Organised and Happy Kids!

Organised and happy kids. How to achieve this from the UCAN Blog.
Organised and happy kids. How to achieve this from the UCAN Blog.

When I broke my ankle many years ago, everyone was telling me that everything happens for a reason and that this was the Universe’s way of getting me to slow down. On a good day I agreed, on a bad day, I was just a bionic woman with an axe to grind!

What does this little personal crisis have to do with organised and happy kids? Well, at the time, being the kind of mom that tried to control everything (and I do mean that literally) and not being able to do anything, meant that the family was forced to sink or swim. We held our heads above water but it did prompt me to look out for tips and tricks to organise my kids and these are some of them.


Setting and keeping to a routine has proven to be one of the best things I have done as a parent as it helps me schedule my time and there isn’t a rush to get everything done at the end of the day. A routine is based on the concept that tasks you have to do in a day become ‘thoughtless’ i.e. they happen automatically. As a result, there is no nagging or monitoring and everyone is happier. Of course, like all things involving children, routines aren’t infallible and they will surely be put to the test.

Chores for the kids

Encourage children to do every day tasks around the house, such as washing the dishes or cleaning the bath after they have used it. I think that because most families in South Africa have the luxury of a domestic worker, children take a clean and tidy house for granted. By teaching your child how to clean and encouraging them to do certain tasks around the house, they will be less likely to mess it up because they know what it takes to keep a space clean. (p.s. for those parents with teenagers, I’ll be honest, this can be a difficult one to keep going!)

Lead by example

It stands to reason that if you don’t tidy up after yourself, your child will do the same. So don’t be confused when they don’t listen to you. Fortunately behavior and habits can be unlearnt, so as the parent, you will have to take the lead. For example, start putting the dishes away after dinner and include your child in the activity. If you see it as an opportunity to spend time together, it won’t seem like a chore but rather, a time to converse and catch up on the day’s activities.

Simple systems

Introduce simple systems for your children, ones that they can manage themselves. For example, if your child has lots of toy animals, get a box for these and label it (with a picture if the child doesn’t read yet). Teach your child to put the toy animals back in that box each time. Do the same for other toys in the room (and even paper and drawings). This way you AND your child know where the items go and your child can be responsible for these.

Ask for help when you need it!

As the control freak in the house, I cannot tell you how often I would collapse in a heap after a stressful week and bemoan my family for not helping. The funny thing is, I wouldn’t actually ask for the help so they would assume that I was coping but it is amazing what can be accomplished when you don’t sweat the small stuff and allow others to do things for you.