Mistake #1: Starting without a valid reason from your child’s perspective
Simply telling a child “you must get organised” is not going to work even if you come up with very valid reasons to do so. She may agree to do something about the clutter or her lack of punctuality, but without a strong personal motivation, it’ll be difficult for her to get it going and to keep it up.
Solution #1: Have a discussion with your child and adopt a non-judgemental attitude.
Help her develop an awareness of what her untidy habit is costing her. Look for a point of leverage – the value for her in getting more organised.
For instance, getting an 11-year-old to be on time for her morning school bus pick-up was achieved by carving 5 minutes out in her morning routine for her to style her hair – something she was desperate to do – once she had shown that she could consistently be on time for three weeks.
Solution #2: Involve your child in the process
Involve your child in the organising process and help her build a system that takes her preferences into consideration.
For instance, getting a 10-year-old boy to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket would involve moving the laundry basket from the bathroom to his bedroom, where he usually gets undressed.
Mistake #3: Letting your child organise with zero help
At the opposite end of the spectrum, some parents simply expect their child to solve the problem on her own. But the child would have solved the problem at hand if she had the skills.
Solution #3: Volunteer your help to your child, but respect her decisions
If organising is not one of your strengths or if you feel you may lack patience or detachment, you may wish to seek the help of a professional organiser who is sensitive to your family’s situation.
Solution #4: Give your child a chance to learn from his or her mistakes
Give your children a chance to learn from their mistakes by pointing out to them and allowing them to bear the consequences of their actions and decision.
Make sure the rest of your household, including your domestic helper, acts accordingly. As renowned advice columnist Ann Landers puts it: “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”
Mistake #5: Expecting perfection
Your demands for perfection from your children should be avoided. This could undermine their efforts and deter them from putting in more effort all together, especially if they are consistently told that their efforts are not good enough.
It’s also unrealistic to expect changes overnight. As in many other areas, it takes practice to find a system that will work for her. Truth be told, for a new habit to kick in requires about four weeks.