Teaching Children Organization with the 5S Tool

For parents to teach their children to clean up after themselves is at best a grueling, undesirable task. Yet as Six Sigma teaches in the 5S Tool, “Everything in its place and a place for everything.” This Lean Six Sigma template of the 5S is an excellent tool for teaching small children or children of all ages the five disciplines for maintaining an organized workspace, or in this case, play area.

Borrow Tools From Kanban and Lean Six Sigma

So, the child’s room is full of toys and clothes, and we want to use this as a teachable moment. Items you will need: paper, markers, glue, scissors, pictures of toys that your child has (you can use generic pictures of stuffed toys, books, or any toys she owns), and baskets or plastic boxes.

You will also need the 5S methodology template:

  • Sort: Put toys in separate piles, and in the boxes, you have labeled with the picture of what should be in the box, put the corresponding toy into that box. For example — if there is a box with a picture of a stuffed toy, all stuffed toys go into that box. It is easy for the small child to understand and set him up for success.
  • Straighten: Here you can put into practice organized storage. Make a box for his favorite toys. This can have a big red heart on the box and start the box for your child by placing a few of her favorite toys in there. This will let the child know how these toys are his all-time favorites.
  • Shine: Teach your child how to sweep or wipe with a rag to get rid of dirt. If the child is old enough, you could teach him how to vacuum. Make a big deal and celebrate if they understand that what you are teaching is a big boy or big girl moment.
  • Standardize: If there are siblings, this could be done with a Kanban board and the names of the kids, using a reward system of stars in that board.
  • Sustain: For maintenance, an “after” picture for reference should be displayed where it can be seen.

This will teach the child little by little why a well-organized space is so important and should be taken with pride…with a little Kaizen thrown in for good measure.

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