Turn and look back in time. Think about the many different houses/homes that you have visited.
Homes are homes – either chaotic, disorganised, cluttered and messy or those that are systematic, organised and tidy! Do you think it ever mattered what kind of home, a child is growing up in? You would surely agree that children who grow up in different environments develop differently. And the way their homes are organised is likely to have a substantial impact on them.
Staying organised – the beginnings are made, right with the child’s play itself. With so many books written on early childhood development and parenting, it is high time that the importance of organized play got established, right from an early age.
Several years of experience in Paediatric Physiotherapy, dealing with kids having sensory, motor, cognitive or behavioural issues have helped me gather some important information about behavioural problems among children (specially those with ADHD, Autism and SPD).
Most often than not, these children show behaviour with a lot of pulling, pushing, throwing things, making a mess of the place and intentionally (or unintentionally) not putting things back in place. This behaviour may be owing to anger or a sheer need for attention. Organized-play works wonders for such kids. Parents often come up and tell me, “It’s MAGIC! Guess what? My child has begun playing more constructively. He/she has got calmer. How did this happen in a day?”
‘Messy homes mess up lives’ very aptly fits into today’s world where parents and caregivers want to provide children with the material things that they were deprived of in their own childhood. Recent research done at an elementary school by a professional counsellor Jessica Howard, suggests that teaching children to be organized at home can have a positive impact on their academics. Organized play is an important developmental milestone most parents ignore and is believed to develop as the child grows. A co-relation in clinical data also suggests that poorly potty trained kids turn out be messy adults.
Children don’t always put things in the right place, even when you tell them to. The first step in helping kids put things back in place is by primarily doing it yourself. Teach everyone in the house to clean as they go, by putting away one thing before getting another out. It is important to teach them that everything they own has a home. Now you must be wondering why is ‘showing’ the kid more important in this entire process. This is because Visual imitation precedes auditory obedience. Show them the consequence of being messy.
Kids are not perfect, they will inevitably make a mess. You have to allow them occasionally but ask them to clean it before it turns into a giant mess. It starts right from wiping the table and putting dirty clothes away at 2 years to managing their time later. This is what organization in the early stages is all about. And this creates a background for self-discipline and success.
If you see a child struggling don’t wait. Start at home, with your bedroom first. Cleaning your room not just has aesthetics attached to it but it is a part of being in a healthy family. So start today!
contributed by Dr.Vishwas Sundaram (PT). He has special interest in Pediatrics and has distinct forte in Neurodevelopmental therapy, Sensory integration therapy and Behaviour modification. He currently works with ReLiva (www.reliva.in) and you can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org