them store their items, as needed
Remove all unwanted items ASAP from the home
If your child seems to want to keep everything, it helps to set boundaries such as keeping only toys they've played with in the last 6 months. With clothing, get rid of anything that no longer fits or they haven't worn in a year.
Talk to your child about how they feel about the items they're keeping. It's best to encourage them to keep items they use, like, and need.
And if you want to make it more fun, try pretending that your child is an explorer looking for treasure. If you want, you can place a small prize somewhere under the pile of clutter.
How to Help Kids Handle Stress When Decluttering
Not every kid is going to find decluttering fun. Some may find letting go of items stressful.
Especially if they're experiencing a big change in their life, such as a move. Having their favorite stuffed animal nearby can help alleviate a lot of their stress. In fact, a stuffed animal, which is considered a "transitional object" by scientists helps a child with the following:
Allows their sense of self to surface
Helps defend against separation anxiety
Characterizes a phase in their development
Creates a neutral space where their experiences aren't challenged
And this doesn't work just with kids. Many adults (like me) also have kept their favorite childhood stuffed animal and still find the toy offers comfort during difficult times.
Declutter and Organize as a Family
Many of my clients never learned how to get and stay organized from their families. It's rarely taught and often children either mimic their parent's behaviors or in extreme cases where a parent was either too controlling or struggled with extreme clutter, a child will react in the exact opposite way of the parent.
If you're also learning how to get and stay organized or if you're struggling to teach your child, it's time to get some extra support and guidance. Whether you're getting ready to move somewhere new or just want to learn new skills, I can help. Click here to learn more.