We all know labels are useful in keeping track of belongings and identifying spices in the pantry, but there’s a lot more to the simple label than just that. In fact, there are plenty of benefits to kids name labels that extend beyond just helping us tidy our stuff. When it comes to kids especially, introducing kids name labels at a young age can help to promote their confidence, self-expression, and instil a sense of organisation that lasts long into their future.
In this article, we’ll look a little closer at how you can encourage your kids to use different types of labels, and what kind of new habits and behaviours can grow from this simple concept.
Labels at school
Think of it this way: at the beginning of each school term, you’re investing a good amount of money in stationery supplies and uniforms. You’ve purchased the fancy textas and colouring pencils, and the ultra-warm – yet pricier – school jumper. On your side of things, you want to make sure your child recognises the value in these items, takes ownership of their belongings, and doesn’t return with someone else’s lower quality textas and the wrong jumper. Of course, you also want to avoid the inevitable loss of belongings and subsequent inability to find them because they weren’t labelled.
At school, kids are running amuck with no worries about whose jumper is this and whose pencil case is that. It’s the one time you’re not around to supervise just what your child is doing with their stuff, and where they’re leaving them behind. Whether your worries lie in your kids sharing drink bottles with others and spreading germs, or your child coming home without that expensive school jumper, using kids name labels will bring you a peace of mind while helping your child to develop a number of useful skills for the future.
So, what exactly should you label when it comes to school stuff, and how can kids name labels help your child to develop and grow?
- Stationery – We advise labelling your child’s pencil case, and any extra art supplies that come in their own box or container. Crayons, textas, coloured pencils, glitter pens, and all fancy bits of stationery should always be labelled.
What this teaches: Stationery and art supplies can be precious in a school, and children can often be a little too generous when it comes to sharing. Keeping these supplies labelled will remind your child that they are in fact, theirs, and should be returned to them after use.This helps instil a sense of ownership, where children understand the difference between mine and yours, recognising that they are free to share but that these items must always be returned. It also makes children more confident in asking for their items to be returned when other kids are being greedy. Should they forget, or while they are learning this, then the teacher or parent will always know who to return the items to.
- Jumpers, jackets, and hats – And any other clothing items that are frequently put on and taken off during school hours, such as raincoats, umbrellas, and swimming gear need kids name labels. It’s too easy for children to take off items of clothing and not pay attention to where they’ve left them, and in a place where everyone is dressed the same, it’s all too easy for another child to accidentally pick that item up instead.
Prevent mix-ups and lost clothing by always being sure to label these items – it’ll not only remind your child to keep track of where they’ve left them, but in the event that they don’t, someone else will ensure they come back safely.What this teaches: Labelling these frequently used items will teach your kids to not leave their stuff lying around, and to always keep track of where they put things. The sense of ownership created by labelling helps kids to realise the value of their personal belongings, and thus feel the need to take care of them. Kids will know that they can’t just pick up any old hat after they’ve left theirs behind – and after a few gruelling searches for their stuff, children will master this skill of organisation.
- Lunchboxes and drink bottles – Let’s be honest, most of us parents are doing the school shopping at the same stores, and there’s not that much variety in what they’re offering. The chances of your kids having the same lunchboxes and drink bottles as others is quite high, and labelling these items will make sure your little ones always come home with – and drink out of – the right stuff.
It’s also difficult for younger children to tell the difference between items that look similar, so if you’ve invested in a good drink bottle that doesn’t look too different than a cheap plastic one, make sure you keep that labelled to prevent a mix-up and devastation on your behalf!
What this teaches: Having kids name labels on lunchboxes and drink bottles can teach kids the importance of hygiene, while also making them aware of other children’s dietary restrictions and allergies. It’s important to teach your child that the food you’ve packed for school is for them, and might not necessarily be suitable for other children to eat. It will also teach children to identify their belongings in a sea of similar-looking-things, something we deal with on the daily as adults. Rather than just grabbing the first thing that looks like their lunchbox, kids will take the time to double check and make sure it’s the right one. At the same time, let’s be real, lunchtime is so much more exciting for kids when they’ve got their names written on their lunchbox and drink bottle.Add the school bag (and an awesome bag tag), and you’ve got the full list of must-label items for school. Of course, you can beyond this and label each individual pencil, rubber, texta, and so on, but we’re sticking to just the basics.
Clothing labels and patches
So you’ve got school sorted, but that’s not the only place your kids will be running around unsupervised. If your kids attend sport activities, swimming lessons, dance class, or any other extracurricular activities that might have them changing in and out of clothes (sleepovers, school camp), then kids name labels on clothing is a must. At the same time, if you’re looking to encourage self-expression and creativity, then clothing patches are fantastic in helping your child take ownership of their clothing and express themselves creatively.
- Labelling clothing for extracurricular activities – Anytime you part with your child and they’re carrying a bag of clothing, make sure you’ve labelled every bit and bob inside (even underwear). Whether they’re off on school camp or just for a swim at a friend’s place, it’s too easy for children to leave things behind while they’re having fun.What this teaches: Kids name labels on clothing outside of school grounds teaches kids that their belongings can be misplaced anywhere, not just at school, thus encouraging organisation in all facets of their lives. They’ll recognise that mum isn’t always around to pick things up behind them and find lost items.Having clothing labelled for extracurricular activities also teaches kids to be sure to put the same things back in their bag that they took out (no missing undies or socks left behind!). If they brought a towel to the pool, they’ll be bringing a towel back home.
- Clothing patches – Clothing patches are an awesome way to personalise items without necessarily having to label them with names. Children can use embroidered patches to customise their clothing, towels, undies, and so on, making them easier to distinguish amongst others’ belongings, while also making them more fun to use.What this teaches: Using fun clothing patches will ignite creativity and self-expression in your child. They will see that they have the ability to personalise and customise their belongings to express their personality and interests. At the same time, your kids will learn that objects are not defined, but can be added to and improved. A towel doesn’t always have to just be a towel – it can be a towel with a rainbow patch that fills your child with happiness whenever they use it.
So we’ve covered the places where kids run amuck unsupervised, but you also want your children to stay organised in your presence. After all, you can’t be running around tidying up after them all the time! Using household labels in your kids’ bedrooms, bathroom, and for their belongings will teach them the ease of organisation, the importance of having a tidy space, and – of course – how to help mum by putting things away.
Let’s look at where you can use labels around the house, and how they can help your child to develop useful skills for the future.
- Bedroom labels – Clearly label drawers, boxes, and cupboards with the items of their contents. You can label which drawer is for underwear, which is for jumpers, which is for pyjamas, and so on. Any toy boxes can also be labelled, especially if you have a different one for each child.What this teaches: Using labels in the bedroom will encourage your kids to keep it tidy. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Labelling drawers, boxes, and cupboards makes it easier for kids to put things back after use, as having the label displayed out in the open discourages them from leaving things on the floor and on the bed. It’s all a huge subconscious trick, but it works.
- Bathroom labels – Prevent mixed up toothbrushes, wrong loofah’s being used, and having the body wash used as a shampoo by labelling items in the bathroom. Many kids cannot tell the difference between shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel, and labelling these items (e.g. in order of use) can help kids to shower properly. It is also a good idea to label drawers in the bathroom with their contents, such as toilet paper, extra soap, and so on.
What this teaches: Having items labelled all over the home – and not just in the bedroom – teaches children to take pride in their personal space and keep it tidy. Children will learn the importance of keeping certain things in certain places, and not leaving stuff strewn all over the place. They will learn organisation, and the benefits of putting things back where they came from. Teach your kids these skills from a young age, and they’ll be living in meticulous tidiness well into the future.
For such a small simple thing, kids name labels have numerous benefits and advantages to both you and your children. From encouraging a pride in ownership to growing a sense of tidiness and organisation, the opportunities for using labels are limitless. If you reckon your kids could do with a dose of organisation, confidence, and pride in their belongings, start introducing labels in their lives and jot down your experiences. We’d love to hear how it goes!