One of the most overlooked considerations when organizing your house with kids is creating areas that foster their independence.
It was a game-changer for me as a mom. I didn’t get it quite right with my first child early on, but I learned that being intentional with my home organization can simplify my life and teach my kids how to be independent.
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It also falls under the umbrella of questions on how to teach your kids to help keep the house clean. A question I am often asked.
If you have ever heard of the Montessori education style, you will understand organizing your home with intention is supporting the efforts of your child doing things on their own.
And this is one of the keys to letting go of the thought process that many moms ask me about. The burden they think and feel as though they have to do everything in the household.
It’s changing your thought process of believing that children can learn even at a young age, and when we give them an environment that supports this, we are giving them life skills.
I learn more every day to continue my efforts to give my kids the confidence to know they are capable and that I am here to aid them and not correct them as they learn.
I have learned to stop myself when I try to correct them, and instead, I ask, “Would you like some help?”
So what is this process of a more neatly organized home with kids?
It’s the simplest task of setting up common areas, they use every day in a kid-friendly way.
I want you to think about it this way if you have ever walked into a preschool room, everything is adjusted to the size of toddlers, right? Small chairs, small utensils, lots of color, dedicated areas, you get where I am going here. All you need to do is to duplicate this concept in your home.
How to organize your home that encourages independence
I want to share some simple ideas and ways to teach your child to be independent and organize some of the most popular areas in your home. We will go room by room.
Let’s start in the bedroom. To keep your kid’s rooms from looking like a bomb went off. Let’s first start with what we are keeping in them.
Keep toys to a minimum if you are going to have toys. I am not a huge fan of toys in a bedroom, but I also didn’t always have the luxury of a playroom either for a long time.
Suppose you do keep some toys in their room. Create labeled bins to separate toys. And teach your child where each type of toy goes. Use a simple color system like a red bin for legos, blue bins for dolls to help kids remember.
Don’t overwhelm your child with tons of different bins. Try to keep it as simple and streamline as possible. But don’t just do the one bin for everything either because it doesn’t teach them how to put things back where they belong.
When you create a simple toy-organizing system with minimal toys, your child should be able to pick up their room with ease. And return it to a state of clean without assistance. Remember, toy organizing should be easy to access for kids. So keep it low to the ground or within their reach.
Laundry is a huge area that many of my readers tell me they struggle with. Laundry baskets in each bedroom are key. At least, this has been my secret to the success of a laundry system with kids. Each child has a basket in their room, and I taught them from early on that all their dirty clothes go into their baskets every day.
This means no more sorting issues for this mom!
Use methods that can help your child learn how to pick out their own clothes. My preferred method is to hang clothes by color—each of their closets looks like rainbows.
And that way, your child can easily place back and hang clothes by color too, which is simpler for them.
Cubes inside dressers are perfect spacers that help outline each designated area. For example, I use an IKEA drawer organizer to separate undergarments and socks.
The guided outline helps my kids see where everything goes and makes it easy for them to find what they need.
Use a hanging clothes organizer. Have your kids pick out outfits for the week and place them on the appropriate days. That way, they can get dressed daily on their own.
I use small organizing bins and a hanging pouch on the back of the cabinet doors for extra storage in the bathroom. The bathroom cabinet organizer hooks on the cabinet easily and has different pocket sizes so the kids can see what is in them easily.
This is perfect for hair ties and girl accessories.
Inside their bathroom cabinet drawers, I keep toothpaste in one bin and their toothbrushes in another. Again simple and clean, and they can easily place them back when they are done using them.
In addition, there is an easy-to-use stool so they can reach the sink and utilize it for all their needs.
Two other areas in my bathroom are a mesh bag for wet water toys and a simple 4 tier basket that holds dry bathroom toys.
Large bath toys that don’t fit in the mesh bag. A mesh bag helps to drip dry the wet toys.
The kids can exchange toys easily and place them back all on their own.
The kitchen is often the hub for most families. And kids love to help in the kitchen. So making your kitchen kid-friendly is a must.
The kitchen is another perfect place for a stool as well, or I really like the kids learning stool tower.
Creating a snack bin or small area to hold kids’ snacks they can easily grab is a perfect way to let them be independent.
Approved snacks in an area they can grab to make their lunch.
You can do the same concept inside your fridge. Create an entire drawer dedicated to kid snacks.
Or maybe a shelf with multiple containers of cut-up fruit and veggies.
Make premade sandwiches or other grab-and-go food. And then show them where it is.
On our fridge door, we have a shelf for just kids’ juices. Even though my kids are 99% water, they sometimes crave change.
This also helps when it comes time to put groceries away. Having an organized fridge also helps after doing groceries. It makes it a lot simpler for kids to help put their own food away.
Cooking/Eating in the kitchen
I wish that my kitchen had a few lower drawers to the ground because I could make designated kids’ drawers. It would hold cups, plates and utensils made just for kids. But I have a designated kid shelf.
That way, kids can grab their own plates and things needed during mealtime.
I love this idea from Amazon too!
The mudroom or entry area of your home is one place that needs an organized method. Otherwise, it will become a piled mess.
I have two shoe racks, one for adults and the other for kids. And I use an IKEA mesh system to keep all bookbags, supplies, and anything we need for extra circular activities we are participating in.
This is another area where kid hooks work great. You can even do removable command hooks.
Maybe you are like us, and during the summer half, the garage becomes the kid’s side. Which means one car has to sit outside.
But with the number of summer toys, bikes, scooters, balls, etc. It’s just natural that we do it. Because then the kids aren’t consistently bothering us to bring their bikes down and get other outdoor toys out.
Again we are fostering independent play as they can grab toys to play with.
I currently use a big clear bin system in the garage because my little ones can reach and toss everything in.
But when they are a little older, I plan on switching to an organizer like this for all the balls and outdoor stuff.
I also use a tall plastic shelving unit to hold other toys like bubble machines, bubbles, soccer nets, etc.
I especially use them for playdoh, paint, colored pencils, art crafts, flashcards, and many other things.
It’s my favorite way because I love doing a toy rotation when it comes to the toy room. And I find it the easiest to do when I rotate toys with the bins. Plus, when the kids are done playing, they effortlessly put the items back in the bins.
In conclusion, help teach your child to be independent through your home organization designed for them.
Key ideas to think about
- Add stools around your home
- Keep hooks and hangers at kids height
- Use Over-the-cabinet storage
- Use canvas bins
- Create designated areas
- Modify furniture to kid height
- Make everyday needed items easy to reach
Now it’s your turn; what areas in your home have you created to foster independence for your little ones?