7 to 10 Years Old
Developmental milestone: Becoming more independent.
Focus on: The closet.
Right now your child is: “Enjoying satisfaction from completing tasks on her own,” says Cora Collette Breuner, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle. “It’s also important to give kids in this age range choices—letting them pick out their own clothes, for example.”
Take advantage by: Playing up your child’s independence, without creating too much of a headache for yourself. By arranging clothes in an easily navigable way (school clothes on red hangers, weekend wear on yellow ones), you give her a choice (“Pick from the red hangers”) with Mom-approved parameters. Additionally, tell her she can have friends over, but only if she makes sure that they clean up after themselves; this is a task she can oversee with the help of accessible storage. “You can ditch the label maker, however,” says Pom Shillingford, a New York City–based personal organizer who specializes in families. “Labeling can cause more stress than benefits. It’s easier for friends and babysitters to help clean up if there isn’t an overly complicated system.”