Parents with young children, have you ever struggled with children being tidy?
There isn’t such a school that teaches tidiness but there is Singapore’s first Home Organising Consultant trained by Marie Kondo – Dr Aparna – to share her tips. Dr Aparna (@globalmindfuljourney) is a KonMari home organising consultant and Montessori positive parenting coach. She is very passionate about empowering parents in fostering meaningful family connections by creating a peaceful home environment through mindful organising strategies.
Dr Aparna discovered that tidying up her home with the KonMari method was life-changing. She then switched careers from being a doctor to a home organising consultant. By removing visual clutter from her home, she gained mental clarity to find purpose in other areas of her life.
Teaching Children to be Tidy
Read on for some advice from Dr Aparna and KonMari principles that can help your children to be tidy embrace clutter-free living.
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How are the KonMari philosophies helpful for families especially in creating a welcoming home environment?
The KonMari® Tidying Method is different from traditional organising methods as it encourages us to surround ourselves with joy and be intentional with not only our belongings but all aspects of our life. This changes our perspective to look at life positively amidst all challenges. It teaches us to show respect and gratitude to our belongings & how we look at our relationships with ourselves, our jobs, and our loved ones.
Families I work with no longer spend their free time stuck in a vicious cycle of buying-decluttering-buying because they become intentional with inviting items in their homes that align with their values and priorities. Tidying transforms how one parents to build trusting & positive relationships with children. Setting an example by taking pride of the home teaches children important life skills of contributing in a meaningful way at home with family tasks and respecting their belongings. This has been one of the most fulfilling results of the KonMari® Tidying Method and Montessori approaches.
Children want to be a part of the adult’s world to feel a sense of significance and belonging. As parents, we can offer multiple ways for our children to help out at home and refrain from doing work for them when they are perfectly capable of doing so. Demonstrate & break down a task into simple steps, be patient & have realistic expectations while they take time to learn, tweak the difficulty level of the task by keen observation and enjoy watching how much joy they take in repeating & perfecting a task.
I always invite (never force) my children to take part in caring for our home.
Simple tasks that a child can be in involved in around the home are:
- Folding & putting away clean laundry (start with simple clothing like wash cloths, socks, or underwear)
- Putting away their toys & books in designated trays, baskets, or shelves
- Helping with food preparation
- Setting the table for a meal
- Clearing the table and floor after a meal
We don’t need to make activities “fun” for our children. Not only is it impossible to sustain, but we are also missing the point that children actually WANT to contribute at home. As Suzanne Axelsson says, “It’s not about making children happy or making the learning fun…it is about awakening the joy within each child”.
What are three things you would tell a parent with young children about training them to be tidy?
Children between the ages of 0 to 6 are highly sensitive to order and this is characterised by an intense desire for consistency (predictability) and repetition. They’re also at an age where they unconsciously absorb everything from their environment without much effort. They thrive when there are established & predictable routines.
- Our homes must therefore be carefully organised with a place for everything while keeping in mind our family’s boundaries based on our values. Start with tidying your belongings first. Only once you have confidently decided what you want to be surrounded by can you lead a positive example to the rest of the family and even inspire + support them in their own tidying journeys.
- By having consistent routines around daily activities in the same location at home, we provide the foundation for a trusting & respectful relationship with our children.
- Children do not need a lot of things to keep them entertained. What is most important is being a ‘present parent’ when we spend time with them (for whatever little time we can give them in a day: quality over quantity) and providing a simple & intentional home environment that supports our children’s natural developmental needs. Let’s give our children the gift of boredom to foster creativity and a sense of contentment with what they already have.
Raising Children to be Tidy, Content and Grateful
Thank you, Aparna for the thought-provoking and generous sharing. For more on Dr Aparna’s tips, follow her on her Instagram here.
Stay tuned to our next article on how we can better organise children’s books, toys and LEGO.