Kids & Clutter: (not)Too Cool for School
As a childcare provider, the first thing I do when I get to work is bring the house to order. Dirty dishes go in the sink; counters and the stove are wiped clean. Floors swept; dishwasher is unloaded. Laundry is started. Toys are put away.
Meantime, I am answering the needs of a toddler: diapers changed, food gotten, spills cleaned.
But ALWAYS the day starts with taking the house from chaos to order.
My experience as a Professional Organizer and my college studies in Early Childhood Education have taught me that children thrive better in order. Children love boundaries, even if they can’t express that verbally. They express it by actions. Books they can find by themselves are books they can read by themselves (or with you).
Studies Back Me Up.
Good Thing All Those College $$$ Didn’t Go to Waste
Studies prove what my experience taught me. In Chaotic Homes and Children’s Disruptive Behavior, authors Jaffee, Hanscomb, Haworth, Davis & Plomin drop this bombshell:
Children raised in chaotic homes—characterized by noise, overcrowding, and a lack of order—tend to score lower on tests of cognitive ability and self-regulatory capabilities, have poorer language abilities, and score higher on measures of problem behaviors and learned helplessness than do children raised in less chaotic environments.
Whoa! Did you catch that?
Here’s the Skinny…
Here’s where children in chaotic homes score LOWEST:
- Problem-solving (cognitive ability). In chaotic and cluttered homes, this ability is not displayed by parents adequately enough to pass on to children.
⇒Parents can’t to decide where things belong = kids can’t make decisions, either.⇐
- Focusing, particularly in school (poor self-regulatory capabilities). Kids may learn to filter out unwanted stimuli (tv, chatter, electronics, etc). While this might work in the home, it doesn’t work so well in school.
⇒TV, Computers, Video Games….all fight for the attention of your kid.
No wonder they can’t focus.⇐
- Vocabulary. In more cluttered homes, parents are less verbally responsive. OUCH!
⇒Clutter keeps your attention away from your child. You don’t respond well to your child. Their vocabulary is stunted.⇐
Ready? Here’s where children in chaotic homes score HIGHEST:
- Problem Behaviors: Yep, kids from cluttered and chaotic homes are more apt to have behavior issues.
- Learned Helplessness. Seriously. They are less apt to do stuff for themselves. Because they usually can’t. They can’t make their beds if Mom and Dad can’t show them how to make them. They can’t do their art projects because the adults in their homes haven’t designated a “home” for art supplies. They have learned to be helpless. This is something I learned growing up in an alcoholic home, which, by definition, is chaotic. But, hey, glad the study backs up my behavior from my entire childhood and MOST of my adulthood.
For all you statistics nerds out there:
No parent wants their kid to fail in school. I get that. I don’t want your kids to have trouble in school, either. I would love for you to contact me below so that we can start on this journey together. Together, let’s give your children a better education: