Albert Einstein once said: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Historically and conventionally people have aspired for order. Messes are frowned upon and chaos is not tolerated well. Chaos gets people worked up and kids brought up in chaotic conditions oftentimes have psychological problems later in life. Staying organized in our home environments is good for kids. They like schedules and order. This way they know what to expect and this keeps them calm and happy. Studies have shown that such kids grow up and have more fulfilled lives.
The Importance of Organized Chaos For Kids
The Other Side
Order and chaos are two sides of the same coin. They follow one after the other. It has been shown in studies that some chaos is good. It helps kids think in creative and, out of the box ways. Even when kids play outdoors, kids who play in an organized play area are different from kids who play in natural settings. The sensory inputs offered from these places differ. Kids in a natural setting have sensory inputs which keep changing, whereas in a play area the equipment remains the same therefore offering only so many ways of playing. The natural area offers innumerable imaginative ways for kids to play. E.g. A big broken branch could be used to climb and jump off. It could also double up as a boat to go sailing on the high seas. Others might think of it as a place to hide behind. Yet others might use it to build a lean-to.
Create a space where kids can be messy
Parents and teachers train young kids to be neat and orderly from childhood. In fact picking up toys and clearing up play spaces is also part of play. The messy and clean states must alternate. Putting things back in order is good when kids are real young, Play is all about imagination and kids need the freedom to be messy. To manage such a situation, it’s a good idea to clear up some space in the house as a space where the kids can be messy and not be in trouble – a space for half-done projects, cluttered desks, where spills are okay etc. They could revisit this place as an when they wanted to. As kids grow up they can have this space in the garage.
Have a dis organized day
Order and tradition are hard to break from, once it’s internalized. Individuals who live slightly chaotic lives seem to be more open to the idea of trying out something new. Growing up with order dominating our lives makes us less open to new ideas. While order is good in large measures, kids need to try out new things. It helps to have a dis organized day once in a while. No rules, no schedules, no preplanned menus etc. It won’t be an easy time! Any downtime and our kids like to lounge around at home watching TV, enjoying youtube videos, playing dragon games, enjoying birds, watching movies and eating popcorn. But encourage them to go along with your plan. Take a day off and go someplace new and nice. If you don’t have time to organize things, just go to a park you have not been to before. If your kids see you trying out new things spontaneously, they will follow suit. Let them make decisions on the fly. They will learn to embrace new things. We need to encourage kids to do this so it helps keep the innate plasticity that humans have to be adaptive.
One person’s chaos is another’s order
Parents encourage kids to put things back in place so they can found easily when they are needed. Funnily enough, kids still can’t find them, but they can pull out the right things from a cluttered school bag! There are many who collect stuff and they are no ashamed of their cluttered homes. Something can be said in praise of clutter. Certain people stack their books by topic and yet there are others who think it’s completely disordered. They stack books in alphabetic order. Caregivers and parents help kids keep things in order and organized, but as kids come into their own, they have their own ideas of order and parents need to make peace with this.
To wrap up, let’s help our kids live in a nice uncluttered home where the mind is free and uncluttered to come up with wonderful ideas which can be explored without any stress in the clutter-allowed-here corner!
George Schalter loves being a dad. He and his wife share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their two children. As believers of good all round education, they spend a lot of time playing with their children and spending time outdoors. As George is the writer in the family, he blogs at Educational Kids Games.