By far the biggest sense of reservation about the KonMari Method that people share with me is how it will work with a busy, family life. Most often I hear this expressed through doubt that their family can "do it", that they'll "have the time necessary to complete the method" and concern that their children "aren't old enough". Admittedly, prior to going through my own KonMari journey, I shared the same apprehensions. However, much to my initial surprise and now of my clients, the process is very much for families. In fact, after completing the method, families are often the clients that express the most sense of beneficial change.
What I share first with my KonMari families is that it's a team effort, no matter how small - all hands on deck makes for the easiest journey! Second is my firm stance on parents having expectations of their children with respect to creating and maintaining order within the home. There is a lot to this concept, but below is a brief breakdown of some of the points I teach through the KonMari Kids program. Even if you never plan to implement the tidying process your family can still benefit from these helpful tips.
Give Them Independence - Kids crave the opportunity to show us how capable they are. Allowing them the chance to do simple tasks for themselves, such as clearing the table or making their bed, creates a sense of contribution and invested interest in the home. The appearance of the house will matter more to a child that participates in maintaining its order.
Teach Them Organization - Just as learning to write their name and ride a bike are not skills that children are born with and rather are things we teach them, so too is organizing. Organizing is a lifelong skill set that far too often is not as high a priority as other things we work to instil in our little ones, but it should be. Learning how to be an organized person will beneficially manifest itself in a plethora of ways; from keeping their homes in order, to being efficient in their places of work. Being organized also reduces stress and anxiety.
Facilitate Helping - We all know how amazing and capable children are. I know my three are always impressing me with newly acquired skills. My six year old can easily navigate every electronic device in our home, our four year old can build wildly intricate Lego creations and even the "baby" of the family, at two, can (much to my horror) climb up on the bathroom counter and properly wash her hands. I know your children are no different. With this said, it only stands to reason that kids are able to help with basic family chores; sweeping, dusting, wiping down furniture, setting and clearing the table etc. are all reasonable tasks that children can assist with. Again, this allows for hands on learning of lifelong, practical and necessary skills.
Allow Fun - I share this based on my own experience. Prior to going through the KonMari Method, I was constantly struggling to stay on top of the clutter and mess. I would spend hours cleaning and tidying, only to have a near meltdown when I would see the kids starting to bring out their toys and because I didn't involve them in the process of maintaining the home, frustration would always set in. "I just cleaned that up!". I assumed all responsibility for keeping the home in order and so watching them make a mess was seen as more work I knew I would have to do. Since our children now have sole responsibility of their toys, watching them play (which inevitably means mess), no longer stresses me. It's imperative children play, it's the way they learn best. Projecting my stress onto them for something they should be doing wasn't fair, but equally neither was the my expectation that I would have to clean it up. This now works for everyone!
Work Together - Just as children crave independence, when provided with the opportunity, they also like to feel important and like their efforts are beneficial. Facilitating a household routine whereby every member plays a part in keeping the home tidy and clean reduces the amount of work for the parents, but also creates more time to be enjoyed as a family. I always hear from parents that their children won't help and yes, often that's the case. My own children still put up a stink when I direct them to their chores! However, knowing that children are motivated by reward, explaining to them that their assiatnce provides more time to spend doing fun things together is more often than not all they need to hear to start helping!
If you are interested in learning more about implementing the KonMari Method into your family home, please refer to the KonMari Kids page for full description of this Virtual Group Tidying program.